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May 18, 2015 | 5:23 a.m.

Shanghai Comic Convention: China is the new frontier for con organizers

A cosplayer poses at the Shanghai Comic Convention.  (Nick May / For the Los Angeles Times)
SHANGHAI — Two sexy female Captain Americas, a Superman, a Catwoman and Japanese anime schoolgirls come to life were milling around the second floor of the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center when Yang Wanjing emerged from a curtained booth, trembling. Unlike many of her counterparts at the first Shanghai Comic Convention, she had decided to forgo a costume. But the 23-year-old automotive quality-control clerk nevertheless was living out her personal fantasy, plunking down $115 — 20% of her monthly salary — for a fleeting meeting with her idol, Mads Mikkelsen of the NBC show “Hannibal.” Bashfully clutching photographic proof of her star encounter (“I look terrible next to him,” she lamented), Yang struggled to compose herself. She seemed unsure of whether she had just made the best decision of her life — or the worst. “All fans are idiots, in […]
April 23, 2015 | 4:11 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration complete coverage: Every video, image and story from the fan expo

Peter Mayhew, left, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels at Star Wars Celebration. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)
J.J. Abrams, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Gareth Edwards joined an estimated 60,000 “Star Wars” fans in Anaheim last weekend for Star Wars Celebration, a four-day convention for all things past, present and future of the iconic franchise. Some fans camped out overnight for a first look at the new movie, some donned Jedi robes and others even got “Star Wars” tattoos while at the Anaheim Convention Center. Hero Complex was at ground zero during the event, where some highlights included the unveiling of the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer, news about “Star Wars: Rogue One” and “Star Wars Rebels,” and various panels with “Star Wars” stars. Here is a look back at our coverage of the weekend’s events. ‘STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ Fandom’s force awakens at Star Wars Celebration, and Disney knows it Star Wars Celebration: […]
April 20, 2015 | 7:04 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Princess Leia fans praise her strength and femininity

Princess Leia
The love for Princess Leia Organa was strong among the “Star Wars” professionals, fans and professional fans attending the “What Princess Leia Means to Me” panel on Sunday at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Panelists and audience members took the occasion to share the many ways the iconic character has influenced their lives. The panel, moderated by Jennifer Heddie, a senior editor at Lucasfilm, featured actress Catherine Taber, artists Cat Staggs and Katie Cook, author Christie Golden and Lucasfilm creative executive Rayne Roberts. ———— For the Record April 21, 1:37 p.m.:  This story lists the “What Princess Leia Means to Me” panel moderator as Lucasfilm senior editor Jennifer Heddie. Her name is Jennifer Heddle. ———— For a number of the panelists Princess Leia was the first example they encountered in media that showed women could have agency. Princess Leia […]
April 20, 2015 | 4:30 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration shows the Force remains irresistible

Star Wars fans gather in costume for photos during the Star Wars Celebration held April 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Some came dressed as Stormtroopers. Some got R2-D2 tattoos. Some underwent Jedi training or stood in long lines for autographs ($125 for Mark Hamill but just $50 for Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca). But like the Millennium Falcon in the grip of the Death Star tractor beam, the estimated 60,000 fans who attended the four-day Star Wars Celebration that ended Sunday were inexorably drawn to the Anaheim Convention Center for the same purpose: to share their passion for all things “Star Wars” and catch an early glimpse of the franchise’s next chapter. Before the event, “Star Wars” fans had many more questions than answers about the future of the nearly 40-year-old franchise, with the first new “Star Wars” film in a decade, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” due in theaters Dec. 18. “We’re really in uncharted waters,” said Eric Geller, […]
April 18, 2015 | 6:39 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Fans explore all corners of the convention universe

Fans watch the Builders Astromech Droid Race semi-finals. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The Mos Eisley Cantina theme played over loudspeakers on the Anaheim Convention Center’s second floor as 13-year-old Zachary Clayson, clad in Jedi robe and tunic, maneuvered a remote-controlled yellow robot to where a young woman was standing with an infant. The little robot — a replica of a “Star Wars” hangar deck scrubber droid — nudged the woman’s ankles. She smiled and bent down, giving the baby a closer look. “My favorite part of Star Wars Celebration is probably just driving this thing around and seeing people’s reactions when they see it,” said Clayson, who traveled with his father from the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the fan expo. At Celebration, the big panel presentations with the likes of J.J. Abrams, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels may be generating the most buzz online, but for the estimated 60,000 “Star […]
April 17, 2015 | 5:28 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Ray Park on his beginning and Darth Maul’s end

