Star Wars celebrates 40Years at Celebration
Celebration wasted no time kicking things off with a bang with the highly anticipated 40th Anniversary Panel on Thursday morning. Hosted by the always awesome Warwick Davis, he brought out Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to kick it off and she did not disappoint. Right out of the she talked about the impact of 40 years of Star Wars leading into the statement that had fans on their feet “The greatest honor for me is to acknowledge the man whose collective genius has brought us all together today.”
George Lucas himself took the stage at the stage at this point leaving the crowd cheering and chanting “Lucas! Lucas!” and showing the creator the love he deserves with a roaring applause. As the panel continued Lucas spoke on numerous accounts of bringing his galaxy far, far away to life, but the biggest surprise of the day was yet to come. Throughout the panel members of the series took the stage including Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca, Billy Dee Williams aka Lando, Hayden Christiansen aka Anakin, Ian McDirmod aka Palpatine and Mark Hamill aka Luke. Having all of them on stage would have been enough to get the crowd going, but when Han Solo himself Harrison Ford the stage for his very first Celebration appearance, the fans collectively lost their minds giving him the much deserved standing ovation.
Once they were able to get the crowd calm the panel continued to showcase a variety of stories from all the cast members and Lucas himself on making the film and their experiences. Obviously some of the cast couldn’t attend including Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson who both sent in video messages. Neeson claimed to be on the set of the Jar Jar film and Jackson made it known that he is ready for Mace to return to the franchise. One person missed the most from this panel was Carrie Fisher who sadly passed away last year, but she was not forgotten.
Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd appeared on stage to pay tribute to her mother wearing a white dress similar to the famed New Hope Leia wardrobe and stated to the fans “Nothing about her was performance. She loved you, she loved these movies and she loved Leia.” Fans were then treated to a tear inducing tribute video that you can check out here as well. As the panel came to a close the curtain opened to reveal the iconic John Williams and the Orlando Phillharmonic Orchestra playing “Princess Leia’s Theme” in honor of Fisher as well as more classics from the famed franchise.
You can get even more detail of the panel over at Star Wars.com here and be sure to be on the lookout for some insanely cool news about The Last Jedi, Rebels and more coming out of Celebration throughout the weekend.