Another Star Wars Celebration has just wrapped up, and it's safe to say the general consensus is one of widespread approval. Whereas last year's convention was seen as a disappointment due to a lack of major announcements and reveals, Lucasfilm more than made up for it this year. Getting the festivities started with a rousing panel commemorating the franchise's 40th anniversary, the event's four days were packed to the brim with excitement from all corners of the galaxy far, far away. Whether one prefers the films, TV shows, books, or even video games - there was something for everyone in attendance and watching from home.
It seemed like there was a big news story breaking every hour over the course of the weekend, making things a bit overwhelming for Star Wars fans as they tried to keep up with everything that was happening. Now that the dust has settled and people have had a while to take it all in, we've compiled the following list of the biggest reveals from Star Wars Celebration 2017 all in one place.
No Carrie Fisher In Episode 9
Moviegoers continue to mourn the tragic death of Carrie Fisher (watch Celebration's moving tribute to the icon), and as tough as it may be for Lucasfilm, they have to make some decisions about General Leia Organa's future in the sequel trilogy. The character is set to return in a large role in The Last Jedi, but there have been many questions about how she will be handled in Colin Trevorrow's Episode IX. Recent reports indicated the studio would repurpose unused footage of Fisher from Episode VII and Episode VIII so the late actress could appear once more, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy debunked that at Celebration, saying Fisher won't be in the film.
Following Lucasfilm's confirmation that they will not use CGI to recreate Fisher's likeness, this marks the second option they've publicly crossed off the list, limiting what they can ultimately do in Star Wars 9. Recasting the role is always a possibility, but after emotions ran high during Celebration with a touching video montage and heartfelt remembrances from Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd, and Kennedy, that would be an extremely tough sell to the fan base. Nothing official has been said yet, but it's becoming more likely The Last Jedi is the final time Leia will be on-screen. Perhaps elevating Lourd's Lieutenant Connix character from supporting figure to main player in the finale would be the "right" way to go.
Billy Dee Williams Isn't In The Last Jedi
For some Star Wars aficionados, Lando Calrissian is as important to the original trilogy as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. That made his complete absence from The Force Awakens somewhat puzzling, even if there may not have been a natural place to fit him in the story. Viewers remained hopeful that the old smoothie would return in some capacity during the sequel trilogy, but if Billy Dee Williams is to be believed, Episode VIII is also going to be devoid of Lando, meaning the odds of him factoring in at all in this new narrative are low.
During his Smooth Talkin' With Billy Dee Williams panel, the actor mentioned that he does not have a cameo in The Last Jedi. It's true that he could be playing coy in order to preserve a surprise for the audience, but if he was in the film, chances are it would have been public knowledge by now. When it comes to Star Wars, even the smallest parts are the subject of headlines, so someone like Williams would not have been able to keep his role a secret for long. Since viewers won't get to see Lando, fingers are crossed he'll at least be mentioned in a line of dialogue so fans know what became of the scoundrel. If nothing else, Donald Glover will play a young Calrissian next year in the Han Solo spinoff.
Lucasfilm Has More Spinoff Confidence
Rogue One was about as risky as a Star Wars movie could be, taking place outside the main Skywalker saga and serving as a direct prequel to A New Hope. For all the concerns going in, it was very much a success for Lucasfilm, as it earned widely positive reviews and grossed $1 billion at the box office. Since there's a chance Episode IX closes out the main storyline for good, the studio needed Rogue One to be a massive hit so they could move forward with their plan of making a new Star Wars movie each year. Spinoffs present numerous opportunities to tell different stories and explore other genres, so the first one out of the gate had a lot of pressure on it.
Kennedy mentioned at the 40th anniversary panel that the reception to Rogue One gave Lucasfilm more confidence when it comes to pursuing other anthology projects, and there should be plenty more of those films in the future. Young Han Solo is on deck for next year, and the 2020 spinoff could be announced by this summer. Since Disney knows there's an audience for these kinds of movies, they'll be inspired to keep mining the galaxy far, far away for numerous possibilities, potentially giving everyone from Obi-Wan Kenobi to a background alien the chance at the spotlight.
The Luke Skywalker/Rey Dynamic
Ever since the young Jakku scavenger climbed up the Jedi Steps on Ahch-To and met a grizzled and worldweary Luke Skywalker, fans have been foaming at the mouth to see how their relationship will unfold. A number of details on that matter were shared at Celebration, including the notion that Rey's expectations of what Luke can offer (after hearing stories and myths of his exploits) do not necessarily match the reality of what will happen. Skywalker is very much a broken man after his harrowing experiences that include his nephew destroying a new generation of Jedi apprentices and turning to the Dark Side, and his mentality is quite different from what we saw in Return of the Jedi.
