Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm’s fan convention honoring the beloved sci-fi saga, kicked off this week in Orlando, Florida, and has already attracted an impressive crowd of fans and honored guests from the franchise.
As one might expect, the death of veteran Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher late last year looms large over the proceedings. During a panel on the first day of the convention, Lucasfilm honored the passing of one of its greatest icons in cinematic fashion with a video tribute to Fisher and her legacy.
The video tribute to Fisher premiered during the “40 Years of Star Wars” panel celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars (now formally known as Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope). The panel was hosted by Willow star Warwick Davis, who appeared in multiple installments of the Star Wars saga over the years, beginning with 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and later in Episode I — The Phantom Menace and Episode VII — The Force Awakens.
Fisher’s absence from the panel seemed sincerely felt by its wide array of guests, which included many of her co-stars in the original trilogy, including Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). Franchise creator George Lucas was also in attendance at the event, and fielded questions about the series’ origins from Davis.
It was previously confirmed that Fisher finished filming her scenes for this year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi before her death in December 2016. Her character, the former princess and now General Leia Organa, is expected to play a more significant role in The Last Jedi than she did in the prior film, but her unexpected death left some questions about Leia’s future in the saga.
Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, recently revealed that 2019’s still-untitled Episode IX will use existing footage of Fisher to include her character in the story.
Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi will hit theaters December 15, 2017.
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