The Best of Star Wars Celebration 2017: From ‘The Last Jedi’ to Remembering Carrie Fisher

This year’s Star Wars Celebration is officially in the books, and what a year it was! From our first glimpse of Star Wars: The Last Jedi to a jaw-dropping celebration of Star Wars’ 40th anniversary to the emotional tributes to Carrie Fisher, the convention was stuffed with an influx of unforgettable moments.

Let’s take a look at a few of them…

40 years of Star Wars

What Happened: The first major panel at Star Wars Celebration this years was, fittingly, a celebration of the franchise’s 40th anniversary. With creator George Lucas on stage, he brought out several legends of the series, including prequel stars like Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) and Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine), and stars from the original trilogy, too, like Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo).

Favorite moment from day one at #SWCO was this first ever bro-hug between @HamillHimself & Harrison Ford on the Star Wars Celebration stage

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 13, 2017

Our Favorite Moment: The panel concluded with a touching tribute to Carrie Fisher (watch it here), which segued into maybe the biggest surprise of the entire convention: John Williams conducting with a live orchestra. He began with Leia’s theme before cycling through a selection of all the classic Star Wars music. To say this moment was one of the most incredible we have ever seen at any convention would be an understatement.

Here’s a little tune that may sound familiar to you..

John Williams conducting live on stage now!

— Fandango (@Fandango) April 13, 2017

John Knoll’s amazing collection of rare behind-the-scenes images and footage

They had these little kids in rebel outfits on the Hoth set running around in the distant background to make the set seem bigger.

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 13, 2017

What Happened: ILM chief John Knoll hosted a panel all by himself, and it was one of the more unexpected surprises of this year’s convention. Knoll broke out his library of super rare images and footage of classic scenes from the original trilogy that show lines of dialogue that weren’t used.

Here are a few examples of the fun stuff on display at that panel.

“And you call yourselves human!” Unused Carrie Fisher dialogue from A NEW

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 13, 2017

Knoll is running dailies from A NEW HOPE showing the entire original conference room scene w/ original Vader voice.

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 13, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser trailer and poster

What Happened: If Celebration had a main event, this was it. The panel for this December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was loud, exciting, emotionally charged and stuffed with all sorts of tidbits not revealed before.

We learned more about the mysterious relationship between Luke Skywalker and Rey, as well as who Kelly Marie Tran is playing (a Resistance mechanic named Rose). Then came the moment everyone has been waiting over a year for… the reveal of the first teaser poster and trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Check out both below…

Our exclusive interviews with the cast and filmmakers behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi

What Happened: Following the worldwide debut of the new teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, Fandango was able to chat with stars Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran (pictured above), as well as director Rian Johnson and producer Kathleen Kennedy.

Here’s our favorite highlight, featuring Mark Hamill telling us how he would’ve ended The Force Awakens (hint: it involves a reunion between Luke and Han.)

Here’s @HamillHimself on the Luke Skywalker/Han Solo reunion he wanted to see in

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 14, 2017

Check out the rest of our chats below.

Daisy Ridley says Luke doesn’t know Rey, plus: she reveals reactions to the Last Jedi rough cut

Mark Hamill hints that this may be the end of Luke Skywalker’s journey

Kathleen Kennedy on whether the Skywalker saga will continue past Episode IX

John Boyega reveals Finn gets physical and must choose a side in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Director Rian Johnson confirms the AT-ATs return in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Mark Hamill’s emotional tribute to Carrie Fisher

What Happened: One of the most talked-about panels was Mark Hamill’s solo tribute to Carrie Fisher. Hamill told a number of stories about her and their relationship over the years, tossing occasionally to video of folks like George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy with their own remembrances of the actress who brought so much joy to the lives of millions in the role of Princess Leia.

The Most Memorable Moment: At one point Hamill got choked up while reading something he wrote about Fisher the week after she passed. Here is that moment. (Heads up, you may want to grab some tissues before watching…)

Mark Hamill is getting choked up reading something he wrote about Carrie Fisher a week after she passed. Tears right

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 14, 2017

The awesomeness that is Star Wars Galactic Nights

What Happened: What happened? What happened was we got to slide over to Disney Hollywood Studios to participate in their Star Wars Galactic Nights experience, which was great — not just because there are hardly any lines for any ride, but also because the entire part is decked out in Star Wars everything.

So, yes, that means an amazing Star Wars-centric roller coaster ride through the darkened galaxy, but it also means you have to deal with the First Order marching through at any given moment.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios for #StarWars Galactic Nights and the First Order is rolling through now!

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 15, 2017

The final season of Star Wars Rebels

What Happened: One of the more lively panels of the weekend was the Star Wars Rebels panel, which also had its fair share of sadder moments, especially when creator Dave Filoni announced that the forthcoming fourth season will be the final one. And about that season… one of the bigger announcements was that Warwick Davis would be voicing the role of Rukh, a fan favorite from books like Heir to the Empire, who is primarily known as Grand Admiral Thrawn’s personal bodyguard and assassin.

Our Favorite Moment: During the press conference following the panel, it was neat to get actress Vanessa Marshall’s (Hera) reaction to seeing her character get a shout out in the live-action Rogue One movie. She thought it was awesome, and Filoni later revealed that Hera — named as a general in Rogue One — will become that general by the end of season four. The bigger question not answered: will we see the Battle of Scarif from Rogue One from the point of view of the Rebels crew by the end of season four? That one Filoni would not answer.

And of course, the cosplay…

What Happened: There was so much cosplay to be devoured over the course of the entire weekend (see this gallery from our friends at Rotten Tomatoes for a whole ton of pics).

Here are two of our personal favorites: This Jawa carrying BB-8 around in a sack (see above), and this duel cosplay featuring Obi-Wan standing next to what may be the first time we’ve ever seen actual lightsaber cosplay in the wild.