Here Is Everything We Learned From The “Star Wars: Episode IX” Panel At Star Wars Celebration – LIVE UPDATES
Star Wars: Episode IX is months away, but we have some big news for you about the movie coming straight from Chicago during the “Star Wars Episode IX” Panel from “Star Wars Celebration 2019”. Here is everything we learned about the new movie during this exciting panel.
Hosted by Stephen Colbert, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode IX director J.J. Abrams were onstage for the proceedings when things kicked off.
Kathleen discussed “the responsibility” they have with the fans, and how they “immersed themselves in everything George [Lucas] created”, and told the fans in attendance they will be very happy to see everything they have to show today.
JJ thanked the live audience for coming, and added that “they’ve been so focused” on finishing the film and was very pleased to see how excited everyone there was about this new movie.
Abrams told Colbert they are doing the editing and VFX currently, and “things are going pretty well so far”. He added that even though this is a three-movie trilogy, it’s also part of a bigger series (the entire nine movie ennealogy), and “it’s been really incredible to look at this thing George created and bring it to a close”.
Kennedy said while creating this film they took everything that inspired George, and the inspiration that JJ brought to it gave it even more depth.
Colbert asked about how they “filled the void” left behind when Carrie Fisher passed away, and Abrams said they really couldn’t. ” We all just loved her… she was the greatest. It was impossible… You don’t recast that part and suddeny have her disappear.” He added that they never wanted to use a CG Fisher, and instead implemented scenes from “The Force Awakens” they shot that were unused. “Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is kind of mind blowing to me.”
Where the movie takes place in the timeline – “The movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film, some time has gone by… in this movie… this is an adventure that the group goes on together. It’s a story that I think, one of the great things about the movie… is the dynamic between the characters. They are just the most wonderful together, and that;s the thing I am most excited for you to see.” – JJ Abrams
CGI VS Practical Effects – “As with The Force Awakens, what we tried to do, despite this being this epic space adventure… that we did everything we could building sets… going to locations in and around England and Jordan and other places. We did everything we could to do have it in camera.” – JJ Abrams
At this point, Anthony Daniels and R2-D2 joined the stage. “3PO is the voice of reason,” Daniels jokingly said. “He is the one that tells you that you are in danger… and waht does everyone do in three trilogies of nine movies? They say shut up! Well, I’m here to say enough! The droid fights back!”
Colbert asked if 3P0 was a droid available to purchase, would he want one. Daniels replied, “I regard him as my best friend in many ways, and I would genuinely want a best friend who cared for me as much as 3P0 does.”
Daniels also announced he has a new memoir coming out (the title will be released tomorrow at 11:30 AM CST), and added the original title was “Telling the odds” until the editors nixed it. The crowd loved it, and we all shook our heads at the foolish editor who just didn’t get it.
Billy Dee Williams came onstage next, and explained, “I never expected to be in this adventure, but I got lucky. I ended up working with somebody that I have a tremendous regard for. JJ Abrams, I love his name! He is a beautiful young man, he is extraordinary.”
“I’ve been doing this a long time, 60 years I think I have been doing this and I have been fortunate enough tow work with some pretty extraordinary people in my lifetime, but this is probably, I would regard this as a real highlight for me. A true genuine highlight for me.”
Colbert asked about what it was like to return as Lando, and he responded, “Lando never left me.”
Abrams and Kennedy said they were starstruck when he came on set for the first time, but Williams was humble about it. “When you are doing this kind of stuff… to really have an opportunity to work with some really wonderful people is something I really enjoy more than just making money. But don’t get me wrong, I love making my money!”
“Just to be able to hang out and play around with ideas like you, Mr Abrams, it was a wonderful experience.”
He also jokingly added he still has people come up to him angry that he betrayed Han Solo back in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Next came Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Naomi Ackie, and BB-8.
Naomi discussed being cast in the film, “I was in bed [when I found out]. I got the call at like seven in the morning. My best friend was sleeping downstairs and my dad was int he house, and I yelled. My dad ran up the stairs and he sat at the end of the bed and he had his hands on his mouth. I open eyed sobbed… and my best friend was sleeping downstairs and I couldn’t tell anyone… it was incredible.”
“Nothing can prepare you for this, no kind of training at all.”
Naomi’s character was finally revealed to be named Jana, and added, “the original group are going on this epic adventure and I am so excited where Jana crosses paths with them. It’s wicked!”
