5 things we learned about The Force Awakens at the Star Wars Celebration event

Everyone’s buzzing about the latest teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, but in the lead-up to Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s unveiling of the highly anticipated preview, the cast and creative team for the film spent a while discussing the much-anticipated new addition to the beloved franchise in front of a live (and live-streaming) audience at this week’s Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim, CA.

Along with assembling an impressive lineup of the franchise’s veteran stars and newcomers that will be introduced in The Force Awakens, the event also included a hosted Q&A segment that revealed a few savory morsels of information certain to pique the interest of Star Wars fans. Below are five things we learned from the Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens preview event at Star Wars Celebration.

That’s not the desert planet you thought it was.

Star Wars Desert Planet

The backdrop for several scenes in the trailers for The Force Awakens is a desert planet that many assumed to be Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine. Not so, according to J.J. Abrams, who referred to the planet seen in that early teaser and the new footage as “Jakku” (pronounced “Jah-Ku”). The spelling for the planet’s name hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s interesting to know that at least in this particular instance, Star Wars isn’t going home again.

It’s a buddy story… sort of.

star wars the force awakens ridley boyega

While cast newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac couldn’t go into too much detail regarding their characters or the dynamic of their relationships in The Force Awakens, the trio did seem to confirm the general roles they each play in the Star Wars universe. Boyega indicated that his character Finn is indeed a Stormtrooper, while Isaac confirmed that his character Poe Dameron is “the best freakin’ pilot in the galaxy.” As for Ridley, she described her character Rey as a “scavenger.” How these three characters end up on an adventure together, though, is anyone’s guess.

R2 gets a facelift and a new, non-CGI rival for cutest droid

R2 D2 robot

During the event, iconic android R2-D2 made a guest appearance on the stage, rolling out to a chorus of cheers and applause. Along with revealing that R2 will feature a few new tools and features in The Force Awakens, the conversation around the beloved droid eventually led to the introduction of another robotic member of the cast: BB-8, the memorable ball-based android seen in the first trailer for the film.

Proving that the droid is not solely a computer generated image, BB-8 rolled around the stage to the audience’s amazement, balancing his (her?) R2-style head along the soccer ball shaped torso in brilliant form. The two droids shared the stage, and exchanged what sounded like some good-natured smack-talking (or beeping and buzzing, in this case). Abrams confirmed that there may indeed be some animosity between the veteran droid and his modern counterpart, and that the passing of the torch might not be limited to the franchise’s human characters. BB-8’s physical form was emphasized as an important point for the actors and the overall feel of the movie, and could be seen as a microcosm of all that was wrong in the CGI-dominated second trilogy, and all that (hopefully) the new film gets right.

No buns? Say it ain’t so, Leia!

Leia

In a particularly lighthearted moment during the event, returning Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher was asked whether her character, Princess Leia, would be sporting the iconic side-bun hairstyle that she famously wore in the 1977 film. Fisher indicated that the side-buns had gone the way of her metal bikini from Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, and weren’t likely to make an appearance in The Force Awakens.

The new Star Wars has space ninjas.

Kylo Ren

Okay, so the term “space ninjas” was never actually uttered during the event, but the teaser did reveal an up-close look at Kylo Ren, the cloaked and seemingly cybernetic wielder of that fascinating triple-bladed lightsaber seen in the initial trailer.

Honestly, if that’s not a space ninja, we’re not sure what is.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015 — and, as today’s revelry has proven, it can’t come soon enough.

Gaming

A new hope is lost as Disney dismisses rumors of a revival of Lucasfilm Games

According to job listings on the Disney website, the company has plans to revive Lucasfilm Games. This comes as a surprise following the shuttering of LucasArts in 2013 and could potentially mean more Star Wars games.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Avengers: Endgame: Everything we know about the Infinity War sequel

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War.
Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Movies & TV

Bear Grylls goes interactive with Netflix’s Bandersnatch-esque You vs. Wild

Think you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness, Bear Grylls-style? You vs. Wild, an eight-episode interactive Netflix series that takes cues from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, will let you prove it.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in April 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for April 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

In the new Hellboy clip, a giant problem leaves our favorite demon unimpressed

Hellboy is returning to the big screen in April 2019, with Stranger Things actor David Harbour taking on the title role. Here's everything we know so far about the reboot of the franchise.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Movies & TV

Study up for season 8 with the best Game of Thrones theories

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is still on the horizon, meaning there's still time to brush up on the best theories about the show. Whether you're one of the last adherents of the Cleganebowl or a King Aerys truther, here are our top theories.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 trailer goes full ’80s with a monstrous finale

The first trailer for Stranger Things season 3 has been released by Netflix, and it offers a peek at what the kids -- and adults -- of Hawkins, Indiana, have been up to since the otherworldly events of the second season.