Tired, sore but still on a bit of a high, myself and fellow FTN’ers Marc and Kenny are at last recovering from our three days at Invasion Dublin III.
We’ve seen all the props and sets before, met organisers the Emerald Garrison on many occasions (and become good friends with all of them) however that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves at the Citywest Hotel as much as ever. (Continues after pic)
With FTN playing a central role in hosting Q&As, quizzes, cosplay competitions and much more on the main stage, we were thrown into the deep end straight away when we arrived on the Friday morning.
In the space of three hours we had introduced and chatted with Will Sliney (artist), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), James Arnold Taylor (Clone Wars Obi-Wan voice actor), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Mike Edmonds (ewok Logray) in front of thousands of Irish Star Wars fans. (Continues after pic)
We’ve met Jeremy many times before but it’s always a pleasure, and still a joy, to meet him again. In fact, we even sat at the table beside him for breakfast and were greeted with a nod and “good morning nerds” on the second day. Wonderful!
Of course, the big draw was Mr Williams who arrived at around lunchtime each day (although on Sunday he decided to sleep in leaving us with several hundred fans getting a little restless before his arrival, but nothing that an impromptu quiz couldn’t cure). He was gracious, in good form and provided many a funny moment. In fact, he got a great cheer when reponding to a question of what he thought about the prequels. While he said they were ok but relied a little too much on CGI he did admit to not liking that character who looked like a giraffe. “Jar Jar Binks”, I cried out. “Yeah, him”. The crowd erupted into claps and cheers. Get in there, Billy! (Continues after pic)
For my colleague Marc, the appearance of James Arnold Taylor was enought to send him into nerd heaven. As the voice of Obi-Wan and many others, including Johnny Test, Fred Flinstone and an amazing Michael J Fox, Mr Taylor was on fine form. Here was a man free from ego, who was gracious to all who approached him, and even on his final evening when feeling slightly under the weather with a sore throat still had time to invite Marc and I to his room for a 12-minute interview. And to top that off he even signed some pictures for our kids. What a top guy (we sat in the bar for two hours later that night talking Star Wars, but I don’t like to boast – Marc).
His one-man performance, called ‘Talking to Myself’ was the highlight of the weekend. With more voices than you could shake a stick at, Taylor’s slightly altered version of his ‘Brother’ speech to Anakin at the end of their lightsaber duel in Revenge of the Sith was amazing. It was as if Ewan McGregor was live on stage. If you get the opportunity to see ‘Talking to Myself’, please do. It’s terrific! (Continues after pic)
As for Clone Wars comic artist Will Sliney, I’m hoping I’ve made a friend for life. What a wonderful artist and human being. From his appearance on the Q&A stage to his regular art classes with kids, the Cork native was a hit all round. He even joined FTN and the Garrison for a meal every night as well as a sneeky pint or two. On top of that, we discovered each other’s love for Everton FC, so my admiration for the man now holds no bounds. What a great guy.
As well as meeting some of the great and good from the Star Wars universe I want to say a big thank you to a number of people who made our weekend even more special. Firstly to Garrison chief Martin Ryan who is constantly under the most severe pressure but is always on hand for advice or support if ever we need it. Also, to Craig Kingma, our sound and lighting man Brendan (a madman!!) and, of course, to all the members of the Garrison who are the friendliest bunch you’ll ever meet.
Anyway, please keep an eye on these pages in the coming weeks as we have a load more pictures and interviews (including Billy Dee and James Arnold) for you to enjoy.
Until next time, MTFBWY