Can you believe it’s been 40 years since Star Wars first opened in theaters? It’s an insanely impressive (and maybe a tad depressing for those of us looking back on how much time has passed) milestone and something worth celebrating in a big way. That’s why it’s the central theme of Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando, Florida and the very first panel presentation of the event focused on it and honoring the late Carrie Fisher.
There’s been surprise appearances, including by Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, and John Williams put on a legendary performance that’ll go down in the history books with The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and put you in tears (watch the video). And that’s just in the first hours of this year’s Star Wars Celebration, a notably big event given that it won’t return until 2019.
But is a behind the scenes photo at Star Wars Celebration of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, is stirring up fans’ emotions as it makes the rounds online. While fans of the film saga have been excited for months leading up this weekend’s Celebration – which among other things, reunited Hamill, Ford and Star Wars creator George Lucas – the anticipation has been accompanied by underpinnings of sadness, due to the tragic passing of Fisher from a heart attack last December.
And while there were tributes to the late Princess Leia actress penned by the likes of Hamill in the days after Fisher’s passing, the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration panel really marked the first time key members of the Star Wars family addressed her loss in public.
Among the many photos from Star Wars Celebration that have now surfaced, there’s one that’s particularly attracted a lot of attention (see the image below, posted to Hamill’s Twitter account): a backstage photo of Hamill and Ford as the lovingly lean in toward Billie Lourd, who is between them. Their subtle smiles suggest happiness in that they’re celebrating Fisher’s legacy with the screen great’s daughter; but also heartbreak in that it marks the closest thing to a reunion with Fisher that Hamill and Ford will ever have.
Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration Panel remembers Carrie Fisher
Billie Lourd was among those celebrating her mother’s legacy at the 40th Anniversary panel Thursday, saying, “My mom used to always say she didn’t know where Princess Leia ended, and where Carrie Fisher began.” Lourd also introduced a video tribute to her mother, which included a brief, first glimpse of Fisher as General Leia – along with writer/director Rian Johnson – on the set of The Last Jedi. Watch below:
Star Wars creator George Lucas was among those who paid tribute to late star Carrie Fisher at the start of Star Wars Celebration Thursday in Orlando. Star Wars family and fans have been mourning the loss of the actress who made Princess Leia a cultural icon since she tragically passed away last December of a heart attack. The loss came after Fisher completed her role in The Last Jedi, and plans are still up in the air as to how to address Leia’s fate in Episode IX. Part of Lucas’ appearance at Star Wars Celebration included memories of Fisher during filming of the classic Episode IV: A New Hope. Speaking on stage at the convention, Lucas said:
“She wasn’t just an actress with guys’ clothes on and she becomes a hero. She was a princess, a senator, and she played a part that was very smart, and she had to hold her own against tow big lugs, two big goofballs. She was the boss, it was her war. I wanted someone young to play the part. When Carrie was the character, she was very smart, very bold, very thoughtful. There really wasn’t much of a question. There aren’t that many people like her. There’s one in a billion.”