Writer/director Rian Johnson surprised fans waiting in line Friday waiting for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel Friday at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. This year’s event, which kicked off with a 40th anniversary panel Thursday included George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and a touching tribute to Carrie Fisher, merely set the table for an exciting weekend of big reveals. Perhaps the most anticipated event, though, is The Last Jedi panel, where the long-awaited first trailer for the film is expected to debut.
With The Last Jedi panel being the hottest ticket in town, fans not surprisingly started lining up Thursday night to nab a spot to attend. Johnson made the long wait a lot more than bearable, though, when he turned up with a bullhorn to address a group of excited fans.
You can watch a video that shows Johnson heading out to greet fans waiting in line for The Last Jedi panel, below (via Dustin M. Sandoval’s Twitter account):
Johnson’s move is certainly a cool thing for the filmmaker to do for fans, especially for the Star Wars franchise at the biggest event for the saga this year (with maybe the exception of the release of The Last Jedi itself). Clearly the filmmaker has enough on his mind as he toils with Episode VIII in post-production, so a personal visit with each of the most ardent of fans at Star Wars Celebration is very much a welcome move.
And while fans will have a memory of a lifetime with the very unexpected visit from Johnson, perhaps the one most energized from it will be the writer/director himself; as the enthusiasm serves as a reminder of why he’s such a Star Wars fan and undoubtedly a successful filmmaker, because of it.
Of course, Star Wars Celebration has been a bittersweet occasion, so it also commemorates the loss of Fisher in December. To top off Thursday’s tribute, though, Johnson posted a picture of Fisher on his Twitter and Instagram accounts of the late, great Princess Leia actress Thursday night, where she’s puckering her lips for the camera in the only way Fisher could. It captures the essence of the acerbic Hollywood talent, and gives all the more reason to hope that Johnson’s done right by the late Fisher’s screen performance as General Leia in The Last Jedi.