13 Important Things to Know From Star Wars Celebration

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 10 months ago

IMDb attended Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Fla., to get the scoop on all the latest news about your favorite 'Star Wars' movies and actors. Catch up on the biggest news from the event. – Bret Federigan

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Mark Hamill at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Luke Skywalker Finally Speaks

The highlight of Friday's The Last Jedi panel was undoubtedly the release of the movie's teaser trailer for fans across the world. In fact, director Rian Johnson was so excited to share the teaser that he screened it twice for those in attendance. But what made the teaser trailer so consequential for followers was the fact that they finally got to hear Luke Skywalker's voice for the first time since 1983. And what Luke says in the teaser trailer ("It's time for the Jedi to end ... ") caused confusion across the internet. Surely, the quote as presented in the footage lacks crucial context. So, it remains to be seen what Luke actually means until we get more to work with in upcoming trailer releases.

But make no mistake: Luke will play a pivotal role in this next film. Kathleen Kennedy reassured fans that Luke is "so significantly important to this next film." To which, Mark Hamill joked, "Well, that's good to hear!"

Mark Hamill, Kathleen Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Josh Gad, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, and Daisy Ridley at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

New Poster Revealed

Along with the release of the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson shared the first poster with fans. Red is the operative theme in the poster art, which juxtaposes Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren with Rey, in a configuration reminiscent of the Jedi symbol. The composition begs the question: Who is the last Jedi? Or maybe: Who are the last Jedi? We have some good theories of our own. But your guess is as good as ours!

John Boyega and Daisy Ridley at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

More Details About The Last Jedi

Director Rian Johnson and the cast were understandably tightlipped about many of the larger unresolved questions that most fans want answered in Episode VIII. But they did provide a few things worth sharing here. No, we didn't get any insight into what Rey's last name is, but Daisy Ridley did caution fans to prepare for the unexpected. Rey "has a certain expecation when meeting Luke," she said. "It's difficult meeting your heroes … because you might not get what you expect."

Johnson also warned that things would get pretty stark at the beginning of this chapter. "The Starkiller Base is a big loss. The galaxy is in chaos, and the First Order is jumping on that," he intoned. "Things are going get dire."

As for Finn? John Boyega said his character would face a significant test in this movie, to "find his place." Boyega shared, "Is he a part of the resistance? Or is he going to keep running away from the First Order?"

Steve Blum, Dave Filoni, and Tiya Sircar at an event for Star Wars: Rebels (2014)

Fourth and Final Season for "Star Wars Rebels"

"Star Wars Rebels" creator Dave Filoni has developed a reputation at Star Wars Celebration for always breaking consequential news at the panels for his beloved Disney XD animation series. And this year was certainly no different. In front of a room of rabid fans eager to learn more about Season 4 of "Rebels," Filoni broke the difficult news that the upcoming season would be the series' last. "I know it's tough," he assured those in attendance. "We've done something very special here. I'm very proud of these characters. It's one of the best things the animation division has ever done."

Fans, however, won't have to mourn very long, as Filoni indicated more small-screen animations projects are well in the pipeline: "It's not an end to anything we're doing in animation." Still, the news was heartbreaking to those in the theater, including the voice actors appearing on stage with Filoni. Though she had known about this announcement prior to the event, Tiya Sircar wasn't able to hold back her tears.

Kathleen Kennedy, Rian Johnson, Josh Gad, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, and Daisy Ridley at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Meet Your Newest Star Wars Star

Friday's The Last Jedi panel provided fans a chance to see some returning megastars but also to get to know for the first time one of the new faces arriving on the Episode VIII scene. Director Rian Johnson introduced young actress Kelly Marie Tran and her character, Rose, who serves as a maintenance worker and is part of the Resistance. "I can't wait for you to meet her," said Johnson, who also explained that Tran has the "biggest new part in the movie."

The director explained Rose's character further: "She's not a soldier. She's not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled a very big way into an adventure in this movie." Despite her diminutive stature, expect Tran to cast a very large shadow in the proceedings of the next movie.

Event photo

Don't Forget About About BB-8

As Star Wars fans know, droids continue to be indispensable supporting characters. Director Rian Johnson said the best advice he received from other producers was that he could "never have enough BB-8." And so will it be for Episode VIII, where the character will continue to provide tremendous comic levity. "He's the Buster Keaton of this movie," said Johnson.

