They came from everywhere: Denmark, Japan, Australia, Seattle, Tulsa, Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, Dagobah, Tatooine. 30,000 in all, packed into the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for Star Wars Celebration V
, an annual observance of the tenets laid down in the sacrosanct trinity (Episodes 4–6) and the not-quite-holy but still pretty darn venerable prequels (Episodes 1–3).
Weren't able to make it? Not to worry: From four days of Star Wars mirth and madness, we've brought you the best parts.
5. Slave Leias Everywhere
Hands down the most popular fan outfit was the gold bikini from Leia's creepy/sexy scene with Jabba the Hutt in "Return of the Jedi." "America's Next Top Model" winner Adrianne Curry wore one and got molested
. One Slave Leia forgot her undies and got tossed out. Sadly, we missed that, but we did score some "oops" bare nip from a Zabrak Jedi grandMILF. Hey, boobage is boobage.
4. The Vibe
This was an all-ages affair, from baby Yodas in backpacks to the unsettling site of Sith grandmas. And while it was disturbing to see old Obi-Wans gawking at teenage Padmes, even the Dark Siders kept it chill. There were no fights, no drunks, no philosophical clashes and, remarkably, pretty much no security in sight (unless you count the legions of stormtroopers). At one point in the chaos, we bumped into a fellow Celebrant from behind -- hard. He turned around and apologized. Then turned back around and walked away, muttering, "That was completely my fault." We think he was Canadian.
3. Love and Star Wars
While fans flying solo looked for partners at Star Wars speed-dating sessions, couples who'd already found true love made it count at the Star Wars Commitment Chapel, where Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and a random Elvisian priest performed Dark or Light Side "commitment ceremonies" under a pink-garlanded gazebo. The nuptials weren't legally binding, but some couples planned to count 'em anyway. Married 17 years, Joe and Rebecca Dima of Port St. Lucie, Fla., leapt at the chance to renew their vows in full Star Wars regalia. "It was always a part of his life, and I fell in love with it," Rebecca says. "I fell in love with Star Wars when I fell in love with him."
2. Shaking Hands With Peter Mayhew
We always wondered what kind of grip a Wookiee would have. The answer? Strong. Chewbacca's huge hands swallowed ours whole. The Englishman was gracious and charming, even as he declined to be interviewed -- as did practically every other celebrity at Celebration, including an all-grown-up and snarky Jake Lloyd
. While fans lined up for hours to meet Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, scads of other Star Wars actors sat alone at their booths, sad, little old men who played Stormtrooper #4 or Random Rebel Soldier, just waiting for someone to remember.
1. The Main Event
The Celebration ground to a halt Saturday morning when George Lucas and unabashed Star Wars fan Jon Stewart squared off in the Main Event. Lucas made the not-so-stunning revelation that a Star Wars Blu-ray boxed set is coming next fall. He also unveiled -- with Mark Hamill's help -- a deleted scene
from the opening of "Return of the Jedi," showing Luke assembling and testing his light saber in a cave on Tatooine while dad Darth calls to him telepathically. The scene clocks in under a minute -- but for true believers it's like finding a new page from The Bible.