ORLANDO — The first day of Star Wars Celebration, the franchise's official four-day convention, honored its past. But Friday brings what's next: a panel dedicated to the upcoming next chapter of the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Not much is known about the eighth episode (in theaters Dec. 15), but writer/director Rian Johnson will be on hand as well as "surprise" cast members — Mark Hamill's already made an appearance at Celebration and it wouldn't be a shock to see fellow Force Awakens co-stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Fans are anticipating the first trailer for Last Jedi, which will likely make it's debut at the end of the panel and will hopefully feature a few words from Jedi master Luke Skywalker (since he was silent in his Force Awakens reveal).
Here's a minute-by-minute breakdown (ET) of the panel:
12:00: They debut the trailer twice to the crowd and it's epic: Luke training Rey in the Force, one shot of Leia, the return of pod-racing(?), and Luke's final line: "I know only one truth: It's time for the Jedi to end."
11:54: They show the teaser poster, which has Rey with a lightsaber and Luke and Kylo in the background.
11:45: Mark Hamill comes out to much fanfare. He jokes that he doesn't know if he has any lines in the new film, but more seriously says it's not Luke's story anymore as he meets Rey. "There's still a lot unsaid about where he's been and what he's done," Hamill says. And when it comes to people asking him about Star Wars spoilers on Twitter, "I lie all the time."
11:40: Kelly Marie Tran is introduced as a new character, Rose, who's tied to Finn. She is a maintenance worker for the Resistance and Johnson compares her to Luke as an unlikely hero.
11:35: They show new pics of First Order baddies General Hux, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren. Their destruction of the Republic in Force Awakens has caused chaos in the galaxy. "They're making some big moves. Things are gonna get dire," Johnson said.
11:30: John Boyega arrives to chat about Finn post-Force Awakens: "Finn definitely stood up for himself and caught in an injury to the back. He's recovering.... He's not playing this time."
11:25: Daisy Ridley comes out and talks about Rey in The Last Jedi: "We go deeper into Rey's story. ... Rey has a certain expectation as to what she wants from Luke." Johnson says so much of what people love about Ray - tenacity, humor, depth - "those things are Daisy."
11:19: Carrie Fisher is "remarkable" in the movie, Kennedy says, and her performance "is a tribute to her talent." Adds Johnson: "I connected first and foremost with her as a writer."
11:17: Johnson loved the Irish set and crew at Skellig Michael, Ireland, which is where the Rey and Luke scenes were filmed for the beginning of The Last Jedi. The director also shows behind-the-scenes black-and-white pictures, including Oscar Isaac with a coffee in his X-wing. Crowds cheer at a shot of Ridley with her lightsaber.
11:14: Kennedy gushes about Johnson as a filmmaker: "He writes amazingly fierce and independent women. He also has a great sense of humor."
11:13: Johnson also thanks fans for camping out. "This is the best fan family in the world." He's still editing The Last Jedi "but it's coming along." They show a picture of Johnson signing the Millennium Falcon.11:10: Gad goes back to age 4 with his Star Wars obsession. He brings out Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Johnson. "Can I just call you the dreammaker, Kathy?" Gad asks. "We took a big risk last year doing Rogue One," Kennedy remarks. Thanks fans for all the love.
11:06: We get a reminder of Josh Gad's social-media videos trying to get The Last Jedi intel from his Murder on the Orient Express co-star Daisy Ridley. Gad comes out as host of the festivities: "I warned Daisy we could do this the easy way or the hard way. We're doing it the hard way."11:00: A DJ is spinning techno laced with famous Star Wars quotes and the occasional riffs from Cantina Band to entertain the crowd before the panel starts. The natives aren't getting restless yet.