As events around the world continue to be impacted by the global pandemic, the entertainment industry has taken another hit, with Disney and Lucasfilm opting to pull the plug on the latest iteration of Star Wars Celebration, an annual gathering of “Star Wars” fans and creators that often serves as the introduction of scads of news about upcoming projects.
The choice to cancel the event, announced today on StarWars.com, follows the April cancellation of San Diego’s Comic-Con, another large-scale fan-centric event that was pushed back an entire year due to the pandemic. (While that event will go digital-only, SWC has not announced plans for a similar initiative.) The event was set to unspool August 27 — 30 at Anaheim’s convention center, located just around the corner from Disneyland. Per today’s announcement, Star Wars Celebration will return to the Anaheim Convention Center in two years, with the event now set for August 18 — 21, 2022.
The event, the fourteenth in its history, would have returned Celebration to Anaheim for the first time since the 2015 edition. That gathering, which included a bevy of first looks at “The Force Awakens,” helped kick off a new era for the event. First established in April 1999, when “The Phantom Menace” was set to become the first “Star Wars” film to hit theaters in 16 years, Lucasfilm initially launched Star Wars Celebration to stoke fan fires. With over 20,000 attendees at that first event, the fan-facing convention was an immediate hit — but the popular event came and went, depending on what was then a mighty thin “Star Wars” release schedule.
As the “Star Wars” universe has grown — thanks to the relaunched Skywalker Saga, new film features, a revamped approach to TV, the introduction of Disney’s streaming service Disney+, more video game offerings, and even a pair of theme parks — Celebration has become a harbinger of things to come for a franchise still going through major evolutions.
In recent years, the confab and conference has rolled out with much more regularity, including a 2016 stop in London, plus a 2017 Orlando event and a 2019 version in Chicago. Full details on the event’s cancellation, plus information on refunds and the like, is available on StarWars.com.