The sure highlight of this year’s Star Wars Celebration – held in Orlando, Florida – was, of course, The Last Jedi panel. A star-studded event that all culminated in the release of the very first trailer for the film, teasing the start of Rey’s journey towards destiny.
Hosted by Josh Gad, whose hounding of Daisy Ridley for spoilers made him a perfect candidate for the job, the panel welcomed in Ridley herself, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, director Rian Johnson, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, and new cast member Kelly Marie Tran.
Johnson unveiled that the film was currently in post-production, in the depths of editing, though it was “coming very far along”. His colleagues, certainly, had nothing but effusive praise for the director, with Kennedy stating: “He is along his way to standing alongside many of the great filmmakers I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”
Kennedy stated there was an “amazing uniqueness to what he does”, and many on the panel commented on the strength of his writing as well as his skills as a director.
Of course, much of this year’s Star Wars Celebration has been tinged with a great feeling of loss, being the first event to have taken place since the loss of Carrie Fisher in December of last year.
Though it’s already been confirmed that General Leia will appear in Episode IX, reportedly utilising scenes filmed for The Last Jedi, it’s The Last Jedi itself that feels as if it will stand as a tribute to everything Fisher gave to the world in her role as the iconic princess and rebel.
“Carrie is remarkable in the movie,” Kennedy stated. “What Rian wrote, and the performance she ended up giving; I think you guys will find that an amazing tribute to her talent.”
Johnson also spoke about how Fisher contributed in ways other than on screen, with the pair meeting together to help firm up the film’s screenplay. “I'd go to her house and sit on her bed for hours, and we'd go through the script,” he described.
These, as he described “stream of consciousness, jazz poetry ad-lib sessions", would sometimes only result in a four-word line, yet Johnson seemed deeply thankful for everything Fisher offered him as both an actor and a writer.
“I love her so much. I just adore her. I connected with her first and foremost as a writer. She was an incredible writer, with an incredible mind,” he added.
Expect plenty more Star Wars news as Star Wars Celebration takes place in Orlando from 13 - 16 April.