Star Wars Celebration had their panel for Star Wars: The Last Jedi this morning, and as expected, it delivered the first teaser trailer for the sequel, along with an awesome teaser poster. But along with the goods that fans have been waiting months to see, there were some interesting details about the film that came out during the discussion with director Rian Johnson, producer Kathleen Kennedy and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Mark Hamill. Plus, we met new co-star Kelly Marie Tran and found out who she’s playing.
Below, find out everything we learned during the Star Wars The Last Jedi panel.
Even though Starkiller Base was destroyed in The Force Awakens, that hasn’t stopped our villains from moving forward with their efforts to control the galaxy (much like in The Empire Strikes Back). In fact, one of their victories in The Force Awakens is making things easier for them.
“Starkiller base [was a ] big loss, but they did manage to take out the seat of the Republic and that’s thrown the galaxy into chaos. The First Order [is] jumping on that in the beginning of the movie very aggressively, not sitting on their hands, they’re making some big moves at the start of our film. So things are gonna get dire.”
At the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’re left with quite a literal cliffhanger as Luke Skywalker stands on the edge of a cliffside with Rey reaching out his old lightsaber to him, waiting for a response. Fans have been waiting since then to find out what her meeting with Luke Skywalker will be like, and while we certainly see in the teaser trailer that it involves training, Daisy Ridley had this to say during the panel:
“We go deeper into Rey’s story, and what is very apparent from where we left off in The Force Awakens and where we begin with The Last Jedi is Rey has a certain expectation as to what she might be getting from Luke and what that might entail. As a lot of people know, it’s difficult when you meet your heroes because it might not be what you expect.”
Rian Johnson noted that Daisy revealed “plenty” with that teaser, so it sounds like Luke might not be the wise, helpful master that some fans have expected that we’ll see.
For Mark Hamill’s side, he’s fascinated with what remains unsaid, even as we learn more about what Luke has been up to in The Last Jedi. He remarked:
“In 7, you discover Luke is a hermit on this island. There’s so much unsaid about where he’s been and what he’s done. Actors like to write their own backstory. You want to figure out what you’ve done and where you’ve been. But I realized that wasn’t really important to the story of Force Awakens. I still made it up myself. I tried to show it to J.J. [Abrams] and he was accommodating but basically patted me on my head, gave me a cookie and made me go away. Because whatever. Make it up.
They allude to things that happened, but to a certain extent, it’s not Luke’s story anymore. But I think he’s an important part of the overall arc of the saga. And again, there’s a lot of mystery about him, even within [The Last Jedi]. So you have to fill in your own backstory. I’m sure there will be comics books and video games and novels that tell the story. I shared with Rian a lot of my own things. I have to relate to things that are real in my own life to understand where Luke is at this point in his life.”
Kathleen Kennedy sensed that maybe the audience thought that we weren’t going to get much more from Luke Skywalker in this movie either, so she said, “I’m just gong to break in here and make sure everybody realizes, he is so significant important to this next film. Mr. Modesty.”
John Boyega appeared and gave us just a tease of what Finn is up to during Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Panel host Josh Gad asked if he’s been getting a lot of therapy and bacta tanks in his recovery after The Force Awakens, and Boyega said:
“It’s been painful. It’s been a process. I think Finn definitely stood up for himself at the end of Force Awakens and caught a bit of an injury to the back. He will be back in The Last Jedi and he’s not playing this time.”
We’ll also get to see Finn spend some more time with Poe Dameron, the man who gave the former Stormtrooper his stylish jacket. Boyega confirmed that relationship will continue to blossom. Whether or not it turns into the romance that some fans have hoped to see between the two character remains to be seen though. Another question that’s up in the air is how long Finn will stick around with the Resistance. Boyega says:
“In The Last Jedi, it’s a test for all the characters. Specifically for Finn he wants to find his place now. Is he gonna be part of the Reistance or is he gonna keep running from the First Order.”
I thought that decision had been made in The Force Awakens! But maybe that was only so he could save Rey, who he bonded with after their first meeting. Perhaps he’s still conflicted about sticking with this war.
One of the breakout stars of The Force Awakens was the little ball droid known as BB-8. Plenty of comedic relief came from the way he interacted with the human characters, especially that fiery thumbs up he gives Finn. Director Rian Johnson noted that one of the bits of advice he got going into The Last Jedi regarded the droid’s presence in the movie:
“The best advice I got going into this whole process was from one of J.J. [Abrams’] editors who told me you can’t have enough BB-8. And we followed their advice. He’s the Buster Keaton of this movie. I’m excited for you guys to see what he does in this movie. It’s pretty fun.”
Of course, Buster Keaton was an iconic silent film star known for his physical comedy, and we got a decent amount of that in The Force Awakens, whether he was getting tossed around the Millennium Falcon or shooting electric shocks into Finn. Surely he’ll bring more laughs in The Last Jedi.
In addition to the return of all our old favorite characters, we are getting some new ones as well. So far, we haven’t heard much about many of them, but this panel revealed one of them in the form of Kelly Marie Tran. The panel revealed that she’s playing a character named Rose, who works in maintenance for the Resistance. Rian Johnson noted she has the biggest new part in the movie, and playfully said she’s played by the smallest actor.
Kelly Marie Tran had to keep her role in The Last Jedi a secret for a long time, which included lying to her parents, telling them that she got a role in an indie that was shooting in Canada. She even went so far as to bring them maple syrup from Canada to keep the ruse alive.
We didn’t learn anything more specific about Rose (which was also the code name for Maz Kanata’s character on the set of The Force Awakens, though we’re not sure if that means anything significant). But Johnson did offer this:
“She’s pretty rad…For me, growing up, one of the things – as a kid in Colorado watching these movies –watching Luke Skywalker – and I think it’s why people respond to Rey also – get pulled out of wherever he is and be this unlikely hero, the notion that anyone out there, any of us, can step up and turn into a hero, that’s really where the character of Rose comes from. She’s not a soldier, she’s not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled in a very big way into an adventure in this movie with Finn. And Kelly just embodies that for me.”
We’ve heard rumors of what part of that adventure might entail, but we’ll have to wait and see if they turn out to be true.
During the panel, Mark Hamill talked about coming back again to play Luke Skywalker, albeit a little more properly this time since he’s not just appearing at the end of the movie with zero dialogue. He told a story about how he realized he was scared to be making this film:
“Rian came out to my house as he does with all of us to discuss the script and so forth. I brought him into my TV room and showed him my favorite episode of Sgt. Bilko, you know, important things. I said to him, the truth of the matter is one of the reasons I loved Rogue One so much, and the prequels, is that I was not in them. I could just relax and enjoy. I didn’t have any anxiety about whether I did the right thing or was successful.
I said to Rian, we had a beginning, a middle and end in our original trilogy. I just don’t want to tempt fate. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle over again. The truth be known, Rian, is I’m terrified. You know what he said? ‘So am I.’ And I said now that’s a director I can love.
I’d seen Looper, Brothers Bloom, and Brick. A lot of times you see a director’s films and there’s a thread that runs through them all. His films are all so diverse and all so ambitious in their own way. In this experience he’s rocketed to the top of my all time favorite directors, believe me. I couldn’t have done it without him. He was my seeing eye dog, and all I knew was if Rian’s happy, I’m happy. I totally turned over my performance to Rian and just sort of knew that if he was satisfied, then we got it right.”
If you’d like to watch the entire panel here, you go:
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