Daisy Ridley revealed one of the more interesting tidbits when she said that Luke doesn't even know who Rey is when they first meet. That statement would seem to disprove the popular "Rey Skywalker" fan theory that proposed Rey was Luke's estranged daughter. There's enough circumstantial evidence to support both sides of that argument, but Ridley saying this could close the book on it (unless she's intentionally misdirecting the audience, which is possible). Time will tell what Rey's heritage truly is, but in the meantime, it sounds like Skywalker is an entirely new person who feels the Jedi Order should end. Kennedy teased he's very important to the story, so fans of his should be in for a treat.
Kelly Marie Tran's Rose
Hamill, Ridley, and John Boyega were among those who represented the Last Jedi cast at the film's panel, and they were joined by one of the franchise's fresh faces. Introduced by Rian Johnson as the newcomer with the largest role, relative unknown Kelly Marie Tran took her first steps into a larger world to discuss her character at the convention. The actress revealed she's playing Rose, a person who works in maintenance for the Resistance. Tran mentioned "she's not looking to be a hero," but in typical Star Wars fashion gets pulled into "a big adventure with Finn." The first image of Rose was also shared.
It will be interesting to see how this all comes together, since Boyega teased the touching bromance between Finn and Poe Dameron "continues to blossom" in Episode VIII. Perhaps all three are embarking on the same mission, which would be nice to see. Finn and Poe became fast friends, but their limited screen time together was seen as one of Episode VII's biggest shortcomings. Many are hoping to see more of the dynamic duo fighting against the First Order, so ideally Johnson found a way to handle this subplot without separating the main group. As a whole, Poe drew the short straw among the new characters in Force Awakens, but he should have more to do this time around.
The Last Jedi Poster
Before unveiling the long-awaited first trailer for his upcoming film, Johnson had a little fun with the crowd by sharing a teaser... poster. The director's bait-and-switch sucked the air out of the room for a brief second - until the one-sheet was showcased on the screen. Star Wars is known for some beautiful promotional artwork, and the Last Jedi teaser poster could rank among the best ones. In an era where movie posters are Photoshopped to within an inch of their life (cramming the faces of every main character on there), it was nice to see one that was so simple and elegant in its design, underscoring the main themes of Episode VIII.
If there was any doubt, the poster made clear that the focus was going to be on the trio of Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren (which makes sense considering the events of The Force Awakens). The split image of Skywalker and Kylo's faces represent the dichotomy of the Force, and Rey is at the center of it all, reaching out and fighting for the Light. In all likelihood, the sequel trilogy's protagonist will be faced with the same challenges and decisions Luke once was, meaning she could be torn as she looks for the right path to follow. The lightsaber blade, after all, starts off as blue and slowly bleeds into red. Her training may not be a smooth ride.
Journey to The Last Jedi Books
As many fans know by now, just about every piece of Star Wars media is part of the same connected canon, meaning Marvel comics are tied to the films, and an event from Rebels could be mentioned in a novel. This initiative received a major push back in 2015 when the "Journey to The Force Awakens" publications were released, with all reading levels represented. This wave of books brought us Claudia Gray's acclaimed Lost Stars and the beginning of the Aftermath trilogy, so there was plenty for the die-hards to take in as they looked for a fix while they waited for the new movie. It's no surprise Lucasfilm is at it again ahead of Episode VIII.
So far, four titles have been announced as part of this line. Captain Phasma, who was severely underused in The Force Awakens, will be the subject of her own comic line as well as a full novel by Delilah S. Dawson to help flesh the character out. Additionally, there's a young reader novel called The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu and a young adult novel titled Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Gray. The author brilliantly wrote the Leia-centric Bloodline last year, so many are excited to see her take on a younger version of the character in the original trilogy era. All of these are sure to be of interest for fans, since they should contain some captivating details.
New Hasbro Toys
It's no secret that Star Wars is a merchandising juggernaut, and Lucasfilm has turned the unveiling of new products into a national holiday. Force Friday is when all the tie-in materials hit store shelves, selling like hotcakes as fans add to their collections. Hasbro is one of the leading licensing partners with the studio, making a bevy of action figures for a variety of characters. They used Celebration to unveil some of their latest additions to the favorite Black Series line, and it's safe to say there will be much interest in purchasing these when they become available.
Among the new arrivals is Grand Admiral Thrawn, which will be a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive this year, and Fan Figure Vote winner Jaina Solo (Han and Leia's daughter from Legends). The previously unveiled Luke Skywalker with landspeeder will be at SDCC as well, with Tarkin, Clone Commander Gree, and an Inferno Squadron Pilot joining the ranks too. The last two will be retailer exclusives, sold only at Toys 'R' Us and GameStop locations, respectively.
