Excitement and concern: the big news of Star Wars Celebration 2019

Courtesy of Lucasfilm

With the end of 2019’s iteration of the annual Star Wars Celebration, new details about upcoming Star Wars content has been revealed. As Star Wars fanatics, we sat down to discuss all different topics and certain viewpoints that we had following all of the news.

 

Adam Alvernaz: Star Wars Celebration was this past weekend and from that we received a new trailer for “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker”. What were your initial thoughts from the trailer alone?

 

Colin Carney: First, I definitely had a fanboy moment from seeing the Death Star and then the now infamous Palpatine cackle. That was the best moment in the trailer by far.

 

A: Yeah, hearing Palpatine back was great but I also had some reservations. Mainly because the sequel trilogy lacks a main villain and I feel that Disney is using him as a stand-in antagonist. I hope they present him well.

 

C: I also had reservations but my excitement from hearing his laugh and seeing the fallen Death Star overshadowed all of that. We still don’t know what role Palpatine will play in Episode IX, but it’s safe to say that since he’s in the first reveal trailer that he’ll have a significant role in this final installment. With that said, it does come down to how they reintroduce him into the series.  Depending on what avenue they decide to pursue, Palpatine’s addition could end up creating more problems than answers which will be crucial to justifying his return.

 

A: I don’t have an issue with him being in the film and I feel that they could easily write him in as the big villain and redeem Kylo Ren. I feel like there are multiple scenarios Disney could use Palpatine in, especially after Episode VIII. With the fanbase being so fractured and torn, it’s hard to see a scenario where Palpatine’s inclusion will appease everyone.

C: Disney stated that it was their plan all along to have Palpatine appear in Episode IX. So I hope that they have a strategy with Palpatine putting him into the film rather than just using him to appease the fans. Since their acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney has continually explored how Palpatine had several contingency plans following his death and even hinted at his influence on the creation of the First Order. All this combined with the reveal that he’s returning to Episode IX makes me believe Disney’s statement regarding their plan for Palpatine as opposed to his addition being purely done to appease fans.

 

A: While I don’t disagree with Disney’s decision, I don’t know if there’s going to be a very justifiable answer to have him be a threat or a danger to the rebellion. Whichever avenue Disney does decide to follow, I hope that they have material prepared to support it and keep it plausible. The trailer also featured some other great moments showing Rey fighting a TIE Fighter and Lando back in the Millenium Falcon.

C: Agreed, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of story since it is only a teaser and our first look, but it still hit most of what fans wanted to see. Especially with the wide shot of the cast before the Palpatine reveal. And with regards to Lando, it was nearly impossible for me not to smile when I saw him piloting the Millenium Falcon alongside Chewie.

 

A: I absolutely agree, Lando’s return will definitely have some great potential for good character moments and could even add to his exact whereabouts between the original trilogy and the sequels. After “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” I don’t think I would have expected them to go with a main villain from the past, especially with all the risks Rian Johnson took with that film.

 

C: I have faith that JJ Abrams will play it a lot safer with “Rise of Skywalker” and deliver on a great end to the sequel trilogy while still paying homage to the past films like he did with Episode VII. Throughout the panel, JJ and Kathleen Kennedy repeatedly stated that Episode IX was not only the end of the sequel trilogy, but also the end of the entire Skywalker saga spanning all three trilogies.  With that in mind, the idea that they are bringing back the emperor, who fans know was the big bad for the first two trilogies, further indicates that Episode IX will tie in all the films and offer what will hopefully be a meaningful end to the entire saga. Palpatine’s addition will hopefully tie the sequel trilogies plot to the past films in a way that will provide a meaningful end to the entire saga.

 

A: I do want that meaningful, definitive end point for the saga as well. I just hope that the emperor being a part of that means we get more than just a one-note explanation and subsequent death. Going beyond that, we also saw “The Mandalorian” panel that brought new and exciting details about the first live-action Star Wars show.

 

C: It was probably the thing I was most excited for in terms of Celebration content. Episode VIII divided the fans, but I feel that this relatively unexplored aspect of Star Wars, the underworld post-Episode VI, will rope in all Star Wars fans. They didn’t show the full trailer, unfortunately, but I am excited to see this western-style Star Wars show.

 

A: It’s definitely an area that Star Wars has yet to travel to in terms of high-budget TV, so it will be an interesting watch to see what they can do with that idea driving the show.

 

C: They are definitely trying to invoke that mature audience to explore some themes that we haven’t seen yet. It’s exciting to see that they are embracing the underground element that is very present in Star Wars lore.

 

A: You mentioned in the past that the creative team behind the project is very promising, can you elaborate on that a bit?

