SWCO | ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Panel Report

Josh Gad welcomes the stars of 'The Last Jedi' to Star Wars Celebration Orlando, and Rian Johnson sends everyone home with the first trailer!

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Today at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Lucasfilm finally unveiled the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But instead of making you wait until the end of the write up, we’re giving it to you now! This is after all, what we’ve all wanted to see for months. Rogue One could have gotten at least a $100 million more if it had been re-released with this trailer! So far, it looks very good…and the last lines of the trailer are very ominous about the fate of the titular “Last Jedi.”

Remember all of those videos of Josh Gad and various other celebrities pestering Daisy Ridley with questions about Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Well, apparently it was all leading to this. On Friday morning, Gad was introduced as the host of the much-anticipated panel for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He jokingly claimed to be escalating his quest for answers about the movie, and noted that he watched the original trilogy on video tape and went to see The Phantom Menace multiple times while he was in college.

Next, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was introduced alongside The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson. Last night, Johnson apparently spent several hours signing things for the fans waiting overnight to get into the panel. Johnson expressed his gratitude for being accepted into the Star Wars family while Kennedy shared her opinion that Johnson belongs among the elite filmmakers in Hollywood.

Ridley was the first cast member introduced on the panel, and Gad immediately laid into her with questions he knew she couldn’t answer about Rey’s last name and parentage. Although she seemed to like the “Rey Kenobi” suggestion. Without offering specific spoilers, Ridley indicated that Rey may find some truth in the expression that you shouldn’t meet your heroes because of her expectations for Luke. She also said that the film will go even deeper into Rey story than before. While Ridley credited the writing and directing for the response to Rey, Johnson countered and said that the things that people respond to come from Ridley herself.

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Then it was time to introduce John…wait, no…It’s BB-8! BB-8 has rolled out on to the stage to share a little droid and humor banter with Gad. BB-8 doesn’t answer any questions, but Johnson noted that the previous editors of The Force Awakens told him that “you can’t have enough BB-8,” so the droid will be like Buster Keaton this time around.

Now it was time to introduce John Boyega, whom some fans welcomed with the call of “traitor!” Boyega said that it was good to be back at Celebration, and noted that Finn will be back and so will Poe, even though Oscar Isaac couldn’t make the convention. Boyega equated the events of The Last Jedi as a test for Finn, as he has to decide whether to stay with the Rebellion or flee for his life.

Johnson noted that the loss of Starkiller Base was a big loss for the First Order, but the super weapon did take out most of the New Republic; which leads the First Order to make some big moves to shore up its level of control. Johnson then introduced Kelly Marie Tran, an actress who plays Rose, a Resistance maintenance worker who will be forced to step up in a big way alongside Finn.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Poster

The last person introduced was Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. Although Hamill insisted that the mystery of where Luke has been will continue, the panel indicated that he has a much bigger role in this film. Hamill recalled a conversation with Johnson where he told the director that he was terrified to be back, and Johnson said that he was terrified too. That gave Hamill the confidence that Johnson was the right choice to helm the film and that he turned his performance over to Johnson to bring Luke back for this film.

After unveiling the new poster and announcing that fans in attendance would get a copy for free, the crowd restlessly demanded the new trailer. Johnson then introduced the footage at their request, before playing it again almost immediately thereafter. We can’t say the man doesn’t give the people what they want!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm