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Star Wars Celebration: What we learned


Star Wars Celebration hit Orlando last week, celebrating 40 years of the the biggest sci-fi franchise of all. A four-day extravaganza, it’s become an annual venue for exciting Star Wars news, and this year was no exception. But while it was the Last Jedi trailer that stole all the headlines, that wasn’t the only thing we learned…

The name of the Rose

The biggest surprise of the Last Jedi panel was the inclusion of Asian actress Kelly Marie Tran, who’ll be playing a new character, Rose. Afterwards, she told E Online how her casting was so top secret she wasn’t even allowed to tell her parents! "I lied to them and said I was doing an indie movie in Canada. I bought them maple syrup," the actress said. "I went all in!"

Carrie Fisher won’t appear in Episode IX

Despite reports a few weeks ago, mainly from her brother Todd, that Carrie Fisher WOULD, with the aid of unused Force Awakens and Last Jedi footage, appear in Episode IX (due in 2019), it transpires that’s sadly not the case.

“[Todd] was probably confused,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, “because we finished everything in VIII, and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie. We’re so happy that we were able to complete shooting in the summer. Unfortunately, Carrie passed away, so by the time we were well underway with Episode IX - in our thoughts, we had not written the script yet - we regrouped, we started over again in January, so sadly Carrie will not be in IX.”

Mark Hamill’s Carrie Fisher tribute

"Here's a panel I hoped we wouldn't have for another 30 years," said Mark Hamill beginning his moving tribute to his on-screen sister, Carrie Fisher. "She should be here. She made every Celebration more fun. She deserved to be here. Wait till you see her in The Last Jedi, you're going to love her."

Through 50, often teary, minutes, Hamill told stories about Fisher, who died last December, from his personal and professional life and played video tributes from Star Wars creator George Lucas and as well as Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy.

Watch Lucasfilm's tribute to Carrie Fisher in the video below.

The new poster

Apart from the new trailer, Celebration also unveiled the first poster for The Last Jedi, a cool and simple one-sheet featuring the faces of Luke and Rey.

Star Wars is definitely coming to Disney World

It’d been been announced before that Orlando’s Disney World would be opening a Star Wars experience, but it was at Celebration that details finally began to flow. Construction is already underway, and it’s on course for a 2019 opening.

‘Immersion’ is the key word, apparently, as the goal is to make park guests really feel as if they have walked into the world of Star Wars. They’ll be able to control the Millennium Falcon, for example, while running into familiar characters and sampling blue milk. Don’t go expecting to wander around the Mos Eisley cantina or stroll through the swamps of Dagobah however. The theme park experience won’t be set in any locations from the movies. Rather, it will be an all-new locale. 

“This project is the most ambitious project I’ve ever seen in the history of Walt Disney Imagineering,” Chris Beatty, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering said at the convention. “It is on a scale that’s unprecedented.”

No Lando

With Lando Calrissian actor Billy Dee Williams appearing at the convention, hopes were high that there would be some confirmation about his turning up in The Last Jedi. Sadly, Williams shot down the rumours, confirming that he hadn’t been asked to return. But for all those Lando fans out there, the character WILL be returning, this time played by Donald Glover, in 2018’s Han Solo spin-off film.