In news that isn’t all that surprising, Star Wars Celebration 2020 has been canceled, per an official statement from Disney and Lucasfilm. The annual Star Wars-centered convention, which mixed panels devoted to the history of the franchise with others pointing towards its future in movies, television, videogames, theme parks and more, will not return next year as not to clash with Disney’s other big fan convention, D23 Expo. Instead, Star Wars Celebration will make its triumphant return in 2022, August 18 – 22.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration was meant to be held in Anaheim, California, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The last time it was held there was in 2015. Recent Star Wars Celebrations have been held in London, Chicago, and Orlando. The venues are often chosen due to their proximity to one of the Disney Parks, and Anaheim is literally across the street from the Disneyland Resort. (There was a hard-ticket after hours event, Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars, Nite, which was quickly sold out and due to take place the first night of Celebration. It’s unclear whether that is still happening.) The location for the 2022 edition of Star Wars Celebration will also be Anaheim, so if this Disneyland event is canceled, you can bet it’ll be back for 2022. This year’s Celebration was canceled due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus and the safety of the guests attending this year’s convention.
The first Star Wars Celebration, a truly official Star Wars convention, meant to match the energy and effervescence of the countless science fiction and fantasy fan conventions thrown around the world each year, was held more than 20 years ago, in 1999, in Denver, Colorado. It was meant to stoke the anticipation for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, slated to open later that year, and subsequent Celebrations have been held in places as varied as Indianapolis and Chiba, Japan. The first Disney-held Star Wars Celebration was in 2013 in Essen, Germany, and have served as a powerful tool for promotion and education when it comes to every facet of the Star Wars brand under Disney. Last year’s Celebration, in Chicago, for instance, was the first time anyone had seen footage from Disney+’s original series The Mandalorian, it was where they premiered the first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and where they broke new details about the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land in Disneyland and Walt Disney World (specifically the cool, futuristic Coke bottles they’d sell in the land), amongst other things.
While it’s sad that we won’t get a Star Wars Celebration this year, it also makes sense. With much of the Star Wars output on the big screen and small screen very much influx, with several titles either going through dramatic rejiggering (like the Obi-Wan and Rogue One shows for Disney+) or others that have yet to be concretely be finalized (like big screen projects from Taika Waititi and JD Dillard). In a couple of years, hopefully most of this stuff will have settled and Star Wars Celebration can get the fans properly (and safely) stoked. And hey, at least we have The Mandalorian season 2 coming this fall.