2017’s Star Wars Celebration is a bigger deal than normal as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first film’s release. Adding to the excitement, there won’t be another until 2018 due to the Han Solo movie releasing (you guessed it) May the 4th.
The first surprise was a biggie as George Lucas himself joined the panel moderated by Warwick Davis. After Disney bought his franchise and ignored his ideas, I expected him to skip the event, but here he was, in good spirits.
Other guests attending Star Wars Celebration included Kathleen Kennedy, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Dave Filoni, and another surprise guest: Harrison Ford. This was Ford’s first appearance at the event. I assume he skips them to buy a cool new earring.
Lucas dropped a harsh truth bomb on the rabid fans:
“I’m not supposed to say this, and I wasn’t supposed to say it at the time, but [Star Wars] is a film for 12-year-olds.”
It’s unclear how many fans deeply re-examined their life after his statement.
The campiest of them all, Ian McDiarmid told the crowd how he won the part of Emperor Palpatine.
“George asked me if I knew anybody who wanted to be an emperor, and I said, ‘yes, me.’”
Christensen revealed how difficult it was for him to not make lightsaber sound effects while filming battles. Considering even Natalie Portman came off wooden in the prequels, I wonder how badass Christensen’s Anakin could have been under different circumstances?
Sam Jackson sent a video because he still wants to be in Star Wars. Jackson countered the theory that Mace Windu was dead by talking about how Jedi can safely fall from great heights.
Lucas told an interesting production tidbit about hiring a mime to help design a completely neutral face for C-3PO. (He should have hired a director and writer for the prequels.)
Ford echoed many fan’s sentiments when he wittily critiqued Lucas’ dialogue writing, saying “You can type this stuff, but you can’t say it!”. Probably held that one in for forty long years. Only safe to say it once Han Solo died.
He also told the story of the chance meeting with Lucas that led to his
casting. While installing a door for Francis Ford Coppola, Lucas and Richard Dreyfuss happened to walk right in. Some people look for open doors to success, Ford builds them.
Lucas joked about only casting Hamill because he was shorter than him. Hamill apparently tried to get Lucas to remove Leia’s classic line “little short for a stormtrooper…”
The panel concluded with an incredibly well done tribute to Carrie Fisher. It captured her unique wit and spark, and drew a few tears from this old codger’s eyes.
Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd delivered a speech for her mother wearing a Leia-like dress before John William’s and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra played ‘Leia’s Theme’, ‘Star Wars Theme’, and the ‘Imperial March’.
We’ll have more news as it comes throughout the Star Wars Celebration, especially any info regarding Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.