It was October of 2014, Halloween was approaching, and my boyfriend and I were discussing potential costumes for that year. If you don’t know me (which you won’t, since this is my first op-ed piece) I am a huge Star Wars fan, so when my boyfriend (previously mentioned) blurted out, “Wouldn’t it be really cool to do a Boba Fett costume?” the wheels started turning in my head.

Fast forward five years, and I have two Mandalorian armor kits: a custom design as well as Bo-Katan from the Clone Wars. Four years have now been spent with an incredible group of friends, who I call family, doing troops and spreading Star Wars enthusiasm throughout the SoCal area. The Mandalorian Mercs are truly a special group of people, as an international costume club focused on professional quality Mandalorian costumes.

In terms of Star Wars, I am a huge fan of Rogue One. There was such a communal sense of excitement from the day the movie was announced to the day it hit the big screen. Seeing such a unique view of the Star Wars universe was so amazing, and I can say that I have probably seen it a few hundred times at this point.

All this is to say that I have been chasing that fandom high since the release of Rogue One … and I finally found it! As soon as it was first spoken of, The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars television series now streaming on Disney+, immediately became a hot topic among our group. “Who is he going to be?” “What will his armor look like?” “What will a live action Star Wars TV series be like?” A trailer and a sneak peek at some footage at Star Wars Celebration Chicago in April only heightened my excitement. Trailers, magazine exclusives, interviews, they all just kept building the immense need to see this show!

When I arrived in Hollywood on Wednesday night, my adrenaline was pumping. Disney lined us up on the red carpet and even before any celebrities arrived, I looked to my left and saw the Mandalorian himself! Well … at least his armor on display, and wow, was it stunning. Minutes passed and soon, the celebrities started arriving. It was finally happening! Anne Convery (the inspiration for Bo-Katan, my favorite Mandalorian and one of my favorite star wars characters in general, see mention of my costume above) and Dave Filoni (executive producer, director of the first episode, and Star Wars television legend) were some of the first to arrive. I get really starstruck and quickly forget how to speak so when they made their way over to where I was standing, I nearly panicked and almost forgot the English language. Thankfully, with the help of some friends, I was able to ask both Anne and Dave for autographs on the inside of my Bo-Katan Mandalorian helmet. To my utter excitement, they both said they loved my helmet. I was over the moon! I was soon over Tatooine or another Outer Rim planet when Jon Favreau, series creator, writer, and executive producer, arrived at our section of the red carpet. Things are a little blurry in my mind,  but I think I managed to get a few words out to him. I asked him to sign my helmet and he agreed. As I handed him the sharpie, my hand was visibly shaking from nerves and excitement. This was the man responsible for this amazing project! He was so nice and great with all the fans!

Soon, it was time for us to go into the theatre for a cast Q&A and wow, it was so awesome to see the entire cast and directors together on stage. It was amazing listening to them recount stories from the set and Dave even gave the Mandalorian Mercs a little shout out. That made my heart so incredibly happy! It very nearly brought a tear to my eye, but not the first time that evening and definitely not the last. It was easy to see that everyone involved in The Mandalorian was a true fan of Star Wars; they really displayed their passion and love for the universe.

After the Q&A session, it was finally time for the first three episodes to start. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty (not an Eminem reference). This was it! Although I had seen the first episode prior to Wednesday, it was spectacular to see it on the big screen. The attention to detail for this show is so incredible, and if you ever get the chance to see it on a big screen, I’d highly recommend it. The costumes, the planets, the visuals … just wow. As the next two episodes continued, I laughed, I cheered, and I cried even more (all happy tears) !

This is what I had wanted and have been wanting from Star Wars since the release of Rogue One. The high I’ve been chasing has been met and exceeded my expectations. I am so extremely thrilled with the direction of this show, the amazing experience I was able to have, and the future of Star Wars.

I have spoken.

-30-