Sep 1, 2010

Star Wars Celebration V Review: Day 4 - Part 1: R2-KT honored at The Force in the Flesh

We finally come to the last day of Star Wars Celebration V. This was also the short day on the schedule ending 2 hours earlier than the other days. By this time we have seen almost everything on the trade floor but we haven't been to any panels. Funny how you look at a schedule ahead of time and highlight all the great panels you thought you would want to see, but once you get there you just go with the flow. We got to meet so many people and experience some wild things that we would have missed if we were sitting in panels all weekend.

Our first stop was to the Force in the Flesh tattoo area. Genna who is no stranger to tattoos wanted to get something done at the convention. She considered many designs from Mando and Jedi symbols but something else came to mind. Leading up to Celebration I would give her homework assignments of sorts. Learn this storyline, read about this character, trying to get her as well versed in the universe as I was. Don't want your apprentice going in blind now do you! There was one piece of homework that was essential. I told her, be prepared on this one, it will tug at your heart strings and you might even cry. Now Genna is a tough chick, a big fan of the Saw movies and doesn't get emotional that often. But I sent her the story of R2-KT. I think it should be mandatory reading for any Star Wars fans and anyone who has any interest in the 501st.

In short, because I want all of you readers to also do their homework at . Albin Johnson, founder of the 501st had a daughter named Katie. In 2004 Katie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Albin had an idea to build her a droid to watch over her, just like R2 watched Padme. Her sister went one step further and said why don't we make her pink and name her after Katie, R2-KT. Knowing time was short, the R2 Builders club rushed a modified pink R2 and Katie fell in love. The droid watched over her until she passed in her sleep.

The R2 Builders continued to build the official R2-KT and was presented to Albin and his family the next year. R2-KT has since travelled the world and visited many children's hospitals, and even made it onto the big screen in the Clone Wars animated movie.

Genna with her tough no nonsense exterior was brought to tears over her story, so much so from that day on there has been a photo of R2-KT on her wallpaper at work ever since. Leading up to Celebration, while staring at the photo of R2-KT had an epiphany. She likes to hide stuff in her tattoos, stuff that if you know, you know. She wanted to get the utility arms on the front of the astromech. To anyone seeing that didn't know star wars probably wouldn't figure it out, and if you know do, and you know that special little pink droid than you know exactly what it is.

So she made an appointment for Sunday morning, and got the tattoo done. The reaction from fellow 501st members was fantastic. They were amazed that she made such a commitment and wasn't even a member.... yet.

We had to head back to the 501st room to get a pic with KT herself and Genna's new ink. It is hard not to tear up when in her presence. Funny how we talk about a piece of metal as if it was a person, but this is a traveling memorial to Katie. Even though we have never met her, she will always be in our hearts. Katie was and always will be a part of the family that is the 501st.

Up Next, Part 2 - My Day 4 Experience and finally, The Panels.....

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