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Monday, April 3, 2017

What to Expect from Celebration Orlando

Star Wars Celebration Orlando is coming next week, April 13-16, and just like every Celebration, we can expect some seriously exciting announcements. While Celebration Europe last July was dominated by Star Wars Rebels (partly due to the disappointing absence of a new Rogue One trailer), this year we're pretty much guaranteed big reveals from both the cinematic and animated sides of the Star Wars universe. 
Since the full panel schedule has been released on the official Celebration site (with a more condensed version on StarWars.com), we're taking a look at the major reveals that we can realistically expect from this year's Celebration.

The Last Jedi

This is the moment that we've been waiting for. The first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is widely expected to drop during the film's panel on Friday, April 14 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM, considering that teasers for The Force Awakens and Rogue One were released in April 2015 and 2016, respectively. The official description even promises "plenty of surprises and special guests on the panel to keep the excitement brewing and speculation spinning throughout the rest of the weekend." 
If the teaser is anything like the sizzle reel shown to Disney shareholders last month, then it'll (unsurprisingly) focus on Luke and Rey's relationship and her training on Ahch-To, including Rey practicing with a lightsaber, levitating pebbles with the Force, and Luke asking her, "Who are you?" It's possible that we'll get a shot of Luke accepting his lightsaber from Rey mere moments after the end of The Force Awakens, though they might want to save that reveal for a later time.
Additionally, we can expect teasing shots of familiar faces such as Finn, Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma, and a bittersweet glimpse of Carrie Fisher's last film role as General Leia. And because this is Star Wars, we'll probably also see new starships and various exotic locations. Star Wars News Net reported that might even get a look at Han Solo's funeral.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Rian Johnson are sure to be joined by at least a few cast members (including Mark Hamill, who is headlining his own panel and hosting a tribute to Carrie Fisher) in introducing the footage and discussing the film. They've been keeping plot details under wraps for a while now; it's about time that they show off the most anticipated movie of the year.

Han Solo

The untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story is coming in just over a year, and though most of the primary cast has been confirmed already, there's still much to learn about the film. Unfortunately, no panel for the film has been scheduled and it's unlikely that Kennedy or any of the Lucasfilm executives would spill anything serious during unrelated panels.
We can expect that the Han Solo film will have a very limited presence at Celebration so that The Last Jedi can properly take the spotlight. Star Wars News Net has reported that the films will trade off at Disney's D23 Expo in July, with the Han Solo movie announcing its official title and perhaps even an image of the titular hero in costume. In short, we're going to have to wait a little longer to learn more about Han and Chewie's origin story. 

Future Lucasfilm projects?

Star Wars News Net (which is proving to be as essential a news resource as Making Star Wars) published a story on Thursday about Lucasfilm's future plans. Aside from an inevitable third Star Wars trilogy, these reportedly include a long-rumored Boba Fett movie, a tragic love story, and an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and starring Ewan McGregor. 
The latter is the most universally appealing prospect out of the three, and the report suggests that Disney is planning on announcing it very soon. If this were to happen during the 40th anniversary panel (Thursday the 13th, 11 AM to 12:30 PM), it would kick off Celebration with a bang, considering that Kenobi is one of the most beloved Jedi and McGregor's performance was one of the highlights of the Prequels.

Rebels and other Star Wars animation

After last week's Season 3 finale, "Zero Hour," Star Wars Rebels is wasting no time in promoting Season 4. The series' panel on Saturday the 15th from 11 AM to 12:30 PM is explicitly promising a "sneak peek" of what's to come. This probably won't include a full Season 4 trailer, but a teaser clip and significant details from the cast and crew discussion can be expected. 
Last July, Rebels turned heads across the galaxy with its reveal of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This time around, we can expect similar official announcements – and perhaps even footage – of more beloved characters appearing in the next season. (Don't be too surprised if a certain feisty, presumed-dead ex-Jedi steals the show.)

What's even more intriguing than Rebels is the prospect of a new Star Wars animated series. The main source of these rumors is that Dave Filoni (the man behind both Rebels and The Clone Wars) was promoted in September to oversee not just Rebels but all future Lucasfilm Animation projects, hinting that they have something new planned for 2018. This announcement would occur during the Rebels panel or Filoni's own panel on Thursday the 13th.
The timeline of this series could easily fall between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, a period that we know frustratingly little about. This would allow the show to fill in the gaps that the Sequel Trilogy can't take the time to explain, including the formation of the New Republic, the rise of the First Order, and Ben Solo's fall to the Dark Side.

You can expect a breakdown of the first The Last Jedi trailer and any other noteworthy Celebration announcements right here on the weekend of April 14-16. What do you think will be revealed at Celebration? What are your hopes for The Last Jedi's teaser trailer? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

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