George Lucas

Carrie Fisher Ever Present

While Thursday's kickoff panel was very much a celebration of the 40-year legacy of the Star Wars saga, it also served as an official tribute of sorts to the late Carrie Fisher. Led by George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, the film franchise's most cherished names helped fans honor the legacy of an actress whose cultural impact clearly went beyond her portrayal of Leia. There wasn't a dry eye in the house during the succession of tributes, which included salutes from daughterBillie Lourde, conductor John Williams, and George Lucas himself, who called the actress "one in a billion."

Later during Celebration, Mark Hamill hosted a separate panel to honor Fisher, his "space sis." And Kathleen Kennedy noted that Fisher's scenes in The Last Jedi will more than satisfy fans: "Carrie is remarkable in the movie. What Rian wrote and the performance she ends up giving, are an amazing tribute to her talent."

Kennedy later revealed in an interview at Celebration that, despite reports to the contrary, Fisher won't in fact be appearing in Episode IX.

George Lucas

George Lucas Comes Home

The transition for George Lucas since handing over the franchise and the operations of Lucasfilm to Kathleen Kennedy and the powers that be at Disney hasn't always been easy. In fact, he's at times taken the stance of estranged parent. It was only a few years ago that Lucas remarked his uneasiness and displeasure at not being involved in the creation of the The Force Awakens, likening the handing over control of his film empire to Disney as akin to a "breakup."

So, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that Lucas would appear at the kickoff panel celebrating 40 years of the Star Wars saga, though his presence was a much-discussed rumor for weeks. The fact that he did appear was very much a surprise to followers both at the event and across the blogosphere, and it also helped to remind fans that the creative mind behind the saga characters is estranged no more.

Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Harrison Ford Makes His Debut

Amazingly, the swashbuckler behind Han Solo had never made an appearance at Star Wars Celebration until this past week. But perhaps the chance to share the stage with George Lucas and the rest of original cast presented the right opportunity for the popular actor finally to make his debut with SWC fans. Regardless, the fact that he would be able to join some familiar faces to help honor his late on-screen partner, Carrie Fisher, must have played into his decision.

Rian Johnson at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rian Johnson Is the Anointed One

Given her track record at Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy typically only doles out praise when she means it. At Star Wars Celebration London in 2016, she famously promised attendees that Gareth Edwards would imbue Rogue One with a story and a directorial style unlike any fans had ever seen. And she was absolutely right.

This time around, she was even thicker with praise for Rian Johnson. "He is on his way to standing alongside many of the great filmmakers I've had the opportunity to work with," Kennedy said. "He has an amazing uniqueness to what he does. He also writes as beautifully as he directs, which is quite incredible." She further highlighted Johnson's ability to create and showcase "amazingly fierce and independent women" Such strong praise should steel Star Wars fans, indeed.

Hayden Christensen

Return of Hayden Christensen

Amazingly, it's been 15 years since Hayden Christensen has appeared at a Star Wars Celebration. The actor, who played a young Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy, has been content to stay out the Star Wars public's eye, perhaps as a reaction to the very vocal backlash he received for his performance in those movies. However, Star Wars fans are a forgiving and, at the end, appreciative lot. Those in attendance regaled Christensen with a hearty standing ovation.

Warwick Davis and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Familiar Faces and Voices on "Star Wars Rebels"

Showrunner Dave Filoni shared plenty of information with fans during his Saturday panel that focused on the upcoming season of "Star Wars Rebels." Among the more notable tidbits he disclosed was that both Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera will return to Season 4, with the latter again voiced by Forest Whitaker. Most exciting, however, is the news that Warwick Davis will be joining the cast as Rukh, a character that has actually never been seen in the Star Wars universe. According to Filoni, Rukh is Thrawn's assassin bodyguard who is "creepy and sneaky … and devious."

Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson at an event for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

No New Updates on the Upcoming Standalone Films

There was nothing disclosed by Kathleen Kennedy or others about the upcoming standalone movie projects. At last year's Celebration in London, Kennedy shared plenty with fans about the Han Solo movie, ceding the stage to the directors and star of that film. This time around, there was nothing – neither about Han Solo nor the third standlone, whose storyline and main characters have yet to be confirmed. Looks like we'll likely have to wait until this summer, at D23, for the earliest opportunity to learn more.

As for what we can expect in these two forthcoming standalones, expect Lucasfilm to keep moving in more ambitious directions. Kennedy confessed that Rogue One was a big risk for the studio – but one that has clearly paid off in spades, thanks to the popular and critical reception the movie received. She told fans that the success of that film gave her and other execs "a lot of confidence to keep going in the direction they're going."