This year’s annual Star Wars Celebration brought some of the world’s biggest Star Wars enthusiasts to the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend. Thousands of fans lined up the night before the event began, sleeping on the sidewalk just for a shot at seeing Star Wars reboot director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
Apart from panels with some of the biggest presences in the Star Wars franchise, the four-day convention had a little something for everyone. From finding intergalactic romance at a Star Wars-themed speed-dating event, to endless chances to buy literally any Star Wars-branded piece of merchandise you could imagine, to the opportunity to have your photo taken in front of a mock-up Millenium Falcon, there was little room for disappointment.
But one of the most intriguing sights at this year’s event was the continued growth of a trend exclusive to this convention — the Star Wars tattoo. This year, 45 tattoo artists set up shop on the convention floor to give fans a memento that would literally last a lifetime, according to the LA Times.
On average, about one in five U.S. adults will have at least one tattoo. For fans looking to get inked at the Star Wars Celebration, however, getting a tattoo of their favorite franchise meant missing as much as seven or eight hours of panels, photos and networking opportunities — not to mention the droid races and live lightsaber duels.
“It’s totally worth it,” Angela Byrd, 28, of Modesto, said of her galactic tattoo. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
Byrd chose to get a full-color tattoo of R2-D2 framed with angel wings and the words “you’re my only hope” below the iconic droid. It’s her second Star Wars-themed tattoo, and sits right below her tattoo of the Millenium Falcon.
The LA Times reports that tattoos have been a Star Wars Celebration tradition since 2005. Over the years, the number of tattoo artists setting up shop at the event has steadily grown. This year, more than 200 tattooists applied to attend the event, but only 45 were asked by Lucasfilm to become officially licensed Star Wars artists.
“Here, you get a ‘Star Wars’ tattoo by your fellow ‘Star Wars’ geeks. They understand you. They understand what you want,” said Shane Turgeon, who has been giving tattoos to Star Wars fans since the 2005 convention.