The annual Star Wars fan convention Star Wars Celebration has become a bit of a bigger deal in the last couple of years, primarily because Disney acquired Lucasfilm and promptly began creating lots of new Star Wars content. From movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One to TV shows like Star Wars Rebels and even with comics, novels and video games, the Star Wars universe continues to expand with each passing day.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration promises to be one of the biggest ever, as fans await the first footage of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, not to mention the festivities being heightened due to it being the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.
So what can you expect, and perhaps most importantly… when can you expect it? Here’s what you need to know.
Thursday, April 13th
The Big Panel
11:00am-12:30pm — 40 Years of Star Wars Panel
The official description: A very special tribute to the 40th anniversary of Star Wars will kick start Celebration Orlando in grand fashion. The panel, hosted by Warwick Davis, will feature Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and discussions with some of the saga’s brightest stars, highlighting the impact of the galaxy far, far away and the fandom that has propelled it for the last four decades. As is tradition, this marquee Celebration event will undoubtedly include many not-to-be-missed surprises.
What we expect to see: This panel, on the first day of Celebration, will likely be one of the most memorable. With Star Wars stars old and new in attendance, we expect a host of folks to join Warwick Davis and Kathleen Kennedy on stage. Everyone from Mark Hamill to Billy Dee Williams to George Lucas to Daisy Ridley to Hayden Christensen (yes, Anakin will be there!), to name a few of the names who could drop in to say hey.
Considering many of the Last Jedi cast will likely pop by, they could give us our first glimpse of that movie. Also, because there is no separate panel for the Han Solo film, this may be where they tease that movie as well, perhaps by announcing its official title… and maybe more.
Our Most Anticipated Under-the-Radar Panel
2:00pm – 3:00pm —Smooth Talking with Billy Dee Williams
What we expect to see: A whole lot of smooth talking from Billy Dee Williams, apparently! We admit the title of this panel is what sold us, but seeing Billy Dee talking Star Wars and Lando is a can’t-miss opportunity. Plus, we know Lando is returning for the Han Solo movie (played by Donald Glover) and that Billy Dee reprised Lando for the Star Wars Rebels series, but could he also bring live-action Lando back for The Last Jedi?
The Nerdiest Panel
5:30pm – 6:30pm —Star Wars 365 with John Knoll
What we expect to see: We’re always down for the knowledge bombs that ILM’s John Knoll drops on the Celebration crowd. As a special effects wizard and someone who’s intricately involved in the creation of all things Star Wars (it was Knoll who first came up with the pitch for Rogue One), this is the panel to be at for those who want a nerdier dive into the behind-the-scenes of Star Wars. Plus, maybe he’ll show us a little of what he’s working on next…
Friday April 14th
The Big Panel
11:00am-12:30pm — Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel
The official description: Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will appear on stage. There will be plenty of surprises and special guests on the panel to keep the excitement brewing and speculation spinning throughout the rest of the weekend.
What we expect to see: Arguably the most anticipated panel of the entire event is, of course, the panel previewing one of the biggest films of 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The cast will be there along with director Rian Johnson, and this is where we will likely get our first major look at the movie, with the panel likely concluding with the debut of the first trailer.
The Panel Likely To Make Us Cry
5:30PM – 6:30pm:Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher
What we expect to see: Well, for starters this panel may be the most emotional of the entire event. While we fully expect Carrie Fisher tributes throughout each and every panel, this particular one hosted by Mark Hamill and dedicated to Fisher is going to be a highlight and one that we wouldn’t miss for the world.
Saturday April 15th
The Big Panel
11:00am-12:30pm — Star Wars Rebels Season Four Sneak Peek
The official description: Executive Producer Dave Filoni and special guests will bring an epic sneak peek at what’s to come in Star Wars: Rebels fourth season. From the exclusive reveals, to the always lively audience Q&A, Celebration fans know this panel is not one to miss!
What we expect to see: Always one of the more lively panels at Celebration, fans of the thriving Disney XD animated series will for sure find all kinds of juicy nuggets revealed regarding the next season of Star Wars Rebels. Will we learn how long the series will last? Will any other classic Star Wars characters appear on the show? And do any of the Rebels characters connect to characters we’ll be seeing in The Last Jedi? So much left to be revealed!
And Last, But Not Least…
3:30pm – 4:30pm:Star Wars Celebration Championships of Cosplay
What we expect to see: A whole lotta awesome Star Wars cosplay, that’s what. One thing we’re especially looking forward to this year with regards to cosplay are the influx in inventive Rogue One costumes. Plus, once that Last Jedi trailer debuts on Friday, will there be a fan (or fans) able to turn around some Last Jedi cosplay in just 24 hours? If there is, you bet we’ll be snapping pics and sharing them.
For those Star Wars fans who want to stay up to date on all of the big announcements and footage debuts out of Star Wars Celebration this week, make sure you follow @Fandango on Twitter, as well as yours truly, @ErikDavis, as we’ll be bringing you real-time updates throughout the convention.