I’ve been a Star Wars fan for a while now, and I’ve had some incredible experiences as a fan, but they all pale in comparison to my latest adventure. Honestly, I think I’ve hit the pinnacle of what I would consider to be the utmost fan experience, and I enjoyed every second of it.
I often share about my experiences as a member of the 501st Legion. Being part of the Legion has allowed my fandom to expand in ways I didn’t even know were possible (so many volunteering opportunities with amazing charities, getting to connect with fans from across the globe, meeting influential figures in the Star Wars community, etc.). This time, thanks to my involvement in the Legion, I scored an exclusive invite from Lucasfilm Fan Relations to attend the World Premiere of the latest Star Wars stand-alone film: Solo.
Once I arrived in Hollywood I connected with the other members of the Legion, as well as other costuming clubs, who were in town for the event. We headed down the street toward the El Capitan Theater and were delighted to see Mark Hamill’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After checking in, receiving my badge, and, being cleared by security, I was escorted to the red carpet. Luckily, I had a great spot near the beginning of the carpet with a nice view of where the Star Wars Show would be hosting the Livestream of the event. I find film/television production to be fascinating so I was thrilled to have such an insiders view of the Livestream production.
Not surprisingly, later on I found myself in various shots of the Livestream as well as the The Star Wars Show episode where they gave a behind the scenes look at the Solo Premiere. I’m in the bottom left corner of the photo below.
I never did get to know the girls next to me since they were moved to the other side of the carpet shortly after filming began, but I got stuck with the guy next to me (hi Bryon! 😉 ). Thankfully, he was incredibly entertaining, and somehow made the whole experience even more fun.
I was delighted when Stormtroopers arrived to provide Imperial presence during the event. They definitely added to the already excited atmosphere.
Following the Troopers, Chewbacca was one of the first “stars” to arrive on the red carpet. Soon after, Joonas Suotamo stepped onto the red carpet and the event officially began! Joonas was wonderful to the fans and spent a considerable about of time signing autographs and posing for photos with fans. During his interview for the Livestream he was authentic and humble about his role of bringing Chewbacca to life for the film.
Paul Bettany made an appearance shortly after, and I swear he was smiling at me during his Star Wars Show interview. 😉 I didn’t get to meet him but I did enjoy seeing him be interviewed and watching him interact with others.
The actors weren’t the only ones who had the honor of walking the red carpet; it was exciting to see (and meet) many other influential figures who have a direct hand in creating the Star Wars universe. I spotted Pablo Hidalgo, Matt Martin, & Amanda Jean, among others. I was especially excited to meet Doug Chiang, whose work as a designer/visual effects supervisor/creative director I’ve admired for years.
Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) from Star Wars Rebels walked the red carpet, and later was seated in front of me when we saw the film, so that was an extra bit of fun!
Since I have a Juno Eclipse costume from The Force Unleashed, I was quite a bit excited when I met Sam Witwer! Nowadays I suppose he is better known for his voice over work on The Clone Wars and Rebels, but he’ll always be Starkiller to me.
There came a point in the event when it seemed like the red carpet suddenly filled up with just about everyone in the Star Wars world. Ron Howard arrived, immediately followed by George Lucas, Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, and a whole slew of other notable figures!
There was no way I could possibly meet everyone, but I was thrilled to meet Dave Filoni and the new Han Solo himself, Alden Ehrenreich!
I almost got a photo with Nathan Fillion, who was trying to sneak by unnoticed. He denied my request for a photo, but was stopped by more persistent fans further down the carpet. I did manage to take a couple photos of him, just not one with him.
I unashamedly watch Disney Channel (and Disney Jr. with my son), so I recognized the stars of various Disney Channel shows when they arrived. One of the cutest things was seeing Peyton Elizabeth Lee and Emily Skinner from Andi Mack fangirl over Donald Glover. There is just something endearing about seeing celebrities get just as excited as the rest of us over seeing their favorite celebrities.
As the red carpet wrapped up I had a chance to meet Jon Favreau, who voiced one of my favorite new characters from Solo, as well as Rena Owen, the voice of Taun We from Attack of the Clones.
One of the final people to make an appearance was the head of Lucasfilm herself, Kathleen Kennedy. She spoke with Andi and Anthony on the Livestream, then much to my surprise and delight, came over and met the fans. She took a great deal of time to speak with us and take photos/sign autographs and even thanked us for being there (just between us, I would have paid to be there, but her thanking us for attending was truly touching).
The Livestream concluded and Andi instantly became one of the most relatable people of the night when she immediately removed her heels the moment the show ended – the moment got quite a laugh from everyone watching. She had a few moments in between her busy schedule and came and chatted with some of us. I look like I’m about to cry in the picture I got with her, but I was actually laughing because she was making jokes about her dress.
There were a few stars who arrived after the Livestream was over, and only minutes before the movie was scheduled to start. Apart from Billy Dee Williams, those who showed up late tried to avoid walking the red carpet. John Williams went so far as to walk behind the bleachers where the fans were standing, and Ewan McGregor essentially ran down the carpet attempting to go by unnoticed.
Since the film was about to start we were quickly ushered off to our respective theaters to see Solo. I got to see the film in the Dolby Theater, along with Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, and George Lucas (and a couple hundred others, many of whom had worked on the film). We didn’t have access to our phones during the film so I couldn’t take any photos, but the theater was incredible and it was intriguing to see the stars a bit more relaxed since there were no cameras present.
I won’t comment on the film except to say that I truly enjoyed it and am excited to see it again once it is officially released!
Once the film concluded I was directed to an even more exclusive afterparty where the filmmakers and actors got to mingle, unwind, and enjoy gourmet tater tots (the tater tots were seriously delicious).
In a brilliant marketing move there was a Millennium Falcon on display constructed entirely out of red solo cups.
The costumes from the film were also displayed and I and spent a good amount of time admiring the costumes.
There were also a couple photobooth stations, as well as an area where you could build your own miniature Millennium Falcon out of LEGO. The Stormtroopers from earlier were also there and my new friend Randy and I couldn’t resist taking a photo with them.
As I snapped a couple more photos the party wound down and eventually the night came to a close.
Being included in the Solo Premiere was definitely one of the most incredible things I’ve ever gotten to be part of and I am forever grateful to Disney and Lucasfilm for the invite. I am so excited to see Solo again once it is released, and to be able to discuss it with all of you!
The Star Wars Show: