After months of secrecy and a veritable drought of substantive Star Wars information, Star Wars Celebration quickly became about one thing: The Last Jedi trailer. The arrival of the highly anticipated teaser was all but confirmed to be taking place at the weekend’s The Last Jedi panel, and fans waiting impatiently for the moment certainly weren’t disappointed today. But first, the panel.
In an inspired hosting decision, Josh Gad took the stage after a montage of his viral interrogations of Daisy Ridley on the set of Murder on the Orient Express graced the screen, and in due time, director Rian Johnson and our Star Wars authority Kathleen Kennedy took the stage to chat about the behind-the-scenes details of the film. Shortly after, Daisy Ridley arrived to thunderous applause, as did everyone’s favorite Stormtrooper John Boyega and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The panel was surprisingly light on big surprises or special guests, but fans who were willing to wait in the lengthy lines were rewarded handsomely in the form of a gorgeous new trailer (which I’m sure you’ve already watched multiple times; click here for the full breakdown) and a brilliantly designed classically styled poster that teases the intersection of Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren. Here’s everything we learned at the Star Wars Celebration The Last Jedi panel:
- Presumably, nothing has changed between Ridley and Gad, as he wasted no time in grilling the star about the events of The Last Jedi – particularly pestering her with questions about her last name. “Rey Skywalker? Rey Kenobi?” When Ridley insisted that it was “just Rey,” Gad quipped – “Who are you, the Madonna of Jakku?”
- Johnson took the stage to reveal some tantalizing behind-the-scenes images, teasing C3PO’s return, Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma, and perhaps most excitingly, Kylo Ren – with what looks to be newly yellow Sith eyes.
- Another behind the scenes photo showed Rey with her lightsaber, though the color remained a secret thanks to Johnson’s predilection for black and white film. (That is, until the arrival of the poster, which showed her saber running on a gradient from blue to red. Bad news?)
- Johnson also revealed that he took his handy-dandy black and white Leica camera with him everywhere he went on set, taking over 1,000 pictures in the process. Coffee table book, anyone?
- Though tight-lipped around Gad, Ridley did drop a few interesting plot-based morsels, including shedding a small amount of light on Rey’s relationship with Luke in The Last Jedi, stating that it’s a relationship of great importance, but that it’s deeply fraught. And where Rey has certain expectations of the semi-mythic Skywalker, she must face an entirely new reality in the process of getting to know him. “It’s difficult to meet your heroes, because they might not be what you expect,” she said.
- Before Boyega joined his costar on stage, Johnson brought out the lovable BB-8, and promised that the droid would play a large role in the proceedings of The Last Jedi. “The best advice I got from JJ [Abrams’] editors was ‘You can’t have enough BB-8… he’s the Buster Keaton of this film.”
- Once Boyega joined the stage, questions about Finn began flying – as his fate (even as teased in the trailer) remains unclear. Boyega cleared up any concern that Finn would have less of a pivotal role in The Last Jedi, saying that he’s very much “back.” However, Finn’s hit to the back will factor in to his character’s arc as he works through his own recovery. And from the sounds of it, his injury is just the beginning of his problems: “The Last Jedi is a test for all of the characters, but especially Finn.”
- The relatively unknown Kelly Marie Tran joined the stage as Johnson unveiled the new character she’ll be bringing to life. Tran plays Rose, a maintenance worker who’s part of the Resistance, and a character Johnson says he’s very excited about. “She’s really rad,” he said. We were shown an image of Rose, who sports a jumpsuit and practical hair, but were spared any specific details about her background. Suffice it to say, the entire cast seemed enamored of her.
- Johnson stepped in to give a small hints of Rose’s arc in the film, saying that she’s not a soldier or looking to be a hero, but gets pulled Into the adventure “in a big way” with Finn.
- In terms of what exactly we can expect from the plot, Johnson gave an intriguing and surprisingly substantive quote to the fans. “They did manage to take out the seat of power, and that has thrown the galaxy into chaos, and The First Order is going to jump on that.They’ll be making big moves at the start of the film.”