Five highlights from Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019

A promotional image for Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 is pictured. Via Starwars.com.

This past weekend, fans across the galaxy traveled to Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Ill. for special panels and events on upcoming content — including films, comics, shows and theme parks — as well as plenty of special merchandise, interviews and a special “Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999) anniversary. It’s a perfect time to showcase the strong unity and excitement of the fan base while also inviting plenty of actors from Star Wars to join in on the fun. Thankfully, Celebration didn’t forget about the fans who couldn’t make it. A livestream covered most of the panels and showed off different booths, stores and cosplay. As Celebration closed Monday afternoon, here’s a look at five of the best moments from the massive event.

5. “The Mandalorian” (2019) live-action series

Set to premiere on Disney+, Disney’s streaming service launching this fall, “The Mandalorian” is the first live-action Star Wars TV series ever. Exclusive footage only shared with fans at the panel revealed that the series is set five years after the events of “Return of the Jedi” (1983) and follows plenty of fan-favorite bounty hunters as well as introducing new worlds, new aliens and new faces. It will be a particularly gritty series set far in the outer reaches of the galaxy, and it will allow for a more mature look into the galaxy after the original trilogy. Fans got to see plenty of set pictures, including pictures of the cast and setting. “The Mandalorian” will release on Nov. 12, 2019, and stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano and Carl Weathers.

4. Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge Parks

A Galaxy’s Edge panel unveiled exciting new information regarding the Disneyland and Disney World additions, both of which open this year. The parks are incredibly immersive, giving fans the opportunity to interact with droids, animatronics, actors and ships in Black Spire Outpost, a village on a planet far in the Outer Rim. Fans got special looks at Smugglers Run, an interactive attraction where visitors will get to fly the Millennium Falcon, as well as Rise of the Resistance, a new, mysterious ride that will open after the parks. Visitors will also get to customize their own lightsaber, build their own droid and taste the blue or green milk like Luke Skywalker. There’s plenty more information to be revealed, including other attractions, food and a Disney World hotel.

3. Fans, cosplay and so much excitement

Chicago was packed with people wielding lightsabers, fixing their cosplays and buying plenty of Star Wars merchandise.  Star Wars actors noticed some of the best cosplays, including a Force ghost Luke that Mark Hamill loved on Twitter. Other amazing moments included most of the Rey cosplays gathering together for a meaningful picture and plenty of Leia’s iconic hairstyles. Lego marked the first day of Celebration by breaking a Guinness World Record with 36,440 Lego storm troopers lined up. Fans showed love for some of the more controversial actors in the series, including Kelly Marie Tran, who received a standing ovation and applause at the beginning of the “Episode IX” panel, and Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks.

2. “The Clone Wars” (2008–2014) season 7 content

After the season 6 release of the acclaimed animated series on Netflix in 2014, many fans were desperate for new Clone Wars content. After Disney announced in 2018 that it was developing a season 7 to be released on Disney+, a short trailer release followed. At Celebration, a panel revealed videos of new content, character designs and details about “The Siege of Mandalore,” which will be the main plot of season 7. A trailer revealed everyone’s favorite character Ahsoka reuniting with Anakin, reclaiming her lightsabers — they’re now blue! — and preparing for an epic duel with Darth Maul. It is expected that “The Clone Wars” will release after the launch of Disney+.

1. “Episode IX: ‘The Rise of Skywalker'” (2019)

On Friday, director JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy introduced “Episode IX” to the world, along with some cast members — including fantastic Daisy Ridley — and a few droids. Pictures of the set revealed character costumes and names as well as exciting new planets in the film, and the panel ended with a teaser trailer for the film. It’s most definitely the best teaser ever released — Rey runs and jumps onto a TIE fighter, Leia and Rey hug, there’s epic forest battle and an evil cackle at the end belonging to Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine’s actor, Ian McDiarmid, later came on stage to greet the audience. Finally, fans were given the film’s long-awaited title: “The Rise of Skywalker.” The end to the three-trilogy Skywalker saga will release in December.


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