This July, San Diego Comic-Con isn’t the only major pop culture event that’s taking place. Star Wars Celebration 2016 will be held in London from July 15 – 17. Since it’s roughly a week before SDCC kicks off, there’s a strong possibility fans will have to rely more on Celebration than Hall H for the latest on the happenings in a galaxy far, far away.
Celebration has taken a whole new meaning in the years since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and ushered in a new era of Star Wars mass media. Nowadays, it’s more than a chance for people to come together and share their love of the franchise with others; it’s a potential hub of information for all the films, television shows, video games, and books that have launched the brand back to the very top of the zeitgeist. Everyone has their own wish list of possible reveals and announcements, and that of course includes us. Here are 10 things we want to see at Star Wars Celebration 2016.
SECOND ROGUE ONE TRAILER
It’s all but a given this will be the centerpiece of the convention, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will have their own panel to kick off the festivities. The first spinoff will obviously have a large presence at Celebration, making this a better time than ever to unveil the second trailer to whet the appetites of moviegoers. Last year’s Celebration featured the famous “Chewie, we’re home” preview for The Force Awakens, so it would be quite surprising if this year’s Star Wars film didn’t get a new trailer as well.
With the recent confirmation that Darth Vader will be making his (hopefully) triumphant return to the big screen in Rogue One, the expectation is that the villain will be showcased in new footage, teasing his brief, but impactful, role in the new movie. Fans wouldn’t even have to hear the voice of James Earl Jones. All it would take is Vader looking over a battlefield, lightsaber in hand, as his iconic breath booms through the speakers. Everyone would lose their minds, and all the hullabaloo surrounding the reshoots would be swiftly forgotten.
ROGUE ONE RESHOOTS DISCUSSION
Speaking of those pesky pickups, it would be nice to receive an update from Edwards during his panel. The worst rumors (half the film had to be redone) have thankfully been debunked, with more recent reports suggesting the team will be completely wrapped by the time Celebration begins. If that’s the case, Lucasfilm would be wise to announce that’s the case, as it would be the perfect way to quell any fears and doubts about the reshoots. Members of the cast and crew have all been saying the right things, but there’d be something comforting about hearing that they’re done and moving on to post.
Given that Rogue One remains on target for its December 2016 premiere, it would seem that the reshoots truly are nothing more than just standard tentpole procedure; only blown out of proportion due to being something as massive as Star Wars. Nevertheless, it became such a huge story in the past month that Lucasfilm almost has to address it in some capacity. They’ve certainly touched on it in EW‘s coverage of the movie, but discussing the topic at length with the Celebration crowd might have a greater impact.
CLASSIC PROPS & COSTUMES DISPLAY
The show floor at these events always features fun items for fans to check out, including materials that were used during production of their favorite movies. There’s always a great interest in on-screen costumes, and few franchises have outfits that are as instantly recognizable as Star Wars. Rogue One marks the return of several classic trilogy designs, and it’s time to give the costume department the spotlight by highlighting their work.
Based on the short amount of footage and images available, it’s apparent Edwards’ team put a lot of time and effort into recreating the look of the original films for modern audiences. The so-called “Darth Vader dream team” even made sure to include the red tint around the eyes on the helmet – a feature exclusive to A New Hope. It wouldn’t be out of the question to expect stormtrooper suits, weapon props, and model ships to be on display for people to see up close, admiring the craftsmanship behind the upcoming blockbuster.
NEW VEHICLES & COSTUMES DISPLAY
Of course, Rogue One wouldn’t truly be a Star Wars movie if it didn’t add to the already expansive collection of characters and vehicles that are part of the galaxy. The EW cover showcased a new TIE Fighter design, and other Rebel vehicles were showcased in the leaked movie manual from a while back. In addition, the Empire’s deathtroopers – soldiers dressed in black armor – have become a primary part of Lucasfilm’s promotional push, executives no doubt envisioning the merchandising opportunities already.
So, like Force Awakens, Rogue One is going to blend the old with the new to appeal to multiple generations of fans. Theoretically, this means that any displays should contain a little bit of both, giving moviegoers a better look at how the new movie will branch out the universe and add to the pre-existing legacy. Star Wars is known for giving its characters very distinctive appearances that leave imprints in the zeitgeist’s collective mind. It’s time to familiarize audiences with the fresh additions Rogue One will bring, launching a fascination with it all.
EPISODE 8 DETAILS
Star Wars: Episode VIII director Rian Johnson is going to take part in the “Future Filmmakers” panel at Celebration, and he’s close to wrapping up principal photography. While the focus is going to be kept on Rogue One (particularly in regards to what gets released to the public), it would be a wasted opportunity if Lucasfilm didn’t have any major Episode VIII announcements or reveals in store. Expecting the first official teaser at this point in time would be a bit much, but more realistic options include a subtitle or still image, perhaps of Luke Skywalker training Rey. Mark Hamill is one of the guests, so anything is possible.
Last year’s Celebration also had what could be considered a short “preview” for Rogue One, though it didn’t contain any actual footage from the film. These kinds of events frequently have some kind of big exclusive to reward those in attendance. There is an outside chance that a sizzle reel for Star Wars 8 is shown to truly send fans into a frenzy. Johnson has obviously shot more than enough to cut a little something together, so it will be interesting to see what he brings with him.
