Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm and relaunched the Star Wars franchise, the annual Star Wars Celebration event has become a hub for the latest updates concerning the galaxy far, far away. It was there audiences first heard Han Solo tell Chewbacca they were home and where Grand Admiral Thrawn officially became a part of the series canon. With all the Star Wars content that’s released these days, Celebration has become a go-to source on information for the films, television series, comics, and novels. Each panel has the potential to break a new revelation, setting an exciting course for the future.
This year’s Celebration, which is held in Orlando in April, is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. Not only will the 40th anniversary of Star Wars be commemorated, there’s also the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi to promote. Fans around the globe will be eager to learn more about the eighth chapter in the Skywalker family saga, and it’s becoming more and more likely Celebration will serve as the official kickoff of Episode VIII marketing.
In an official release on starwars.com, it was announced Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson would be appearing at Celebration for a panel on Friday, April 14. Details are characteristically slim, but “a few surprises and special guests” are promised. Presumably, members of the Star Wars 8 cast will take the stage alongside Kennedy and Johnson. It was previously reported the first Last Jedi footage would be unveiled at Celebration (first a behind-the-scenes reel, then the teaser), so it would appear April 14 is when fans can expect all that to hit the web.
The debut of a trailer at Celebration is a no-brainer, so it will be interesting to see what else is brought to light during the discussion. Hopefully, attendees get a better idea of what Johnson has in mind for the characters, including some of the newcomers like Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern. Most of the rumors about The Last Jedi so far have covered returning heroes and villains like Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren, and little is known about the fresh faces – other than possible costume descriptions. As there was with The Force Awakens, there’s a great deal of secrecy surrounding Episode VIII, a fact that pleases Maz Kanata herself, Lupita Nyong’o.
No matter what is shared during the convention, it’s safe to assume more questions will be raised. Any trailer is going to be a brief teaser that may not even set up the basic conflict of Star Wars 8 (remember, Force Awakens arrived with no official synopsis), and character descriptions will be the definition of bare-bones. Still, at this point, anything Lucasfilm sanctioned about The Last Jedi will be welcomed by many as the hype train for the franchise’s next highly-anticipated installment starts to rev up.