Day Two of Star Wars Celebration was a big day for the future of Star Wars. The Last Jedi poster and trailer debuted, one of the biggest if not the biggest thing to happen at Celebration this year. Seemed to be some schedule changes as well but let’s get into the day’s events. Be wary, The Last Jedi panel recap is gonna be huge!
The Last Jedi Panel
To kick the day off in streaming, the most anticipated panel aired at 11AM EST. Let me just say, I had my co-workers be quiet for this one and thankfully there was no lag like the 40th Anniversary panel. The only two scheduled to appear were Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy but they promised surprise guests. The panel started off with my favorite videos of this year – Josh Gad asking Daisy about The Last Jedi. And then to my surprise , Josh Gad was the host of the panel! It was very cool. He talked about how he’s a big fan and even went into his fan credentials, talking about how he camped out for The Phantom Menace and took days off from school to watch it again and again.He then introduced Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson to the stage. There were 4 chairs left after they sat so surprise guests were definitely coming.
They started briefly by thanking the fans that were up till 3 in the morning because fans who waited in line got a big surprise. Director Rian Johnson came to visit them and walked around to every person, signing autographs and talking with fans. It was a very nice surprise for those who did some dirty work to get in to the panel. Gad proceeded to ask them questions about The Last Jedi and he asked Kennedy what Johnson brought to Star Wars. “He is on his way to standing alongside many of the great film makers I’ve had the opportunity to work with. He has an amazing uniqueness to what he does. He also writes as beautifully as he directs, which is quite incredible. He writes amazingly fierce and independent women.” Yes. She also went on to compliment his humor. Johnson shared that he took a lot of images on set and they shared some of his images while he talked about his camera.
They also shared thoughts on Carrie, sharing more images of her from the upcoming film. Johnson said he connected to her first and foremost as a writer. Gad stood and said “Speaking of strong, empowered heroines…” the crowd went nuts. Daisy Ridley! Gad teases her a bunch, even throwing the “Rey Kenobi” theory at her. She does have some things she can tell fans though. “We go deeper into Rey’s story and what is very apparent where we left off in The Force Awakens and where we begin with The Last Jedi is Rey has a certain expectation as to what she might be getting from Luke. And what that might entail. And as a lot of people know, it’s difficult when you meet your hero because it might not be what you expect.” Interesting. Gad went on to say that as a father, he’s so glad that there are strong, empowered women inhabiting Star Wars.
Gad stood yet again. It was BB-8! Yes, I got really excited for BB-8….shhh. Gad asked him a few questions to hilarious effect before BB left the stage. They briefly talked about the technology of BB-8 and Johnson promised there’s much more BB-8 in the film including more physical gags. Yeeeeees. Gad stood again introducing the former stormtrooper – John Boyega! He was asked about how he feels being a cultural icon now and Boyega was nothing but positive, going as far as saying he feels phenomenal but he didn’t have the journey alone so it’s easier for him. And while he’s been filming other franchises he said “It’s good to be home.” He added that all the characters are going through a test and Finn’s test is finding his place. “Will he become a part of the Resistance or keep running away from The First Order? We’ll see.”
Johnson says there’s a few new characters he’s excited about one of them being Kelly Marie Tran’s character. Unfortunately for Johnson, they took the cue and Tran came walking out on the stage before he could say her character’s name. But Tran spoke of how this wasn’t her first Celebration as she went to Star Wars Europe, sporting a Finn shirt and really enjoyed the enthusiasm. Gad asks what she can tell us about her character. Rose, is her name, and she’s a maintenance worker for The Resistance. Similar to someone else we know (WINK). Johnson went on to say that what’s so great about Luke and Rey is that they’re pulled out of their situations and are unlikely heroes and that’s where Rose comes from.
Gad stands for a last time. Mark Hamill comes out on stage to roaring applause. Hamill goes on to compliment Johnson’s work and said he’s become a huge fan of him. “If Rian’s happy, I’m happy. I totally turned my performance over to him”. Hamill is a brilliant storyteller so he goes on to explain that actors will give their characters backstories as to where they’ve been to help with the performance. He recalls telling JJ his idea for Luke and “he basically patted me on the head, gave me a cookie and had me go away”. But he said that he wanted to relate to things that have happened in his own life to what’s been going on with Luke. Kennedy jumps in and says that “He is so significantly important to this next film”. Hamill goes on to talk about his experience reading The Force Awakens and his physical training. He actually thought what many fans did – when the lightsaber was jiggling in the snow he thought it was going to be him but it went to Rey instead. It’s a story you have to hear from him. He then gave love to the fans before the big guns were unleashed.
The “teaser poster” as Johnson put it was unveiled to loud cheers. But what got fans cheering the more was when Kennedy told them that everyone in the audience would get that poster. There was a pause. The audience started yelling and chanting, the electricity was going through the roof, begging for a trailer. Fans were starting to get on their feet in huge anticipation. Johnson got up and looked around. “There’s a trailer…Of course there’s a trailer!” The fans were losing it. It was also the first time the actors would be seeing the trailer too so they scuttled off to the side to watch. The trailer played. The audience cheered loudly. Johnson came back out one more time to thank fans and promised them there’s more to come throughout the year and can’t wait to show fans the film. And then said he wanted to see the trailer one more time with the audience. And they played it again.
Phew! That was a biiig recap but it was a very fun panel for fans. You can tell even through the screen that the energy was crazy high in the room. We got out first look at Episode 8, everyone! You can see our trailer post here, our poster post here and our trailer breakdown here.
The Star Wars Show Live tidbits
Again, the show did a great job with filler. John Boyega even stormed the stage and shot off the t-shirt canon! It was good fun. They had more interviews, more toy previews and looks around the convention. They even played the trailer a few more times.
Small Talk with Warwick Davis
In a confusion bit of events, the live stream schedule changed. What was scheduled to be the Making of Rogue One, we instead got Warwick Davis’ own panel. The actor does put on a good show though! He shared little video he had made, using his “Better Questions” cards in order to play them as fans were brought on stage to ask questions. One of the highlights was a video he made when he was making Jedi. He got the trio to appear in it and it was just wonderful to see them all. Another highlight was him trying to take as many selfies as he could in a minute. All good fun.
Heroines of Star Wars
This panel was one I was looking forward to but ultimately ended up being a bit disappointed with. The panel consisted of Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and Tiya Sircar. They talked about how women in Star Wars were becoming more prominent and their importance in the world. They also talked about the upcoming Forces of Destiny animation and toy line. The big surprise was Daisy Ridley made a brief appearance on the panel. The host gave each of the women the toys version of them from the animated shorts. Fans at the panel were then treated to an exclusive look at the series but streaming fans were not included.
Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher
As I’ve stated, Mark Hamill is a brilliant storyteller and this was no exception. He recalled memories of Carrie, even revealing stories such as them making the first movie. He talked about how he was attracted to her as many people were and how she made you feel like you were her best friend because of her laser focus on you. He even talked about how they had made out but it never went anywhere. In addition to all his stories, he got others to share their stories of Carrie including director Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy in video messages. Warwick Davis even came out to share his stories of Carrie when they were filming Return of the Jedi. It was an emotional but beautiful talk about the late and great Carrie and one that should be watched.
You can watch the day’s stream below. Let us know your favorite bit of the day and be sure to come back for Day 3’s recap!
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