Thirty-nine years ago today (May 25, 2016), a little film called Star Wars was released in theaters. Though few could have predicted the impact it would have on popular culture, George Lucas' tale of a civil war in a galaxy far, far away captured the zeitgeist in a way few movies ever have, launching a massive multimedia franchise that's still thriving to this day. A multitude of films, TV shows, novels, comics, video games, and merchandise illustrate that Star Wars is one of the most powerful brands in the industry, which is why Disney shelled out $4 billion (a bargain when you really think about it) for Lucasfilm in 2012.
Star Wars is a franchise that has touched so many people, and Lucasfilm is well aware that the viewers are what made the property what it is today. That's why they've put together several Star Wars Celebration events over the years (the first being in 1999), as a means of allowing the fan community to come together and, well, celebrate their love for all things Star Wars. This year, Celebration will be held in London in July, and includes a panel featuring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. To generate excitement for the convention, Lucasfilm has unveiled a special poster.
Making its debut during this week's episode of The Star Wars Show (watch it above), the one-sheet features characters from both the sequel trilogy and this December's Rogue One. Check it out below:
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens players such as Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Luke Skywalker prominently placed at the top, it's safe to assume that next year's Star Wars: Episode VIII will have some sort of presence at the event. Star Mark Hamill is one of the confirmed guests, and while he'll obviously be mum on spoilers, it wouldn't be surprising if he brought information about the highly anticipated sequel with him. Celebration would be an ideal venue to announce the film's official subtitle, or to share a still from production. The prospect of learning more about Star Wars 8 is certainly exciting, but fans should expect any reveals to be brief. Right now, the primary focus will be on Rogue One, and Lucasfilm won't want to overshadow the first Anthology movie.
Speaking of Rogue One, this poster provides moviegoers with a great look at some of the new stormtroopers that will be featured in the spinoff. The ones decked out in all black armor are called Death Troopers, and the other wearing a brownish uniform (designed similarly to the Scout Troopers of Return of the Jedi) is referred to as a Shoretrooper. That classification makes it sound like those soldiers are used primarily for beachfront conflicts, and the Rogue One teaser confirmed there will be at least one. In addition, the Imperial walkers from the trailer are spotlighted, and they're actually different vehicles from those seen in The Empire Strikes Back. The Rogue One walkers are called All Terrain Armored Cargo Transports (AT-ACT), as opposed to just an AT-AT.
Last year's Celebration was a very memorable occasion, but 2016's has the potential to be even more special. With one Star Wars film in post-production and another undergoing principal photography, the event could be a cornucopia of details about the upcoming projects. As Edwards and Kennedy kick of the festivities on July 15, many are expecting a new Rogue One trailer to be part of their presentation. Seeing more of new faces like Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) would be a treat, but ideally the preview would provide some confirmation on Darth Vader's (absent from the poster) long rumored role in Rogue One. Celebration attendees got "Chewie, we're home" in 2015. Could this year provide the Dark Side version of that?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.