Darth Maul (Lucasfilm)
Ray Park has gotten to be in some high-profile projects. Snake Eyes in “G.I. Joe.” Toad in the “X-Men” films. The martial artist even got to play Chuck Norris  in “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” But killing a Jedi puts you in a whole different stratosphere of fandom. As Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” Park helped create the most well-known and popular villain in the franchise since Luke Skywalker’s dad and fellow Sith Darth Vader choked out his first victim. And in the panel “Ray Park: The Man. The Sith. The Legend” at the Star Wars Celebration, Park was treated as the royalty that befits any wielder of a double-sided lightsaber. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Darth Maul. It was the best feeling in the world to get […]
April 17, 2015 | 4:30 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: ‘The Force Awakens’ has fans feeling like kids again

Fans attend Star Wars Celebration 2015 on April 16n Anaheim, California.  (Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney)
Thousands of die-hard “Star Wars” fans — more than a few bearing lightsabers and clad in homemade costumes — came into the opening panel at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention in Anaheim with three big questions. Would J.J. Abrams, director of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,” show a new trailer? Would Harrison Ford — still recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash last month — make his first-ever appearance at a “Star Wars” convention? And would fresh plot details about the new film — not hitting theaters until Dec. 18, an excruciatingly long wait for the faithful — finally be unveiled? The answers were yes, no and, as Yoda might say, “Patience, young Skywalker.” In a presentation Thursday morning at the Anaheim Convention Center that was heavy on nostalgia for the much-loved nearly […]
April 16, 2015 | 4:24 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration images: The Force is strong with convention-goers in Anaheim

"Star Wars" fans Sharon Jackson, left, dressed as Mission Vao, of Las Vegas, and Kyle Jackson, dressed as a Wookiee, pose for pictures during the 2015 Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Some 60,000 “Star Wars” fans, many dressed as Jedi, Stormtroopers and Sith, are converging on the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for Star Wars Celebration — a pop culture expo devoted to the sci-fi franchise. The convention kicked off Thursday with a presentation devoted to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the much anticipated seventh installment in the space opera. Director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy debuted the first full-length trailer for the film after an on-stage Q&A with cast members Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), as well as newcomers Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). The convention, which runs through Sunday, will also feature panels spotlighting veteran “Star Wars” actors, the hit animated series “Star Wars Rebels,” and plenty of fan-focused events on the […]
April 16, 2015 | 2:12 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Tears, droids and J.J. Abrams open the Anaheim fan convention

"Star Wars" fans wait in line to enter the Star Wars Celebration expo at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16. (Richard Shotwell / Associated Press)
J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy made bold promises for the “Star Wars” universe on Thursday morning, speaking to thousands of the most dedicated fans of the sci-fi franchise at the Star Wars Celebration expo in Anaheim. Asked how he can possibly please all “Star Wars” fans with his upcoming film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Abrams hunched his shoulders and said, simply, “Well, we will.” Judging by the reaction of the 2,700 attendees inside the showcase auditorium at the Anaheim Convention Center, the director is hitting the right notes. A second teaser for the December film was unveiled near the end of an hour-long panel — which started the four-day convention — featuring Abrams, Kennedy and multiple generations of “Star Wars” cast members. The new clip featured some old favorites such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a voice-over from Luke […]
April 16, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Watch the live stream from the Anaheim fan convention

This weekend’s Star Wars Celebration is the place to be for fans of all things related to the galaxy far, far away and a long, long time ago, but you don’t have to go to the Anaheim Convention Center to get an inside look at the fan expo. The convention, which kicked off Thursday morning with a presentation from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, is being live-streamed for the enjoyment of “Star Wars” fans across the globe. Click on the video above to stay in the loop. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview So far, key moments at Star Wars Celebration include the unveiling of the first full-length trailer for “The Force Awakens”; a Q&A with “Star Wars” cast members, including newcomers John Boyega, […]
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