READ A FULL REPORT AND SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REUNION THAT KICKED OFF CELEBRATION ORLANDO IN HISTORIC FASHION.
Star Wars stars and creators from across the history of the saga came together for “40 Years of Star Wars” — an emotional, funny, warm, and powerful panel that kicked off Celebration Orlando today. The surprises were many: George Lucas, unannounced, emerged to rapturous applause when introduced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and remained onstage throughout. Harrison Ford, also unannounced, received a long standing ovation as he made his first Celebration appearance. Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter, offered a loving tribute to her mother including a line-for-line reading of A New Hope‘s “You’re my only hope” monologue. And the festivities closed with the right-stage curtain pulling back to reveal John Williams and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, playing “Princess Leia’s Theme” in tribute to Carrie Fisher, followed by more Star Wars classics.
Hosted by Warwick Davis, the panel opened with a video looking back at Star Wars, from interviews with fans in 1977 to references in The Simpsons, and would feature more Star Wars legends: Dave Filoni, Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen (making his first Celebration appearance since 2002) together, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Mark Hamill, in addition to Kennedy, Lucas, and Ford. All reminisced, told stories, remembered absent friends, and celebrated Star Wars. Here are the highlights.