There are rumors of Jana being Lando’s daughter, but Naomi could neither confirm or deny it. “Lando is a very charming man, so he cold have children all over the universe. That’s all I’m saying!”
John Boyega explained what has been up with Finn since we last saw him, as much as he was allowed to. “On this adventure, Finn has found his identity with the resistance… int his film, he is a full-fledged sexy young man, as you can see by the picture.” He was also very excited to have this costume you see above.
Colbert asked about Captain Phasma, and Boyega said that she is gone. “I definitely feel that there is some form of closure with who he identifies with, what is love, what is friendship, that’s what defines him in this movie. But Phasma, she dead!”
Colbert asked about the four-cornered love triangle with Finn, Poe, Rose, and Rey, and said that Finn is the most eligible bachelor in the galaxy. “Finn is single and willing to mingle!”
Oscar Isaac was asked about who is the better pilot, Han or Poe, and he replied, “No one can pilot the falcon like Han, nobody. However, Poe can literally fly anything. I’m just saying Poe is the better Uber driver.”
Colbert asked if everything was a joke to Poe and why he doesn’t take his enemies seriously, and said “I think he takes his love for Finn very seriously. He’s a human. He has no real special powers, yes he is a great pilot but deep down he is a human, and one of the most human things you can do is find the irony and humanity in the most crazy dark moments… I think that is an element of the force, humor.”
Daisy Ridley celebrated her birthday at the event, and the live audience sang “happy birthday” for her before she began to answer Colbert’s questions.
Colbert asked about whether Rey read the books or not from the Jedi and if she has a new lightsaber yet, but she could not offer many answers other than “The lightsaber Luke gave her lives.”
Colbert also asked about if she has any new force powers, but Ridley had to defer to JJ Abrams for an answer.
“There are some extraordinary things that the character and Daisy did in this movie, and some of the things that happened was possibly because we had the most incredible stunt coordinator, Eunice Huthart, who is just the greatest… and some of the things that you elude to will be seen there. Yes, there are some other things and you will see them soon.”
When asked about relationships, Ridley explained “The Kylo and Ren relationship we will have to wait and see.” Boyega said this about Rose, “It’s in the middle of the war, we are trying to figure things out.”
Kelly Marie Tran was brought to tears by the support of the live audience, and it was well deserved. Tran said that narrating the audio book prequel was ” a very long process, but it’s a lot of backstory with her and her older sister, and it definitely helped me with this upcoming one.”
Colbert asked if she kisses Finn again in this movie, but she could not give anything away. When we last saw Rose, she was in a coma, and JJ was asked what has happened since then, but all he responded with was “you have to see what happens in the thing… but I was grateful to Rian Johnson for so many things that he did. The greatest for me was casting Kelly Marie.”
Joonas Suotamo, the actor playing Chewbacca, explained that no changes were made to the Chewie costume for this film. “The character is just so beloved… all throughout these five incredible years that I transformed into this character, and I am so grateful for everyone that has been so supportive. Let’s go Chewie”!
“For me, playing Chewbacca is sort of a duty at this point because when I was sitting in our living room carpet watching the saga… I was sure that in this world there is a place for everyone and that I have to show everyone that, and no matter how big or small you are there is a place for you in this world, and I had to show people that.”
Suotamo also added that porgs “taste best fried”.
Anthony Daniels discussed filming in Jordan, “Jordan was a truly remarkable experience… It was my wife Julie who said, ‘This is Ralph McQuarie’s paintings’.” The film crew began prepping for months before the cast arrived, and they shot there for three weeks.
“There would be time when you would see these big red clouds coming,” Isaac added, “And we wold have to wait for hours for these big huge sand storms to go down.”
Abrams introduced us to an alien named Claude who helps The Resistance, and we saw pics of a few others (Claude is directly below).
BB-8 has a new friend named DIO, who speaks in higher pitched tones than BB-8 and left the audience in silence with how cute he was.
After that, Abrams said it was time to watch the teaser trailer, and off we went. For a full breakdown of that, stay tuned for a separate article coming soon.
What we did see was Rey taking on Kylo Ren in a one on one fight somewhere (and yes, she is battling him in his TIE Fighter), lots of action, Finn and Poe adventuring, Lando in the pilot seat of the Millenium Falcon, some sail barge action on a desert pilot, and a clip with Carrie Fisher hugging Rey, the wreckage of the Death Star… oh, and the maniacal laugh of what sounds like The Emperor!