There has been a lot to look forward to at Star Wars Celebration this year, with this being the 40th Anniversary of the greatest pop culture achievement of all time. But the moment of truth came this morning with the long awaited panel for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Here is a recap of the first glimpse in case you missed it.
The show opened with a fun “man on street” style video with Josh Gad questioning Daisy Ridley in her trailer on the set of their upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express. Peppering her with every question we want answered from, “How many Jedi are there?” to “What is Rey’s Last Name?” The exchange included incredible cameos from the likes of Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz Trying to find out as much as they could about the upcoming installment, echoing the sentiments of fans everywhere.
After the opening, Josh Gad took to the stage as moderator of the panel that we have been waiting for since Rey handed the light saber to Luke. He proceeded to introduce the primary players and ask them the questions that we have been dying to have answered. Even though he got little clarification, as expected, the cast and crew did provide some tantalizing insights into the most anticipated film of 2017.
Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson
The mastermind producer and director of the next installment were the first to join Gad onstage. They spent most of their time praising one another but the most poignant and perhaps telling moment was when Kennedy said of Johnson, “He writes amazingly fierce and independent women.” From the words and tone of this statement, we can certainly surmise that we can expect the full development of the Rey’s character and potentially more female characters (which we would be introduced to later).
Johnson also shared that as a director he carries a camera strapped to his arm to capture any special moments on set on al of his movies, and The Last Jedi was no exception. The images were amazing black and white shots of everyone, but we may have gotten an answer to a much speculated question. At least two of his photographs were of John Boyega’s Finn on set and he was standing in each of them. Possibly putting to rest the theory that Finn will be paralyzed from the waist down after his battle with Kylo Ren.
Rey herself was the next to join the panel and was greeted to the largest ovation except for maybe her mentor later on. Ridley was her usually modest self and genuinely seemed to enjoy and appreciate her adulation. After being hit with many of the same questions by Gad that he had presented in the opening video, she was expectedly cryptic. However she did say in respect to her relationship with Luke Skywalker “Meeting your hero might not be what you expect”.
The panel introductions kept moving quickly as our favorite Imperial turncoat entered the stage wearing a white jacket and black armband. John Boyega shed some light on his character Finn in the upcoming installment by saying, “(Finn) is not playing this time!” He said that his relationship with Poe, would continue to grow, but that Finn is also still struggling with whether he is a part of the resistance or if he is still running from the First Order.
Kelly Marie Tran
Who? Perhaps the biggest revelation at the panel was the introduction of the newest character to the Star Wars universe: Rose. Rian Johnson was effusive in his praise for the actress and giddy with excitement of the addition her character to the storyline. Rose is described as a maintenance worker for the resistance and is pulled in a “big way” into an adventure with Finn. Is Rose the next in line of a series of unlikely heroes/heroines in the Star Wars universe? It would appear so.
Last to join the panel was Luke Skywalker himself, to fanfare that was equal to Ridley. Dressed in all black (was this a not so subtle hint?) Hamill reflected on his memories and his place in the Star Wars universe by stating, “It’s not Luke’s story any more”. Although Kathleen Kennedy was quick to interject that Luke is supremely significant to the story the next two films.
Hamill may have left us with his best misdirect or clue early on in his segment. As he was heaping praise upon his panelists he referred to Kennedy as “Wonder Woman”, then Johnson as “God”, and then Ridley as “his daught. . . my colleague”. We will all wait until December to find out real truth.
As the panel discussion winded down, Rian Johnson treated us with the reveal of the teaser poster (which is amazing) and he tried to leave it at that. As great as the poster was, no one was leaving without a glimpse of the first teaser trailer. Understanding the room and the temperature of the worldwide audience, we were treated to our first glimpse of The Last Jedi. For the full scoop on the teaser trailer check out Todd’s awesome breakdown. Let the next seven months of speculation begin.