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In less than a week, the biggest Star Wars event this year will come to Essen, Germany. Besides all the great stuff that has already been announced and confirmed, there are still a few rumors. The most exciting one is that George Lucas, JJ Abrams, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will be on stage, to officially announce Star Wars Episode 7. So far only Hamill and Fisher are confirmed to show up, but personally I would hope this rumor to be true. Though I guess in the best case we will get Ford or Abrams as a last minute signing guest (and I’d be over the moon for either of them). But enough rumors, back to the facts: I have preordered my CE II ticket already on April 5th. Since then I have also preordered some exclusive artist prints, a lot of Official Pix’s autograph tickets and am looking forward to other show exclusives that could not be preordered and will be available at the show only. There is really a lot going on at CE II, in fact, there is so much going on, that it is literally impossible to see everything, much to my demise. Initially, I had planned to see all panels on the Celebration Stage (like interviews with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher) and all panels on the Collector’s Stage (like collectors talking about their passion for collecting Star Wars cereal boxes (not kidding!)). But with all the autographs to acquire, all the artist prints to pick up and panels taking place in parallel, it is just impossible. Besides all that, I am also looking forward to meeting a lot of really great people who I have not met in person so far. (What’s up, SWFUK’ers? :)) I figured out, that good preparation is the key to getting the most out of CE II. This post is to describe in detail which thoughts I have put into it and what I’ve done to prepare. Hope you’ll find it inspiring.

But first I will give some details on the things I preordered and the things I want to do at CE II.

1st: Artist prints
On May 30th the artist prints went up for presale on www.starwarscelebration.eu/Europe/. I have preordered 8 out of the 15 available artist prints (1 was canceled, for whatever reason). Personally, I think that all 15 are worth to have, but I chose the 8 which I liked best and will decide about the others when I’m at CE II. That is, if they are still available then because each is limited to only 250 pieces. Here’s a picture with those marked that I have preordered:
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2 little details about the prints above: Matt Busch will draw a little Yoda in a spot that is left open for exactly this intention for 15 Euro. This is a very smart marketing move, as this, of course, is a must-have for collectors like me. So Matt, prepare to remark my print. 🙂
Then there is the great print „Dream Maker“ from Tsuneo Sanda (bottom, far right). This was not offered for presale like all the others and I’m looking to pick one of these up.
Additionally, to the prints above, there is this great print offered by Rancho Obi-Wan (http://www.ranchoobiwan.org). Limited to only 100 pieces, have a look at the print by Benjamin Carré below, which I have also preordered:
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All these prints can be picked up at the show only up and only by the person who preordered them, they will not be shipped.

2nd: Autographs/Photo Ops
Until now I wasn’t really too much into autographs. But having all of these great stars in Essen and with the possibility to have a short chat with all of them while they autograph my lithograph just in front of me -> I couldn’t resist. So I preordered a staggering amount of 28 autograph tickets from Official Pix. And no, I’m not getting an autograph from every signing guest, I have decided to leave out a few, but from some people, like Dickey Beer, I will get multiple autographs from.
Then there are „photo ops“, that means you can have your personal photo taken from you with one of the stars. They offer photo ops with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Ian McDiarmid and Kenny Baker. I have not finally decided which photo ops I want to go for, but currently, think about all 4.

3rd: Exclusives
When going to a show like CE II, there are always exclusives. I believe that not all of the exclusives have been announced yet, at least I hope there will be more. But to name and show a few that I will be after:

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Hasbro CE II Exclusive Boba Fett – this was also offered at San Diego Comic-Con, so I don’t get how it is a CE II exclusive, but anyhow I will want one to keep sealed and one to display.

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Gentle Giant CE II Exclusive Yak Face (Trilogo variant). The POTF variant is the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive. This is also the only exclusive that was available for pre-order with shipping option. I’m glad that I don’t have to carry this big boy home from CE II.

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Topps CE II Exclusive LE7 – Lom Pyke

 4th: Panels
There are panels which are made by collectors from collectors, the stars on stage (hosted by Warwick Davis) and for example a first look at the new animated TV Show „Star Wars: Rebels“. I had planned to go and see all collector’s panels, but in the end, I will most likely see only one. Which is a real bummer, they will hand out exclusive Star Tots in each session and I was looking to get a complete set. See below for some of the announced panels:

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Organizing the stay at CE II
As soon as the full show schedule went online, I quickly realized that it was impossible to see everything and that I needed to organize. For VIP ticket holders (like me), there are even more panels to attend, e.g. meet and greets (looking forward to meeting Dave Filoni). When Official Pix released the autograph/photo ops schedule a few days later, things got even worse. On the same evening I began to plan the whole stay at CE II, meaning:

– Logistics: Go to Essen by train or by car? (The traffic situation can be horrible, I expect a 1-1,5 hrs drive.) And how am I going to carry all the stuff home? I decided to go to Essen by car on each day, to be as flexible as possible and also to be able to carry home all my stuff safe and sound. When wandering around CE II, I need to keep my stuff somewhere too, so I bought a new backpack: 41XYDgaYX0L
– Personal schedule: What do I want to do and when? I created an Excel sheet, which I used to plan all days. I also printed out all of the paperwork which I will need to find the spots I want to go and to claim my preordered exclusives (floor maps, preorder details, etc…).

 Then I bought folders to store my stuff and have it easily accessible:

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The blue folder contains:
– Printout of ticket details (will be converted to a real ticket on site)
– Printouts of preorder details for each artist print
– My personal show schedule
– Floor maps with marked points of interest (connected to my personal schedule)

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Everything autograph/photo ops related is in the green folder, pre-order details of the autograph tickets, plus printouts of the lithograph options, where I marked those that I want to get signed by the artists.

This will be my last post before CE II. I can’t promise anything, but I will try to post interesting stuff here, straight from CE II and in the evenings when I have brought my stuff home, so please bookmark my blog, like our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/StarWarsBlogRing?ref=hl) and follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/maniac79).