If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I could have properly described any particular expectations for the Star Wars Celebration portion of the UK trip ahead of time. I knew, for example, that I was likely going to have to deal with jet lag, and I also knew that it was going to be an unusual show to cover; I went to Star Wars Celebration in Chicago a few years back, and I remembered that it was a very odd beast — a show very much weighted towards the beginning of events, opening with a big panel that would break the biggest news, with everything getting progressively less interesting to non-Star Wars fans as it went on.
I also, thanks to my optimism, suspected that it would be a light show, so to speak — one where there wasn’t that much to cover, and with a five-person team there, I’d find myself with lots of free time to go exploring London. Such optimism, as it turns out, was not matched by the reality of the situation, which arguably saw me more present at the show than most shows I’ve attended in recent years, thanks to an unexpected wrinkle that emerged just before leaving for the UK: Morning Queue.
As the name suggests, Morning Queue is helping the lines of con-goers enter the show in the morning. It’s not part of my job description, technically, but Popverse is owned by ReedPop, who organizes SWC for Lucasfilm, and we were all invited to help out on Morning Queue this time around. I’ll be honest: I actually really enjoyed the couple of days I did it; there’s something genuinely fun for me in helping answer people’s questions and directing them to whichever line they needed to stand in depending on where they were going first. If nothing else, the people watching was second to none.
Unfortunately, there’s a drawback to Morning Queue: in order to get there on time, I had to leave the hotel at 6am, which meant getting up around 5 so that I could shower and get ready… all of which happening while I’m struggling through jet lag which was waking me up around 2 or 3 after a few fitful hours of sleep. In other words, Morning Queue and jet lag conspired to keep me utterly exhausted; by the time I’d finished that, it was time to head to my first panel at 10am, and then I’d be working through until 6 or 7 at night. Factor in travel time — or simply just delays for whatever reason — and it was around 8pm when I’d get back to the hotel, giving me just enough time to eat room service for dinner, then go to bed, to get up at 5 the next morning, and do it all again.
The end result is, by the time the show ended on Monday evening, all I’d seen of London was the route to and from the hotel and convention center. Not quite what you’d want from one of the world’s greatest cities, to be honest.