Very shortly, fans from all around the world will gather at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 to take in the latest on the most anticipated projects in pop culture. However, those who have a fondness for a certain galaxy far, far away can expect major reveals about a week before Hall H welcomes the likes of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Justice League. Star Wars Celebration 2016 will run from July 15 - 17 in London, and it promises to be a must-see event for moviegoers. It's already been confirmed that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards will have his own panel, and he won't be alone.
Under the new Disney leadership, Lucasfilm is annualizing their mega franchise, with a fresh Star Wars film coming out over the next handful of years. Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII will hit theaters in December 2017, followed swiftly by Phil Lord and Chris Miller's young Han Solo anthology film in May 2018. Viewers eager to learn more information about both projects will want to pay attention to a recently announced presentation that should cap off Celebration 2016 in style.
A posting on the official Star Wars website provided details concerning the 'Future Filmmakers' panel, which will take place on July 17. Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm story group will host, joined on the stage by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm senior vice president of development Kiri Hart, Johnson, Lord, and Miller. There's no telling what will be discussed at this point in time, but "some surprises" are promised, meaning just about anything is possible.
Star Wars 8 details are obviously high on many wish lists for Celebration 2016. While it's unlikely the studio uses the event to debut the first official trailer (they want to keep a majority of the focus on Rogue One), some small teases should be expected. Theoretically, Johnson could share very brief story elements, or perhaps debut a still photo from production (similar to Rogue One at last year's D23). The director is close to wrapping up principal photography, so chances are he will bring something with him to delight the crowd. This would be the ideal venue to announce the movie's official title.
Lord and Miller's presence is a welcomed development. Of all the Star Wars movies on the horizon, Han Solo is the one that's been met with the most skepticism, given that it sees a new actor (Alden Ehrenreich) step in for Harrison Ford, who cemented his legacy in The Force Awakens with his best performance in years. With veteran screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon handling the script, the young Han Solo spinoff has a tremendous roster of talent attached, and Lucasfilm could use this as an opportunity to illustrate why even the naysayers should get excited for this adventure. It would be nice if fans saw a picture of Ehrenreich in costume (or a clip from his audition tape) to help ease the transition. In addition, Ehrenreich's co-stars could be announced at Celebration as the filmmakers set the stage for the future.
Since it's less than six months away (as of this writing), Rogue One will be the hottest ticket at Celebration 2016. A probable second trailer premiere (with the first footage of Darth Vader?) is the one thing everyone will want to talk about. At the same time, it is great that Lucasfilm will shine a spotlight on the other films of their slate, giving viewers more content to enjoy as they impatiently count down the days to each release. This is an unprecedented time for Star Wars fans and there's always something new happening in the galaxy. Whatever Lucasfilm has in store, it should be fun to keep track of it all.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. 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, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.