HAN SOLO ANTHOLOGY MOVIE DETAILS
Joining Johnson at the Future Filmmakers presentation will be Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the dynamic duo responsible for brining the young Han Solo spinoff to the big screen. According to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the plan is to begin principal photography in January 2017, six months after Celebration takes place. Fans will hopefully learn more about what Lord and Miller have in mind for their movie, namely the story they want to tell and where it fits in the timeline. Out of all the Star Wars movies on the docket, this is the one being met with the most skepticism, so the filmmakers could use the panel to make a convincing sales pitch and win over the naysayers.
Since production will start soon, Lord and Miller have to be getting necessary pieces in place to remain on schedule. It may be too soon for the official title to be revealed, but the identities of Alden Ehrenreich’s co-stars could very well be shared. The Han Solo rumor mill has been awfully quiet, so just about any name would be a big surprise. Whether there’s a new Lando Calrissian tagging along or fresh faces in the supporting cast, announcing the roster of talent would be a smart way to get people buzzing about Han’s solo movie.
THIRD ANTHOLOGY FILM ANNOUNCEMENT
When Disney bought Lucasfilm, they said that there would be three standalone anthology films in development along with the sequel trilogy. So far, only two of those projects have actually been announced. Everyone is under the impression that a third spinoff film will premiere at some point in 2020, but the studio has been mum on that subject. Compared to other massive franchises, they’re taking things (relatively) slow, focusing on the projects that are in the more immediate future. Still, speculation about the third anthology refuses to die.
Rumors have been running rampant for years. It could be a Boba Fett movie. Maybe Ewan McGregor reprises Obi-Wan Kenobi for a film set after Revenge of the Sith. The possibilities are limitless, and it’s a big question that fans would like answered soon. Besides Rogue One (and possibly Episode VIII) footage, the easiest way to bring the house down is to confirm the concept for the 2020 spinoff movie. Lucasfilm doesn’t have to reveal the director (or even the star), but just the idea for the movie would be enough to start a discussion. The studio does a good job of planning ahead, so they must know what’s coming through the pipeline.
EPISODE 9 RELEASE DATE
Playing in line with Lucasfilm’s “one thing at a time” strategy, Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX is currently without an official release date. Going by Disney’s pattern, the conclusion(?) to the sequel trilogy will reach theaters at an unspecified point in 2019, though the Mouse House has yet to confirm a window. They may not be ready at this juncture, but Lucasfilm wasted no time announcing that Indiana Jones 5 would debut in July 2019, so maybe they are saving something for Celebration, knowing they’d have the event where all eyes were on them.
Oddly enough, some outlets are already running with a May 2019 premiere for Episode IX, despite Lucasfilm or Disney never discussing the topic publicly. While it hasn’t caused mass confusion yet, it would be smart for the studio to use Celebration to officially give Star Wars 9 its release date – allowing fans to hear straight from the source when they should circle their calendars for another adventure with Rey. Better that than letting falsehoods run wild on the Internet.
STAR WARS REBELS ANNOUNCEMENT
Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni has previously stated that he has something special planned for this year’s Celebration. “Something big is going to happen that I think people really, really want, and I know that I’ve wanted it for a while. We’ve figured out a way to do it. It’s a very important moment in Star Wars and a very important moment for Star Wars fans,” was his tease. As one would expect, that has led to all sorts of theories and debates as people try to figure out what exactly Filoni has in store.
There have been rumors suggested fan-favorite Expanded Universe (now Legends) villain Grand Admiral Thrawn will be featured on Rebels. Filoni, an uber Star Wars fan, has used the now-defunct EU materials for inspiration on both Clone Wars and Rebels. A character like Thrawn becoming part of the permanent canon is indeed something many have wanted for a long time. Lucasfilm has developed a great relationship with the fans over the years and are well aware that wiping out the “Legends” books and comics rubbed some the wrong way. While this may not completely make up for that, it would still be a fun way to reward those who supported the works of author Timothy Zahn.
STAR WARS VIDEO GAME ANNOUNCEMENTS
Celebration is expected to have a large presence of Star Wars video games this year. Titles such as Star Wars: Battlefront, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Commander, and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (among others) will be available, creating the “highest volume of gaming content” ever in Celebration. Those who haven’t been inclined to pick up any of the games yet can check them out and perhaps get hooked, leading to more sales later on.
There’s also the chance that there are announcements pertaining to new titles and content. EA is consistently updating Battlefront with new maps and characters, trying to bounce back from the game’s lukewarm reception. A big part of these events is to build excitement for what’s coming down the road, so gamers should expect some kind of reveals to take place.
Those are just some of the things we would like to see at this year’s Star Wars Celebration. The galaxy far, far away is present in just about every form of media, including books and comics, so there will surely be several announcements for fans to keep up on. Since Celebration is being held just a week before San Diego Comic-Con, there’s a chance this is the main source of a Star Wars information dump, with Lucasfilm perhaps bypassing Hall H this year. Whatever the studio has up its sleeves, it’s sure to get people talking.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.