The meat of any convention is always the content that is brought by studios showing off sneak peaks of new movies, TV shows, and games. For Star Wars Celebration nothing was more anticipated than the conclusion of the saga with Episode IX and that panel did not disappoint. The only thing that matched that enthusiasm is the new live action series – The Mandolorian.
Most of the panels were live streamed and are available for viewing but here’s a look at some of the panels I attended throughout the five day show.
Star Wars: Episode IX
Host: Stephen Colbert; Panelists; JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Naomi Ackie
The ultimate panel at Star Wars Celebration – Star Wars: Episode IX gave fans a everything to get excited about when this movie comes out at the end of the year from original trilogy fan favorites Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams to new favorites John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Issac, and Kelly Marie Tran and the reveal of new character Jannah played by Naomi Ackie as well as a new droid D-0 a sidekick to BB-8. As loud as the cheers were for Kelly Marie Tran or the singing of Happy Birthday to Daisy Ridley nothing could prepare the fans for Ian McDiarmid or the reveal of the title – The Rise of Skywalker.
Panelists: Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers
Executive producer and writer Jon Favreau and executive producer and director Dave Filoni were on hand to talk with cast about the upcoming series debuting on the Disney+ Network later this year. Set after the events of Return of the Jedi but before the First Order rises to power The Mandalorian follows a lone gunfighter on the fringes of the Republic. The footage shown in the live panel which was not broadcast showed a really high production quality with Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, Carl Weathers as Greef Karga the leader of the Bounty Hunter Guild, and Gina Carano as Cara Dune as a ex-Rebel shock trooper. Also announced was Taika Waititi as the voice of IG-11 as well as a quick shot of Bull Burr in the trailer footage. One really fun story shared was when they needed Stormtroopers for an episode do they put a call out to 501st Legion members and got immediate responses and those fans ended up filming for the episode.
Star Wars: Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary Celebration
Host: Warwick Davis; Panelists: Doug Chiang, Matthew Wood, John Knoll, Jean Bolte, Ray Park, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels
Every saga has a beginning. For the 20th Anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace panel Doug Chiang, Matthew Wood, John Knoll, and Jean Bolte came out a gave a behind-the-scenes look at what went into making the first prequel movie. While Ray Park, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels came out to reminisce about the making of the movie!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Sneak Peek
Host: Warwick Davis; Panelists: Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein, Sam Witwer, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter, Catherine, Taber, Tom Kane, Matthew Wood, James Arnold Taylor
Dave Filoni and cast were on had to celebrate the return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After The Clone Wars Ended Dave Filoni moved on to Star Wars Rebels, but with the end of Rebels Filoni has come back to the Clone Wars with a limited run last season promising to give the series a full conclusion. The show seems to focus on fan favorite Ahsoka Tano and gives us some stories including the Siege of Mandalore. Another great tidbit I enjoyed learning was they in fact got Ray Park to don a motion capture suit for Dart Maul, adding that much more realism to the character
Star Wars Rebels Remembered
Host: Amy Ratcliffe; Panelists Dave Filoni, Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray
Dave Filoni, really was everywhere at celebration. For Star Wars Rebels he along with cast members came out to reminisce about the Ghost Crew and what made Rebels such a popular show. From how Ezra and Sabine both grew in their own rights to Kanan’s evolving relationship with Hera leading to the reveal of their child, and everything in between including the inclusion of the white wolves. Check out some photos form the panel and some really neat behind-the-scenes art from Dave Filoni’s notebook.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Panelists: Vince Zampella, Stig Asmussen, Cameron Monaghan
Vince Zampella, head of Respawn Entertainment, and Stig Asmussen Game Director came out to debut the newest single-player Star Wars Game – Jedi Fallen Order. Set after the Emperor’s Order 66 the story follows Cal Kestis (played by Shameless and Gotham alum Cameron Monaghan), a young padawan hiding on the planet Bracca. Once forced to use his force powers to save a friend he becomes a target of the Empire, namely the Second Sister Inquisitor and the Purge Troopers. Cal will have to learn to use the force in order to survive. But he won’t be alone joining him will be a droid companion BD-1 and a former Jedi Knight.
But the game isn’t just hack slash. Described as “thoughtful combat” by the game designers, the purge troopers for example are specially trained to take on Jedi so figuring out an enemies weakness will be more key than button mashing. One final tidbit that I enjoyed is that Cameron Monaghan isn’t just providing a voice for the character but rather he was put in a motion capture suit to really capture the actor’s movements. The game releases on November 15, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
In Conversation with Alan Tudyk
Host: Warwick Davis; Panelist: Alan Tudyk
Alan Tudyk takes the stage to talk his role as K-2SO in Star Wars: Rogue One as well as other memorable characters he’s portrayed throughout his career with host Warwick Davis.