The Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel started Friday morning, bringing cast members to the stage and offering the first look at the next installment to the Star Wars franchise.
The presentation started with Josh Gad's Instagram video which sees him constantly questioning Daisy Ridley on set of a movie they starred in together. Gad took the stage to host the panel. He welcomes the crowd and says if he weren't hosting he would be in it before showing off a picture of himself and a friend dressed as Darth Maul and Yoda attending a screening. Two years ago, he was lucky enough to be invited to the premiere.
It's time to talk about The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy take the stage.
"We took a big risk last year when we did Rogue One," Kennedy said. "I want to thank every single on e of you for showing up and not only showing up but also giving us a lot of love because it gives us the confidence to keep going in that direction."
The crowd erupts when the attention turns to the director. He spent four hours talking with the crowd while they waited in line last night. He admits, he started getting scared after watching the 40 years panel yesterday. "This is the best fan family in the world, man," Johnson said. "You guys are the best. Made me feel so good."
"We're in post production," Johnson said of the status of The Last Jedi. "We're still editing but we're very far along. It's going quite well and it's all coming together."
"He is on his way to standing alongside many of the great filmmakers that I've had the opportunity to work with," Kennedy says of Johnson. "He has an amazing, uniqueness to what he does. He also writes as beautifully as he directs which is quite incredible. He writes amazingly fierce and independent women. He's also got a great sense of humor and that, as everybody in this room knows, is pretty important to Star Wars."
Gad asks Johnson about filming at Pinewood Studios.
"We had the time of our lives making this movie. It was such a joyful experience from top to bottom. We were shooting in Pinewood studios in England," Johnson said. "For me, growing up, Pinewood Studios was like Camelot."
Gad points out that they spent time in Ireland.
Johnson thanks the people of Ireland for being so welcoming and says the team shot beautiful landscapes there. He took a lot of pictures on set with a film camera he got before making Looper. "I just had this camera on my arm the entire time," Johnson said. A few images flash across the screen of the cast and crew on set, including Daisy Ridley holding a lightsaber.
The attention turns to Carrie Fisher. "It was extraordinary, needless to say," Kennedy said. "Carrie is remarkable in the movie. What Rian wrote and the performance she ends up giving, I think you guys are gonna find that an amazing tribute to her talent."
"It was such a moving tribute yesterday," Johnson said. "I love her so much, man, I just adore her. I connected with her first and foremost as a writer."
"I'd go to her house, we'd sit on her bed for hours and just go through the script and just have this stream of consciousness, ad lib sessions," the director remembers. "There would be a four word line of dialogue that would be the distillation of all of that that would be like, 'Brilliant!'"
Daisy Ridley takes the stage. "My heart is pounding," Ridley said. "Thank you so much!"
He asks if she and Luke Skywalker are related, if she is a Skywalker, if her name is Rey Skywalker, if her name is Rey Kenobi, and she won't answer any of the questions.
"I can tell you some things," Ridley said. "We go deeper into Rey's story and what is very apparent from where we left off in The Force Awakens...is Rey has a certain expectation in what she might get from Luke and what that might entail and as people know, it's difficult when you meet your heroes because it's not quite what you expect."
She quickly credits the filmmakers and artists for creating Rey's costume which thousands of people are now wearing. She is happy to be a part of the role because of how people talk about her. Johnson is quick to give her more credit than she gave herself.
"Luke's first words," are what Ridley is most excited about for The Last Jedi. With that, Gad introduces BB-8 to the stage. Gad jokes back and forth with BB-8 before the droid leaves the stage.
Johnson says the best advice he got from J.J. Abrams' team was "You can't have enough BB-8." As a result, "He's the Buster Keaton of this movie, now."
Finn actor John Boyega is brought onto the stage. "It's been painful," Boyega said of Finn's current situation. It's been a process. Finn definitely stood up for himself at the end of The Force Awakens and caught a bit of an injury to his back. He will be back in the Last Jedi and he's not playing this time. "
"It's good to be home," Boyega said of returning to Star Wars.
Oscar Isaac couldn't join today. "Absolutely," Boyega says of develpoment for Finn and Poe's relationship. "Poe is my boy! There's always a new adventure for us to go on."
"In The Last Jedi, it's a test for all the characters, but specifically for Finn, he wants to find his place now. Is he gonna be a part of the Resistance or is he gonna keep running away from the First Order?"
"Starkiller base, big loss, big loss," Johnson said. "But that did manage to take out the seat of the republic. The First Order are jumping on that and the beginning of our movie...Things are gonna get dire."
"There might a few. We have a couple really fun new characters coming ut. A few of whom I'm really excited to introduce you guys to." One is here today. "She is one of my favorite people." He introduced Kelly Marie Tran.
Tran went to Star Wars Celebration in London last year. She had a great time. Johnson takes a photo of the three cast members.
"[Tran's family] didn't know for four months after," Tran said of lying about the role. "I told them I was doing an indie movie in Canada. At one point I actually got some maple syrup so I could bring it back to them so they thought I was really in Canada."
"My character's name is Rose," Tran said. "She's part of the Resistance and she works in maintenance and I just can't wait for you to meet her."
"For me, growing up, one of the things as a kid in Colorado watching these movies...the notion that anyone out that, that any one of us can step up and turn into a hero," Johnson added. "That's where the character of Rose comes from...She gets pulled into a big adventure with Finn and Kelly just embodies that for me."
Finally, Mark Hamill takes the stage to an explosive crowd.
"I might be one of the most valuable characters to Lucasfilm, not because I'm a legacy character, but thanks to short term memory loss, I don't remember what I had for breakfast, so I don't remember. Im joking but even when I went in and did ADR, and saw this footage, it was like an out of body experience. It's so contained in its own world. You show up in jeans and a t-shirt. It's really scary. Rian came out to my house like he went to all of us to discuss the script and so forth...I said to him the truth of the matter is one of the reasons I love Rogue One so much and the prequels is that I'm not in them!"
"I said to Rian, 'We had a beginning a middle and an end in our original trilogy. I just don't want to tempt fate. You can't catch lightning in a bottle again. Truth be told Rian, I'm terrified!' He said, 'So am I1' That's a director I could love. I 'd seen Looper and Brothers Blue and Brick....His films are all so diverse and all so ambitious in their own way and in this experience he's rocketed to the top of my all time favorite directors. 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."
"In 7, you discovered Luke as a hermit on this island, there's so much unsaid about where he's been and what he's done...I realized that really wasn't important to the story of Force Awakens. I still made it up myself. I tried to show it to JJ and he was accommodating but basically patted me on the head, gave me a cookie, and told me to go away!" "I think he's an important part of the overall arc of the saga."
"There's a lot of mystery about him even within the film."
"I'm sure there will be comic book and video games and novels that tell the story," Hamill said.
"He is so significantly important to this next film," Kennedy added."
"I see my daught--- I see my colleague, Daisy," Hamill said.
He was a little nervous about the cliffhanger ending to The Force Awakens. "I lost total credible with the public through social media because I lie all the time!" Hamill said.
"Listen, you people, first of all, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be sitting here right now," Hamill says to the fans. "You're there for us all the time. In good times, in bad times....I thank you all so much when you think about how we've effected so many people and inspired so many people."
"I met a little boy who ha lost his arm because of tuberculosis and he told me, 'I wasn't worried because Luke lost his hand,'" Hamill remembers.
Gad asks the director is he brought anything for the fans. Johnson is excited to share a teaser poster. Gad jokes about concluding the panel. Kennedy tells the crowd everyone gets one. Gad asks if there is anything else?
The crowd gets on their feet. Rian Johnson introduces the trailer to conclude the panel.