Would you pay hundreds of pounds for 30 seconds alone with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader?
Star Wars obsessives from across the world will descend upon London’s ExCel centre for an Easter event hosted by Disney, to celebrate and promote the ever-expanding franchise which it paid £2.5bn to acquire a decade ago.
Star names from the sci-fi saga’s films and numerous TV spin-offs will appear at special panel sessions and screenings in front of thousands of lightsaber-wielding fans.
But the main attraction is brief one-on-one time with the Star Wars actors behind the mask, who will sign an autograph and pose for a photo, for the right price.
McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels and returned as the titular character in last year’s Disney + TV series, commands the highest price.
Together with Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader), he will meet fans at a table and sign a limited edition photograph of the pair for £500
To pose alongside McGregor and Christensen for a unique “Kenobi & Vader together” shot costs an additional £480.
McGregor has already sold out four advertised sessions of solo photos at £260 a go and three sessions where he will sign autographs at £250 each.
With a photo alongside Vivien Lyra Blair (Young Leia in the Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series) costing £350, the complete McGregor collection will cost a super-fan £1,840.
Those are prices from a galaxy, far, far away for McGregor’s real-life uncle, actor Denis Lawson, a cult figure among the franchise hardcore for his role as rebel pilot Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.
The Scottish actor is priced at a cautious £70 for a photo and £60 an autograph, with slots still available.
Even Andy Serkis, the eighth highest-grossing actor of all time, with leading roles in The Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes trilogies, has to accept secondary status in the Star Wars multiverse.
Serkis, who appeared in two Star Wars films and TV spin-off Andor, will pose for a photo for just £120.
Egos are likely to be bruised when actors discover what their colleagues are charging to meet fans.
Anthony Daniels, a Star Wars legend for his role portraying the droid C-3PO across 10 feature films, is going for £110 a photo.
Distinguished thespian Ian McDiarmid, who portrays Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, will pose for £135.
Billy Dee Williams, who first played Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), must hope to have the greatest pulling power. A photo alongside the 86-year-old costs £270 but there are still places available at his sessions.
Game of Thrones actress and model Gwendoline Christie, stormtrooper Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), has been priced at a modest £95.
Caroline Blakiston, the 90-year-old distinguished British thespian who boasts that she was part of the Star Wars franchise – “but only for 26 and a half seconds” – for her role as a rebel leader in 1983 film Return of the Jedi, will happily reminisce with fans and sign autographs for £39.99.
Conversations with the most in-demand stars will be brief. Time slots must be pre-purchased and props are not allowed in photos – lightsabers will be left outside, purchasers are told.
Organisers Epic Photo Ops claim to be the “fastest in the business and we have perfected the celebrity photo op”. The encounters might be brief but fans will leave with a professionally-taken photo printed on the spot, as well as their memories.
Star names from the biggest franchises can be paid more than £100,000 to attend fan conventions, with appearances fees starting from around £5,000, i understands. Proceeds from photos are split between the actor, companies like Epic Photo Ops and the venue owner.
One industry figure told i: “Actors who have minor roles in franchises can make more money from personal appearances on the convention circuit than they got paid for the series.”
Merchandise remains a central plank of the Star Wars franchise. Attendees, who pay £65 a day to attend the Star Wars Celebration event, will be given previews of the next range of toys from LEGO, Hasbro and Funko Games.
The market force remains strong for vintage goods – an unused Palitoy vinyl cape Jawa toy sold for a Star Wars “world record” £22,000 in 2020.
However, the convention is being staged amid concerns, expressed by actor Liam Neeson, that the many spin-off TV series are “diluting” the franchise.
Neeson, who appeared in The Phantom Menace and made a brief cameo appearance in the Kenobi series, warned that an excess of shows could detract from the franchise’s “magic”.
New Star Wars content is a major driver of subscriptions to the Disney + streaming platform. But after spending an estimated £25bn on new content last year, the service is now under pressure to cut costs.
Andor, the latest live-action TV series, itself a prequel to the 2016 film Rogue One, won critical acclaim but has yet to match the viewing figures of predecessor The Mandalorian.
Star Wars selfie price list : may the market force be with you
Ewan McGregor with Hayden Christensen (Obi Wan-Kenobi and Darth Vader) – £499 for in-person autograph at table, restricted to 150 prints. £479.99 to stand alongside in joint photo.
McGregor solo photo – £259.99 places sold out. Christiansen solo photo – £209.99.
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) – £259.99 for at-table autograph.
Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian) – £169.99 for photo.
Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso in Rogue One) – share a frame with James Bond villain for £124.99.
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) – photos with voice of famous droid are £109.99.
Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze in The Mandalorian) – £109.99 photos sold out.
Warwick Davis (Ewok) – Convention favourite will do photos for £75.99.
Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles) – £69.99 a photo.
Caroline Blakiston (Mon Mothma) – £39.99 for photo or autograph with actress whose career spans The Avengers to Poldark.
Samantha Alleyne – British actress best known for being the first female Stormtrooper in Star Wars was offering free autographs, but all slots have now been taken.