The Force is Very Strong With Star Wars: The Last Jedi Panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 14: Josh Gad attends the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI PANEL during the 2017 STAR WARS CELEBRATION at Orange County Convention Center on April 14, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Disney)

Day Two of Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 kicked off with Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel. The panel was hosted by Star Wars superfan Josh Gad, who was joined by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Rian Johnson.

The panel began with Rian Johnson sharing about his process filming The Last Jedi. One of the highlights of this was his love of photography coming to life on the set. He was the only person besides the set photographer allowed to have a camera. He brought the camera with him to the event and also… pictures! He shared quite a few pictures from the set and they were beautiful. After the slideshow, Johnson and Gad joked that the newest film would be presented in black and white with Johnson joking that Disney doesn’t know this yet. Johnson and Kennedy also shared what it was like to continue to develop the role of Princess, now General, Leia. Johnson remembered that he really first connected with Carrie Fisher over writing.

Daisy Ridley then was invited to the stage and she was as charming and gracious as ever. Josh Gad got right to the point and continued what has been seen in so many videos: the interrogation of Daisy Ridley. He focused this time on what Rey’s last name was. Is she related to Luke? Is she a Skywalker? Is she a Kenobi? This one got quite the reaction from the crowd. When Ridley wouldn’t respond Gad exclaimed “Are you like the Madonna of Jakku?

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 14: Daisy Ridley, Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy and Josh Gad attend the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI PANEL during the 2017 STAR WARS CELEBRATION at Orange County Convention Center on April 14, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Disney)

“Do you know I actually can tell you some things,” Daisy Ridley finally responded. “In the last Jedi we go deeper into Rey’s Story,” she continued. The conversation continued and Rian Johnson credited Daisy Ridley with so much of what kids and people look up to and admire in Rey. She responded very humbly and graciously.

Following the interview with Ridley, BB-8 was brought to the stage. Once again Josh Gad attempted to find out more about Star Wars: The Last Jedi and connections within the film. Gad finally asked BB-8 who the last Jedi is, clearly making the little droid uncomfortable. BB-8 didn’t give anything away and then rolled off the stage. After he had left Rian Johnson shared, “The best advice I got from JJ’s editors was ‘you can’t have enough BB-8′”

John Boyega came to the stage next with the introduction of “everyone’s favorite former Storm Trooper!” Boyega absolutely loves the fans and also clearly is very enthusiastic about Star Wars. He shares about his character Finn in The Last Jedi saying, “He will be back in The Last Jedi and he’s not playing this time.” He also talked about how “it’s good to be home” in regards to Star Wars after both he and Ridley were apart filming other movies.  Next, the topic of Finn and Poe as friendship came up and it was confirmed that they will continue to be buddies moving forward. It is implied that they have some awesome stuff coming. Finally, The Last Jedi is all a test for the characters in it. This includes Finn who will have to decide if he is going to join the Resistance or continue his path of running away.

Rian Johnson reflected then on the implications of The Force Awakens and what that means for The Last Jedi. The destruction of the Republic’s central government has left a power vacuum in the galaxy and the First Order will be taking advantage of that in this film. It will definitely lead to a very dire situation.

Star Wars is all about unlikely heroes and Johnson introduced the newest one in the galaxy: Kelly Marie Tran. She portrays a new character named Rose who is a mechanic in the Resistance. Her role will be that of the unlikely hero and sounds like it will be very crucial in this upcoming film.

Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill finally arrived on stage. In a both heartfelt and humorous few minutes, Luke shared about Star Wars but not really revealing too much. “Does Luke Skywalker finally get to speak in this film?” was the question Josh Gad started things off with.  “Thanks to short term memory loss, I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast so… I don’t remember,” Mark Hamill joked. The conversation continued on with Hamill sharing how terrified he was to return to the franchise as he worried that lightning wouldn’t strike twice. However, when Johnson shared that he had the same fears Hamill said “that’s a director I can get behind.” And behind him he did get with all of his being. He heaped praise on the director and talked about the filming process saying “If Rian’s happy, I’m happy. I totally turned over my performance to Rian and sort of knew that if he was satisfied we got it right.

The conversation turned to what it was like to return to the character of Luke Skywalker. “To a certain extent, it’s not Luke’s story anymore,” Mark Hamill said. The story is so much bigger than just that one character. He was soon interrupted by Kathleen Kennedy who said, “let me break in there, he is SO significantly important to the next film.

Hamill was then continued on about what it was like returning to the character for The Force Awakens. He trained for the movie. He was ready. He read the script. He got increasingly excited, thinking that when the light saber jiggled in the forrest in the big battle at the end that Luke would hop in and save the day. Then he discovered that he only appeared in the last few seconds of the film and just removes his hood.

The final question for Mark Hamill was to ruminate on 40 years of Star Wars and the fans. “If it weren’t for you people, I wouldn’t be sitting here now. You have been so supportive and you are there for us all the time.” It clearly means a lot to Hamill as he continued to share about how the Star Wars galaxy really does make a difference. He met a kid with tuberculosis he said that the little boy exclaimed, “I knew I would be ok because Luke lost his hand.

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 14: Mark Hamill, Kelly Marie Tran, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy and Josh Gad attend the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI PANEL during the 2017 STAR WARS CELEBRATION at Orange County Convention Center on April 14, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Disney)

Rian Johnson then returned to center stage and announced that he had something for the fans in attendance. The whole crowd went crazy, expecting a teaser trailer. Then it was announced that they were going to all get a teaser poster and the poster was revealed. While the crowd cheered, the disappointment was palpable. Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson both reassured the fans that there was more! Then the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was played for the first time for both fans and the cast. After it was played Rian Johnson got back up on stage and shared how excited he was to share more about this movie and the movie itself. The panel ended with the teaser being played one more time.

The Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel will very possibly be one of the highlights of Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 for many. It will set off months of speculation and analysis of this trailer and movie. The race to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now kicking into high gear. Expect to see a lot more coming out about this film in the coming months. Hopefully there won’t be too much. There will still be undoubtedly be new trailers, posters, interviews, and even theme park experiences at the Disney Parks coming before the film arrives in December.

What did you think of this new trailer and the Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel?

Visit DAPs Magic regularly for more updates about Star Wars and Star Wars Celebration! Take a moment to subscribe in the right column as well to never miss any Disney or Star Wars news!