Last year, director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy took the stage at a massive convention center in California to reveal some big secrets. It wasn’t at the vaunted San Diego Comic-Con, and it wasn’t even at the big Disney D23 Expo. Instead, they offered major updates about a long-awaited sequel at the franchise’s own official event: Star Wars Celebration. This year, the event is being held across the pond in London and is poised to drop even bigger details about the next chapters in the beloved franchise.
At the convention, which takes place later this week, will feature the biggest players in the Star Wars Galaxy. Gareth Edwards, the director of the upcoming standalone movie Rogue One, is set to join Kennedy (and some special, unannounced guests) for their own panel. Then, as the Celebration’s piece de resistance, Lucasfilm ‘s Story Group Executive will moderate a “Future Filmmakers” panel that gathers Kennedy, Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson, and Han Solo standalone movie duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord to chat about what’s in store for the massive space opera series.
The official Star Wars site promised “some surprises” to “end the weekend on a high note, so here’s what we hope is revealed from both highly anticipated panels.
Rogue One Panel
5. An announcement on the next standalone movie
One of the most fascinating aspects of the franchise’s rebirth is how Lucasfilm is balancing the standalone movies against the main episodes. Rogue One will be a big deal, and so will the Han Solo movie, but what happens in the non-episodic canon after that? Lucasfilm dodged a PR nightmare bullet by quietly dumping temperamental Fantastic Four director Josh Trank from what was widely reported as a Boba Fett standalone movie. Any new information about that, and maybe even a confirmation about the Fett storyline, would suffice.
4. A Look at Darth Vader
It seemed like a big deal that Vader would show up again in Rogue One, but considering the pre-A New Hope timeline and the dark lord of the Sith’s standing with the Empire at that time, it was basically a given that we’d see robo-Anakin again. Fans had to wait three whole terrible prequel movies to see a fully costumed Vader again, but it was all ruined by that infamously goofy “Noooooo!” from Revenge of the Sith. A sneak peek at the samurai-like visage of Vader in Rogue One would begin to right that wrong.
3. A Look at Mads Mikkelsen’s Character
We know the Danish actor will be playing Jyn Erso’s father in Rogue One, and that’s about it. The fact that we haven’t had a look at Mikkelsen’s Galen Erso character in any of the official photo reveals or the first trailer is telling. Chances are he’s some kind of Empire bigwig that’ll complicate things for Jyn and her mission to find the Death Star plans for the Rebels, and Lucasfilm doesn’t want to let those details out quite yet. What better opportunity to disclose some more tasty details about papa Erso than at Celebration?
2. More insight on the reshoots
This might be too far gone, but there’s no doubt that the scheduled reshoots on Rogue One, which were initially reported as some kind of crisis aversion but really ended up being a planned block of time for routine tweaks, will be on every fan’s mind for this panel. Edwards and Kennedy will elaborate on the movie itself, but they could also assuage worriers who still think a large percent of the movie had to be reshot because Disney hated what Edwards has initially delivered. Some specific example of what was reshot (without spoiling anything, of course), would bring some sanity back to the Rogue One fervor.
1. An Extended Trailer
The sweet, merciful, corporate synergy-minded Star Wars gods are debuting a new Rogue One trailer the day the panel happens in London, but simply playing the regular version there could be a bit of a misstep. Celebration is the biggest stage for the most ardent fans, so throw them something extra. This dovetails with the previous point about the reshoots, and the need to reassure fans that this first non-episodic Star Wars movie is on the right track. Plus, why wouldn’t you give all the Star Wars freaks an even bigger fix that they crave?
The Future Filmmaker Panel
*5. New information on the main saga beyond Episode IX*
This is a panel about the future, so why not feed the Star Wars masses some plans on what happens beyond director Colin Trevorrow’s third installment of the sequel trilogy? Granted, this will most likely be among the exceedingly cryptic message given by the likes of Kennedy and Disney CEO Bob Iger about their long-term plans for the saga. In a widely-read piece for Wired, writer Adam Rogers explained that “[Disney] intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets.” It’s now up to them to ante up and give us some preliminary reasons to want to keep buying tickets.
4. A character reveal for the Han Solo movie
As anticipated as Lord and Miller’s Solo solo film is, we know very little about it. Any small morsel of information about it like, say, disclosing a character in it that isn’t Han or his trusty sidekick Chewbacca, would send the anticipation for the movie soaring beyond the already enormous excitement.
3. An official Episode VIII synopsis
Any context for Johnson’s new movie would be much appreciated, both because it’ll kickstart the year-long buzz befitting a Star Wars movie, and it’ll silence the uninformed hot takes that use blurry set photos and unsubstantiated rumors to stoke the fires of click-happy fanboys. Give us a single paragraph to set the story: What’s up with Luke and Rey, did Kylo Ren go crawling back to Supreme Leader Snoke, and will there be a fourth Death Star?
2. A look at Alden Ehrenreich in full Han Solo costume
If they can’t give us a sense of someone in the movie besides Han and Chewie, the least they could do is give us a hero shot of newly cast Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich sporting Han’s signature vest and blaster. We can picture it now: the lights dim, Lord and Miller crack a few jokes about the electricity cutting out, the lights suddenly jolt on, and plastered on the big screen is our first view of young Han Solo. Nothing special or complicated, just a simple photo to let us all collective freak the fuck out.
1. An Episode VIII title reveal
This, above all else, has the best chance at becoming a reality. The title for Episode VII was revealed a day after principal photography ended on November 3, 2014. Production seems to have ended for the main cast, and with the Celebration looking the only way to honor that end would be to announce to the world what we’ll be calling whatever it is that happens after The Force Awakens.