As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, Star Wars Weekends 2012 has come to a close at Walt Disney World after four weekends of bringing fans inside the George Lucas-created universe. Many arrived in costume to meet and greet with characters and celebrities from throughout the six “Star Wars” films and “The Clone Wars” TV show.
On its last weekend, I ventured out to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to take in the intergalactic festivities a final time for this year, armed with a camera and zoom lens to capture a close-up view in a day’s worth of excitement throughout the event.
Let’s take a photo journey…
A first stop for many at Star Wars Weekends are the celebrity autograph locations around Echo Lake.
On this final weekend, Jeremy Bulloch, the original Boba Fett, was there.
This name might not be instantly familiar to all Star Wars fans, but her character is.
The bounty hunter Aurra Sing had little screen time in the Star Wars movies but is memorable nonetheless.
Taking a step away from celebrities, character meet-and-greets are hugely popular both with Star Wars fans and everyday park guests. Princess Leia was tucked away inside Darth's Mall, a shopping area. She certainly deserves a close-up.
Just like the Star Wars celebrities, characters frequently sign autographs. It's a moment that is always amusing when captured on camera, particularly for villains who don't seem like the autograph type.
Minnie Mouse wouldn't let Leia have all the hair bun fun.
Even when approached by a blaster-wielding guest, Minnie's quick to hug.
Queen Amidala doesn't let either Leia outdo her 'do.
But when it comes to hair (or fur), you can't beat Chewbacca and an Ewok.
And another. I don't think pink is Chewy's color.
Though both showed their sensitive sides when paying extra attention to a sleeping baby.
Anakin looks sufficiently distressed.
But still found time for an autograph.
Jango Fett was busy capturing prisoners.
And signing autographs.
Darth Maul is evil.
And signs autographs.
Stormtroopers patrol the area.
And... well, you know.
This Jedi trained a few young Padawans.
And, yes, signed an autograph.
It's not every day you can size up Darth Vader.
Lord Vader was not pleased.
Likewise, Asajj Ventress said talk to the hand when asked for a photo. Never trust a Sith.
Back in Darth's Mall, C-3PO and R2-D2 joined the photo opportunity. (No autographs from these two.)
Luke Skywalker hung out in front of a rather wrinkly Tatooine.
The Cantina band briefly met guests exiting the Star Tours ride, a surprise for all.
Those wanting more character and celebrity fun had to simply hit the Hollywood Studios streets as Jedi Mickey surfed his way out to begin the motorcade.
Continuing our close-ups, Princess Leia Minnie was all smiles. (Isn't she always?)
Darth Goofy was followed by a herd of Jedi.
Stormtrooper Donald Duck looked particularly fluffy.
These young Padawans were trained quickly in the ways of the Force.
But the Padawans didn't realize they were being tailed.
The impressive 501st Legion took part with fans in high-quality and unique costumes.
Like this one.
And this one.
And throw in a Mon Mothma too.
How about a Wookiee other than Chewbacca?
Emperor Palpatine threatened the crowd.
And then came the Stormtroopers. Lots of them.
Chewbacca wasn't threatened by anyone, not even the blazing Florida heat.
A calm Jedi waved in reassurance that those Clone Troopers behind her were nothing to fear.
Aalya Secura was looking rather blue, as usual.
A baby Tuken Raider. Awww, how cute...?
Ewoks are a better definition of cute.
Kit Fisto decided to show up.
But not even an appearance from Kit Fisto can put a smile on Darth Maul's face.
Jeremy Bulloch made his grand appearance in the motorcade with his screen counterpart Boba Fett following closely behind.
Boba Fett is always on duty.
Young Boba Fett was thumbs up next.
Aurra Sing actress Michonne Bourriague arrived with her character.
Aurra Sing herself wasn't taking any chances, giving the evil eye to everyone.
But Michonne Bourriague was all smiles.
Even the flag bearers were elaborately dressed.
Asajj Ventress always looks smug.
But her voice, Nika Futterman, was genuinely excited.
Likewise Ahsoka Tano voice actress and Star Wars Weekends co-host Ashley Eckstein was happy to see her fans.
The same goes for Obi Wan Kenobi voice and Star Wars Weekends co-host James Arnold Taylor, reaching out to those who appreciate his talents.
Jango Fett tends to reach out for an entirely different reason, and not a good one.
And then there's Vader, looking as menacing as ever.
Up on stage after the motorcade, James Arnold Taylor really should be careful when pointing a light saber at his face.
The Boba Fetts size each other up.
Ashley Eckstein matches Ahsoka Tano with a Her Universe shirt.
Double the Ewok. Double the fun.
And they all ride back down the road, a second chance to see the celebs up-close.
More celebrity fun can be found in the Stars of the Saga presentations, beginning with a humorous Disneyfied introduction featuring Stormtroopers.
But when one Stormtrooper called Darth Maul out as not being so tough, he made an appearance...
...that did not end well for the Stormtrooper.
James Arnold Taylor hammed it up with a few of his many, MANY cartoon voices.
Jeremy Bulloch met him on stage with a bounty hunter-style threat.
But Bulloch was far more loving to Michonne Bourriague.
And he was far less interested in hugging Daniel Logan.
Everyone loves a hug from Jedi Mickey.
In the end, James Arnold Taylor led a rousing rendition of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song.
And in the end, fans further celebrate their love for all Star Wars characters and celebrities by arriving to Star Wars Weekends in their own clever takes on costumes, like this female Han Solo.
And this R2-D2.
And R2-D2 again, this time with C-3PO. Clever.
Star Wars Weekends 2012 may be gone, but fans of the franchise needn’t wait too long for more with
Star Wars Celebration VI just a couple months away, where tens of thousands of fans are expected to convene in Orlando to see even bigger celebrities, buy more collectibles, and wear more elaborate costumes.
More photos from Star Wars Weekends 2012: