Games, contests, autograph sessions fill program at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando

This weekend in Orlando (not far, far away), Star Wars Celebration V will attract fans like womp rats to a wounded bantha.

If that analogy confuses, the Orange County Convention Center probably isn't where you want to spend this weekend.

Star Wars Celebration V is an honest-to-Yoda, officially licensed tribute that seemingly comes around once every double solar eclipse on Tattooine. Even George Lucas (cue the Imperial March) shows up now and then, as he will in Orlando.

Four days of practically everything Star Wars is planned, from appearances by Lucas, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, to building your own droid sidekick.

Want that Boba Fett tattoo you always dreamed about? Get it here. Need a Clone Wars fix before the animated TV series resumes? No problem.

Fans will compete in trivia and costume contests, build a diorama replica of the Echo Base encampment on the planet Hoth, and check out Charlie Ross' amazing One Man Star Wars Trilogy. Nearly every inch of available convention space is devoted to anything Jedi or Imperial.

Too much is happening to list here. Visit the convention's website (www.starwarscelebration.com) for details on everything.

Wisely one should choose, as Yoda might say. We're here to help.Even if you don't know a Nerf herder from a Tauntaun, these six Celebration V events are fun reasons to drive to Orlando. Just keep it under hyperdrive on I-4.

Steve Persall, Times film critic

1. LAST TOUR TO ENDOR: Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park is giving everyone — even those without convention passes — a chance to enjoy the Star Tours ride before closing it for renovation. Tickets are $75; gates open at 4 p.m. Disney is rescinding its no-costume rule for guests Saturday, so the park will be crawling with Darth Vaders, Tusken raiders and bikini-slave Leias. The capper is a new customized fireworks display set to John Williams' Star Wars music.

2. STARS WAR: It will be a battle rivaling the Clone Wars to obtain every autograph from a Star Wars celebrity this weekend. Thirty-two actors and craftsmen from the franchise are scheduled to sign at designated tables at the convention center. Expect big crowds for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, with Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) close behind. Sorry, George Lucas doesn't do autograph sessions. (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Sat.; 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sun.)

3. LASER TAG, YOU'RE IT: Fans can pull the trigger on Imperial Stormtroopers for $8 per 15-minute session. It's divided into youth and adult competitions, but the kids don't take it easy. Judge them by their size, will you? (10 a.m.-8 p.m. today through Sat.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.)

4. STAR WARS FAN MOVIE CHALLENGE: Celebration V solicited homemade tributes to the Star Wars saga, with the best entries showcased at the convention. Awards will be presented tonight, but winners will be shown continuously during open hours.

5. JEDI ROMANCE: Looking for that Lando Calrissian in your life? Try Star Wars Speed Dating (2-4 p.m. today; 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sat.) where you get three minutes to chat with a stranger about Carbonite suspended animation or whatever. It's free and likely packed, considering the clientele. Luckier geeks will affirm their love at the Commitment Chapel, choosing between Light Side or Dark Side of the Force ceremonies. Sorry, all of those $75 slots are sold out.

6. THE MAIN EVENT: In this corner, Star Wars creator-god George Lucas; in the other, snark king and unabashed fan Jon Stewart. Sixty minutes, 11 a.m. Sat., loser leaves Earth. Not really, but judging from Lucas' January appearance on The Daily Show, this Inside the Master's Universe interview should be a hoot. Admission is limited to Celebration V pass holders, and two-thirds will be watching on closed-circuit television. May the necessary wristband be with you.

. if you go

Star Wars Celebration V

Events run Thursday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive in Orlando. Daily passes $55-$60, or four-day passes for $145. Discounts available for children ages 6-12. Convention passes are required for all events except Saturday at Disney's Hollywood Studios from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Admission there is $75, and open to the public, with entry beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets and information for Star Wars Celebration V are available at www.starwarscelebration.com.

Games, contests, autograph sessions fill program at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando 08/10/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 8:06am]

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