Rebels Is Ending
Ever since it premiered a few years ago, Star Wars Rebels has been a worthy successor to The Clone Wars in the realm of Star Wars animation. Filling in the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy, the show has depicted the rise of the Rebellion and introduced a bevy of new characters for fans to enjoy as they tune in each week. Through three seasons, it's more than earned its place in the canon and will always be remembered as the place Legends fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn "officially" became part of the franchise. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end eventually.
During the Rebels panel, it was announced that the upcoming fourth season (which debuts this fall) will in fact be the last one. From a story perspective, this makes a lot of sense, since the Rebels timeline is inching closer and closer to the films. There are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before the series concludes (for starters, the Jedi still running around), and going off of Filoni's history, he won't disappoint. The Rebels team has constantly delivered entertaining and compelling stories, especially when it comes to season finales. What's more is the fourth season will be shorter than the others, running just 15 episodes. Each one is going to have to count.
Speaking of Rebels, one of the lingering questions left over from season two is the fate of Ahsoka Tano, former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker. The character has evolved into a fan-favorite since her introduction in Clone Wars, and after her emotional duel with Darth Vader was over, many were left wondering what happened to her. Fortunately, Ahsoka lives according to Filoni, although her current whereabouts are unknown to everyone except him (that includes the Rebels crew).
It's nice to know that Ahsoka should be returning in Rebels season four, and her role will be one of the most anticipated aspects of the forthcoming episodes. How she factors into the narrative remains to be seen, but she'll likely be aiding Ezra, Kanan, and the rest of the Rebels when she returns to the fold. Filoni has expressed interest in helming a spinoff film, so perhaps Rebels could plant the seeds for an Ahsoka movie. By now, the story group should be trusted to end the series as they see fit, but hopefully that doesn't mean everyone has to die. After all, Hera and Chopper live to see Rogue One.
Warwick Davis' Rebels Role
Warwick Davis has been a part of Star Wars since he was a wide-eyed 11-year old kid playing Wicket in Return of the Jedi. Since then, he's appeared in a handful of roles in the galaxy far, far away, and now he's set to make the jump to the small screen. Davis is going to voice Rukh, assassin and bodyguard for Grand Admiral Thrawn. This marks the second instance of Rebels pulling a character from the Legends pages, and bringing Rukh to the show presents a rather intriguing direction to go if the creative team sticks to the original novels.
For those not in the know, Rukh starts off as someone loyal to the Empire, believing the Imperials saved him during the devastation of his home planet Honoghr. However, Rukh learns later on that the Empire was actually responsible for the carnage, and kills Thrawn in retaliation. Unless Benicio del Toro is playing a live-action Thrawn in The Last Jedi, the Grand Admiral may have to meet his bitter end in Rebels. If he survives, there will surely be questions about his absence from the original trilogy, and the last thing Lucasfilm wants to do is retroactively create plot holes. Filoni could be planting the seeds for Thrawn's demise.
Other Rebels Season 4 Details
There was plenty of information to be gleaned from during the Rebels panel, such as updates on all the main characters and where they find themselves as the new season begins. Hera is "more focused" so the Alliance doesn't suffer another great loss like they did at the end of season three; Zeb is making the transition from muscle-head to responsible citizen; Sabine is trying to find her place on Mandalore; Kanan knows the good guys don't always win, and Ezra has to decide what kind of person he's going to be. Even Chopper is going to get a chance to display some heart. Fans are also looking forward to Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera returning - possibly seeing their fallout alluded to in Rogue One.
Season four also aims to "bridge the gap" leading up to Rogue One, so the new episodes will most likely detail the Rebels slowly but surely becoming the group seen in the original trilogy. They're going to establish their base on Yavin, for starters, meaning the pieces are going to fall into place. Since this is the end, Filoni has to set the table so everything makes sense by the time the show wraps up.
A New Animated Series Is Coming
Just because Rebels will be finished soon doesn't mean Star Wars is leaving television in the near future. Without question, there will be a new series to take the place of Rebels at some point, though Lucasfilm isn't ready to announce what that could be just yet. Filoni was recently promoted to a larger overarching position within the department, where he could oversee all future animation development, instead of merely being a supervising director on Rebels. The studio obviously has big plans for TV and wanted to lock George Lucas' Padawan down so he could keep an eye on everything.
