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Star Wars Celebration 2017: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Panel
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie image

It’s day two of Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, and as you can guess, they saved one of the biggest, most anticipated panels for this day. Of course, everyone who attended the Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel was eager to see the first trailer for the film, and boy does it live up to our expectations. But this wasn’t just a panel for the trailer. There were a couple of things that were said that give us a clue as to what the upcoming sequel will be about and how the events could change Star Wars as we know it. Check it all out below.

Josh Gad served as the emcee of today’s panel where he expressed his excitement for the new film and proved just how much of a fan he was by posting photos of himself and a friend getting ready for a Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Original Trilogy marathon. He then welcomed Lucasfilm’s president Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson to the stage.

When asked why Rian was chosen to direct The Last Jedi, Kennedy said: “Rian is on his way to being one of the great filmmakers I have worked with. He has an amazing uniqueness to what he does. He also writes as beautifully directs. He writes fierce and independent women.” She complimented his sense of humor and said that all of his qualities is what makes a Star Wars film.

Humbled, Johnson spoke about shooting at the legendary Pinewood studios, which he likened to Camelot. “There’s a magical experience shooting at Pinewood,” said Johnson. Many films were shot there from the James Bond films to Guardians of the Galaxy and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But it was shooting in Ireland that was one of the most incredible experiences for him. He jokingly apologized for any Star Wars inconvenience he gave the locals. But he captured a lot of memories of the shoot using an old-fashioned film reel camera. Photos of Poe, Finn, and Leia in a war room, Poe drinking coffee in an X-Wing cockpit, and even and aftermath of a battle could be seen.

The panel followed after yesterday’s 40th Anniversary panel, which included a moving tribute to Carrie Fisher. While The Last Jedi will be the last film she shot, her significant role will not diminish. “Carrie is incredible in the movie,” said Kennedy. “I love her so much, man. I adore her. I connect to her as a writer,” Johnson added. He recalled scribbling down their discussions together as it helped inspire her role as Leia in The Last Jedi.

Daisy Ridley (Rey) was then introduced. A photo of her in what looks like the last shot of The Force Awakens is then posted for everyone to see. But she isn’t carrying Luke’s lightsaber. Instead, we see her wielding her scavenger staff. On her relationship with Luke, Daisy had this to say: “It’s difficult when you meet your heroes. It’s not always quite what you expect.”

Then John Boyega (Finn) walked on stage. He said it feels crazy to think that The Force Awakens is so far behind us and that The Last Jedi is still so far away. While Oscar Isaac (Poe) couldn’t be there, Boyega said his relationship with Poe will blossom. He added that “The Last Jedi is a test for all the characters, specifically Finn who is trying to find his place. Is he going to be a part of the resistance or is he going to keep running away from the First Order?”

Kelly Marie Tran was then introduced on stage. While she couldn’t say much about her character, Tran said she will play Rose, a maintenance worker who is part of the Resistance. She’s excited to be a part of something that is so loved.

Mark Hamill said he enjoyed the prequels and Rogue One because he was not in them. But he admitted to Rian Johnson that he was terrified to return to the franchise as Luke Skywalker. To which Johnson told him, he was too. The actor said Johnson’s films are so diverse and ambitious and that he is one of his all-time favorite directors. He called Johnson his seeing-eye dog. Finding Luke’s voice, he says, we should fill in our own backstory to figure out what Luke has being doing all this time.

Kathleen Kennedy chimed in saying Luke is significantly important to the future.

Hamill said when he first read the script he was excited by the first lines. But the only thing that made him nervous was that it ended on a cliffhanger, literally and metaphorically. He said they should have written, “To Be Continued on his forehead.”

Hamill said it’s the fans that make it all the worthwhile and puts things in perspective. From those who met their significant others in line for a Star Wars movie to going to the hospital, he says it’s a gift to be a part of this and he doesn’t take it for granted.

We’ll have much more Star Wars Celebration coverage as the event goes on.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.

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