7 Things to Look Forward to at Star Wars Celebration Orlando


Star Wars Celebration begins this week in Orlando, FL so we collected a list of some of the things that we’re really excited about and you should be too.

It’s no secret that Star Wars is one of the mightiest franchises around. When you adjust for inflammation, the films are worth about $6.4 billion dollars at the box office. That’s billion. Million with a B. And those are just the films — the franchise has expanded to books, comics, TV shows, podcasts, spinoffs — you name it, there’s probably a rebel alliance sticker on it somewhere.

In light of this and in honor of all the fans who have carried the franchise on their backs for 40 years, when it was cool and even uncool (perish the thought!), Star Wars likes to pack its bags and hold a big party. Each year, they move across the globe (Anaheim, Denver, London, Orlando, etc). Though, according to the ReedPop, Lucasfilm’s partner, the next celebration won’t be held until 2019 — which means, this year’s going to be epic!

So if you’re planning on making it to the Orange County Convention Center this year, we’ve got a couple of things you should keep your eyes peeled for. And if you’re not, then you should probably bookmark Culturess (because we’ll be there!) and keep track of all the live streams for the panels. Star Wars will host one online with help from Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni of the Star Wars Show.

We promise it’s going to be a Big DealTM (and not just for the Resistance) this year. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Dope Cosplay

Every convention is popular for cosplay, but Star Wars is the most special because anyone in attendance literally has a chance to be in a room with 50 Darth Vaders and Ahsoka Tanos at any given time. It’s fun to take pictures with people who spent a lot of time, effort and money into painting their body green for Star Wars Celebration.

However, as fun as it can be, Star Wars doesn’t make light of one of the most important aspects of cosplay — consent. Under their Anti-Harassment policy, they issued this statement:

"Remember: Cosplay is not consent. Keep your hands to yourself. If you would like to take a picture with or of another Star Wars Celebration Fan, always ask first and respect that person’s right to say no. When at Star Wars Celebration, be respectful, be nice, be cool, and be kind to each other."

I’m so proud to be part of the fandom that acknowledges this as clearly and politely as possible.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Logo. Image Provided By Disney/Lucasfilm.

The Last Jedi Trailer

We’ve all been dying and speculating about it for months. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will likely drop our first teaser trailer for December’s film at Star Wars Celebration. This makes sense because Star Wars gave The Last Jedi its own panel on Friday, April 14.

"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."

It’s going to be live streamed and you can expect several appearances from some of the cast from the film. And if the trailer’s already dropped by then (possibly Thursday), then you expect Rian Johnson to expand on some of the little things we saw.

Dec 2, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Carrie Fisher poses for a photo while promoting Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY NETWORK

Carrie Fisher Tributes

The world still hasn’t quite bounced back from Carrie Fisher’s death last December; especially the Star Wars fandom, which has diligently kept her spirit and memory alive as symbols of Princess / General Leia becomes icons and mascots for our current state of affairs. While many awards shows and tributes for Carrie Fisher and her mother have already happened, Star Wars Celebration will be the first time everyone from the franchise will be able to address the fans. So expect a touching tribute or two in Carrie’s honor, because becoming a Disney Legend just doesn’t feel like enough. We also lost Kenny Baker last year, so just expect a lot of tributes and get your tissues ready.

40th Anniversary Panel / All Panels

In addition to The Last Jedi panel, Thursday will kick off the weekend with the 40th Anniversary panel. That’s right — it’s been four decades of Star Wars.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be there with Mark Hamill, along with Hayden Christensen.

"Christensen joins a panel of auspicious Star Wars names to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars saga. Also attending the panel is Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy; Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni; Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker); Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine); Anthony Daniels (C-3PO); Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca); and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)."

And on top of that, Star Wars still promises more surprises at that panel. But since it’s on Thursday, some folks may not be able to attend. But there are still plenty of other panels to check out throughout the weekend.

To see what’s happening and to plan accordingly, here’s the full list of panels.

Hayden Christensen, specifically

Look, however you feel about the Star Wars prequels is irrelevant. It was a long time ago, move on. Hayden Christensen hasn’t attended a Star Wars Celebration in 15 years and it is our responsibility to welcome him with open arms.

Especially if you’re like me and your first introduction to the franchise was the prequels and you can remember sneaking into the theater to watch Revenge of the Sith. Of course, people speculate that his return means he’ll be returning to the franchise as a Force ghost and I’m alright with that. Let’s face it — he’ll be a really hot Force ghost.

(Yes, my jar of sand and I will be taking a photo with him, so keep your eyes peeled.)

Image Provided By Disney/Lucasfilm.

Han Solo / Standalone / Upcoming Projects Information

The Rogue One chapter is behind us and now it’s time to focus on the future. Basically, that means we can talk about the Han Solo standalone and upcoming projects. Star Wars doesn’t really like to slow down when it comes to expanding the brand, so don’t be surprised if they decide to announce three more films, a TV show on ABC and pre-prequel trilogy following Yoda’s rise from Padawan to Jedi Master.

Also, can I get more information on that anthology novel, please?

And Obi-Wan information, too. Please and thank you, Star Wars.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. Image courtesy of Disney.

Exclusive Merch (Funkos and Swag)

Do you like stuff? Yeah, me too.

Luckily, Star Wars Celebration will have tons of stuff, so just open your wallet now. Seriously, I hope you’ve been budgeting for this weekend, because it’s going to be really hard to resist all the goodies when you see them up close and realize that Star Wars Celebration may be your first and last chance to buy some of those amazing Star Wars-y things.

To allow you to plan and curate properly, here’s a short list of things to look out for:

Honestly, this is just the tip of the Death Star. There’s going to be a ton of cool stuff happening at Star Wars Celebration this year, so stay tuned!

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Star Wars Celebration takes place April 13-16 in Orlando, FL.