The question now will turn to what this show will cover. An obvious answer is the 30 years between Episode VI and Episode VII, since there are decades worth of stories in that time period. With Luke Skywalker set to have a larger role in The Last Jedi, it would also be intriguing to see an animated series revolve around his post-Return of the Jedi exploits, possibly detailing his training of Ben Solo. Whatever the case is, there will surely be plenty of interest in what Filoni and his team have up their sleeves.
Star Wars: Battlefront II Details
As fun as it is to play out the battles of Star Wars in your living room, the general consensus was that 2015's Star Wars: Battlefront video game was a missed opportunity. Gamers were disappointed by the lack of a single player campaign mode and the season pass subscription to access DLC (among other shortcomings). EA admitted that the first Battlefront was rushed so it could be released in conjunction with The Force Awakens, so several hoped that with more time to develop (and feedback in mind), the sequel could be a marked improvement over the predecessor.
By all accounts, Battlefront II is going to be what the first one should have been. The single player Inferno Squadron story will be part of the franchise canon, helping fill in the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren will be playable characters in this mode, so there's potential for some meaty revelations here. Battlefront II will also feature content from all three eras of Star Wars films, a revamped multi-player mode, and space battles. The original Battlefront was set exclusively in the original trilogy era, so this more expansive collection of settings and heroes will make Battlefront II a highly-coveted item this holiday shopping season. Many will be pleased that there's no season pass this time around, so gamers are getting a full game out of the box.
Battlefront II Trailer
The Battlefront II panel also included the debut of a full-length trailer for the game, offering fans a taste of what to expect when November rolls around. Its first half centers on the aforementioned Inferno Squadron campaign, which picks up moments after the Battle of Endor. The surviving members of the Empire pledge to avenge the death of Palpatine by crushing the Rebel Alliance with one swift stroke, and players are thrust into a fight for the galaxy. The rest of the preview offered glimpses at the rest of the game, highlighting the various features and playable characters.
A Battlefront game receiving an excellent trailer isn't anything new, but there was still plenty to be excited about. It looks like EA took whatever complaints gamers had about the first one and did all they could to fix them. Star Wars fanatics who aren't into gaming may even be so inclined to pick up a system so they can test out the sequel for themselves, especially since it looks to deliver a worthwhile and well-rounded experience.
Rebels Season 4 Trailer
Obviously, video games weren't the only area of Star Wars to get a trailer at Celebration. Lucasfilm released the first trailer for the new season of Rebels, which promises to be an explosive finale to the series. Opening with Hera reflecting on the individual members of her team and how they all came together to fight for justice, the trailer offers looks at all the action and character moments viewers have come to expect from the Disney XD hit. Kallus is now firmly part of the Rebellion, Hera is rising through the ranks, and Kanan and Ezra need to be the last line of defense for Lothal. It was a teaser, but there was still a lot to take in.
From the beginning, Rebels had a limited shelf life, and it's bittersweet to see the show wrap up now after a pair of well-received seasons that added much to the lore. Still, Rebels is poised to go off on a high note, and if Filoni and crew determined four season were all they needed to wrap things up, they shouldn't run the risk of overstaying their welcome. It's better to ride off into the sunset at your peak than spread the narrative thin to fill out more episodes.
The Last Jedi Trailer
The most highly-anticipated reveal from Celebration was arguably the first trailer for The Last Jedi, and it sent fans into a frenzy. Showing off Rian Johnson's impressive visual style and the film's darker tone, the preview only scratched the surface of what's in store this December, but still excited many. Between finally hearing Luke Skywalker speak in the sequels to various action shots that suggest not all will be good for the Resistance, there was a lot to take in, and people are still dissecting every frame, looking for possible clues to support their theories.
Plenty of jokes have been made about how the Episode VIII trailer copies and pastes the formula used by the one for The Force Awakens, and some genius minds even spotted parallels to Man of Steel marketing, but that doesn't take away from the effectiveness of the teaser. After going so long with nothing about the movie, it was great to be treated to a two-minute trailer that actually confirmed some earlier rumors and painted a very intriguing picture. Luke wants the Jedi to end, and audiences can't wait to watch it all unfold.
It was an action-packed four days for Star Wars fans with all sorts of things to take in. There arguably has never been a better time to follow the franchise, since it had a presence in just about anything one can think of. The craziest thing is that Celebration mainly focused on the present and immediate future, not looking too far into Lucasfilm's crystal ball. With content conceivably planned out through the 2030s, who knows what will happen when the convention returns in 2019.
As always, our list is not meant to be all-inclusive. These are just some of the biggest reveals from Celebration 2017. There were plenty of other moments that made headlines, so be sure to check out our Star Wars pages to stay up to date!
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018