If you’re planning on attending a Star Wars Celebration in the near future, which I would certainly recommend for Star Wars fans of all shapes and sizes, it should be noted that when paying for your ticket, you’re essentially paying to spend inhumanly long hours waiting in line. And it’s worth it. Each panel I was fortunate enough to attend, whether it’s the actual thing or a live stream, proved to be insightful, joyous and thoroughly entertaining. The 40th anniversary panel kicked the celebration off phenomenally, bringing to the stage almost every major player from the original trilogy, as well as newer generations of cast members and creators. From George Lucas to Harrison Ford, the excitement never stopped. Plenty of hilarious stories were exchanged, as well as entertaining banter, giving explanation behind some of the best (and worst) moments in Star Wars history. Plus… y’know… John Williams performed live, which was the coolest, most unexpected thing ever.
Before I delve into The Last Jedi and all its awesomeness, I just want to give a huge shout-out to every single Star Wars fan I was fortunate enough to talk to throughout celebration. I was able to have some of the nerdiest conversations I’ve had in quite some time, freaking out with fellow fans while discussing all things Star Wars, and every one of you made waiting in line so much more fun than it had any right to be. Plus, Star Wars Celebration saw, at long last, the meeting of fellow DCM writer, Chris Campo, and myself. I’m pleased to announce that Chris is even more awesome than I knew he would be, and that I won’t be firing him any time soon. Now, without further to do, it’s time to discuss what’s probably the only reason a lot of you are actually reading this article. And that is The Last Jedi.
As the panel continued, and a plethora of fascinating behind the scenes images and tidbits were released, the energy in the panel was off the charts. Everyone was thrilled. More and more guests continued to flood out, and while I was only in a live stream, every new guest brought with them thunderous applause. Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, newcomer Kelly Marie Tran and even BB8 all made their way out onto the stage, and it’s a panel I would highly recommend checking out on the Star Wars YouTube channel. With the panel coming to a close, Rian Johnson started looking even giddier than he already did. A smile spread across his face, he leans into the microphone and announces “we have for you guys the first teaser… poster.” Sighs of disappointment are met throughout the entire audience. It was one of the single funniest moments in all of Celebration. Those sighs, however, were soon replaced with cheers of joy when the gorgeous one sheet was revealed, followed shortly by the announcement that every one in attendance would be receiving one.
One of the criticisms The Force Awakens faced, something I don’t agree with in the slightest, is that Kylo Ren’s character wasn’t nearly as impactful without the mask on. Personally, I loved the humanity and character insight brought forth without his helmet, although all those who have a problem with it are going to need to sit down when they hear this news. Kylo’s helmet is no more. And I love it. At first, the broken helmet seen in the trailer looked to be Vader’s, but on second viewing I was proved otherwise. It’s Kylo’s. There’s no doubt about. Now armed with an Anakin-looking scar across his right eye, Kylo looks to be fueled with rage, even more so than in The Force Awakens. The shot of him twisting his famous cross guard lightsaber is an intimating, visceral sight to behold, further proving that he’s a Star Wars villain not to be messed with. If his character didn’t threaten you already, it’s safe to guess that he definitely will be after seeing this movie.
“It’s time for the Jedi… to end.” And end they may. So many clues were planted throughout the panel, painting part of a bigger picture that we’re not going to be able to see in its entirety until December. On stage, Daisy Ridley pointed out that meeting your heroes may not always be as you expect, and Mark Hamill has pointed out a few times lately that the Luke we see in this movie is a Luke we haven’t seen before. Rey may have found Luke in the hopes of becoming a Jedi, but it seems Luke may have a different way of thinking. Luke has trained Jedi before, and evidentially it didn’t go well, as told in The Force Awakens through Kylo’s backstory (which we might be seeing on film this time around as Rian Johnson has confirmed the film will feature flashbacks). With Rey, I can’t imagine he’ll want to make the same mistakes twice, so a new type of force user seems likely.
Okay, so maybe Mace Windu doesn’t *exactly* harness both sides of the force, as he is undeniably a Jedi, but the dude’s just so awesome that he has his own style of fighting. Within the Star Wars universe, there are 7 different ways to fight using a lightsaber, a detailed explanation of which can be found here. Mace Windu exclusively uses the seventh, and it’s this way of fighting that gives him his purple lightsaber. When facing an opponent, he channels their anger and uses it against them, essentially harnessing the dark side of the force and using it against his enemies. His style of fighting doesn’t directly correlate to finding balance in the force, but it’s interesting to see that the idea of a central character finding balance within the force and taking advantage of both light and dark is an idea that’s been played around with for a number of years now. Lucasfilm could finally be following through with this long thought of idea with The Last Jedi, and it’s fairly safe to say I’m excited.
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