STAR WARS Celebration: Some Notes On That Incredible LAST JEDI Panel

It was lit, fam.

If you caught the live stream, you're already aware that this morning's The Last Jedi panel at Star Wars Celebration was mindblowingly cool. What the live stream probably didn't capture was the energy in the room itself, which was totally unreal: thousands of fans waited overnight to be in that room, and the resulting hype was palpable. 

Hosted by Josh Gad (who, yes, continues to pepper Daisy Ridley with annoying Star Wars questions he knows she can't answer), the panel included Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy, director Rian Johnson, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, and a cameo appearance by BB-8. BB-8, by the way, is kind of jaw-dropping in person. 

Rian Johnson brought along a series of photographs taken on the set of The Last Jedi, and talked about how he was one of only two people who had the authority to be taking that many photos on set. He explained that he carried a camera with him at all times (he actually brought it out onstage, and took some photos during the panel), and based on the images we were shown, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a coffee table book of Johnson's Last Jedi set photos at some point. Really beautiful stuff.

John Boyega and Daisy Ridley remain an adorable team, and briefly touched on how they keep in touch in-between films. Kelly Marie Tran, a relative newcomer who's being positioned as The Last Jedi's big breakout star, was clearly delighted to be up on that stage, and her enthusiasm was infectious. 

Once he was brought out onstage, Mark Hamill ended up running away with the entire panel, and told a great story about how terrified he was to return to his most famous role all these years later. When he confessed this fear to Johnson, Hamill says Johnson replied, "I'm terrified, too." 

As you know, the whole thing culminated with the reveal of the Last Jedi trailer, which we were shown twice. To say that the audience went apeshit does not begin to do the reaction justice: the crowd exploded with applause after the first viewing, and roared with approval when Johnson came back onstage and said he wanted to watch it again. I can't recall the last time I saw a crowd that hyped, just totally overcome with excitement in the moment. 

Tonight brings Mark Hamill's Carrie Fisher tribute panel and a field trip to Hollywood Studios for Galactic Nights. I'll have a report for you on both of those events tomorrow morning, so stay tuned!

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