 

C: Seeing that Jon Favreau is the show runner, producer and writer helps give me hope for “The Mandalorian.” His work on the first two Iron Man films and the live action remake of “The Jungle Book” prove to me that Favreau is talented behind the camera. Combined with the fact that he’s also behind the new “Lion King” live action remake, this shows that Disney trusts him with big properties. Alongside him, we also have Dave Filoni who was also behind “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and was instrumental in making that show a hit and redeeming the prequel era of Star Wars. Hardcore fans are already aware of Favreau and Filoni’s fandom, but it was immediately evident during the livestream that these two are genuinely thrilled to work together on this show as they could hardly hide their excitement for the project. Favreau was thrilled to announce that the show will feature state-of-the-art effects while also utilizing practical effects that are beloved in Star Wars, and spoke about how he had been working on this script for years with help from Filoni. That being said, the show is filled with talent beyond these two, both in front and behind the camera, with directors like Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard signed on to direct episodes. With regards to actors, everyone on the panel expressed their excitement and lead actor Pedro Pascal’s comments describing his titular Mandalorian as Clint Eastwood in space only heightened my enthusiasm.

 

A: I’m glad that the show is coming along well and that the creative team behind the scenes is also really committed to making this happen in the best way it can. It’s always a great sign when fans of a brand are the ones committed to making the next big project. I feel that the creative team behind the project has a lot going for them, and I hope that working with Disney to create the show didn’t create any roadblocks in terms of what they could and couldn’t do. Mainly, I’m looking forward to the originality it can bring to the Star Wars franchise as a whole. As you said before, the show has a lot of potential and I would love to see that realized in full. It also was revealed to us that the show will premiere on Disney’s new streaming service, what were your thoughts on that as a whole?

 

C: Yea, the service is called Disney Plus and will open November 12 of this year. It will feature both “The Mandalorian” and “Clone Wars” season 7. It will open with a price of $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year, and will bundle Hulu and ESPN.

 

A:  I feel that this could be a great competitor to other streaming services, especially with Netflix raising its prices. The bundle with both Hulu and ESPN is a great way to get new subscribers, especially with “Clone Wars” premiering on the service.

 

C: Yes, and judging from what we saw at Celebration, I think that “Clone Wars” season 7 is shaping up to be a great conclusion to the series as a whole.

 

A: All of the clips we saw were very interesting and make me excited to see what the team will be doing now that they have unrestricted access to concluding the series how they want. Disney’s actions towards “Clone Wars” in the past with their numerous cancellations was definitely the wrong call and I hope the team was able to recuperate from that and make this final season one of the best yet.

 

C: Many of the arcs we will see in season 7 will be things from the past that they finished but couldn’t release because of the cancellations. I have high hopes for what they will do for the ending, and how they will provide closure for fans. The confirmation during this panel that the series will conclude with the as-yet untold “Siege of Mandalore” storyline that would pit Darth Maul against Ahsoka Tano got me the most excited especially when Dave Filoni revealed that the lightsaber battle between the two would be motion captured with the original Maul actor (body only, he didn’t do the voice) Ray Park returning to the role. My one complaint, that I know is selfish, is that I wish we had more. They have already confirmed that the series will be comprised of 12 episodes and each arc that is covered will likely consist of two or three episodes with three arcs already confirmed. It has long been known that the creative team behind the show had written and partially animated several episodes before the show was cancelled, and that we likely won’t see them all in this new season, but this complaint is me being greedy and I have nothing but high hopes and endless excitement for this final season.

 

A: I most certainly agree, the next season of “Clone Wars” will be some of the best the show has to offer. It will be interesting to see how exactly the Siege of Mandalore plays out and in what direction they will take some characters who have futures outside of “Clone Wars.” Continuing these characters’ storylines onto “Star Wars Rebels” will be interesting and answer quite a few questions. There are many avenues they could’ve gone with to continue the series, but I’m happy we are even getting a conclusion at all. Looking past the TV show, we also heard about some news regarding Electronic Arts’ new video game, “Jedi: Fallen Order.”

 

C: The trailer they showed at Celebration did not show as much as fans would have hoped, but did well enough to get fans excited for the concept of the game.

A: It definitely showed lots of story elements that we should see when the game gets released later this year. I wasn’t too surprised they didn’t show gameplay because the E3 gaming expo is only in a couple of months. I do expect to see more of “Jedi Fallen Order” shown there, as it would be more appropriate. The trailer definitely showed heavy story elements, with the Inquisitors hunting down the last Jedi who survived Episode III.

C: Seeing how the story takes place in that niche time, I am excited to see what direction they will take with the story. I’ve always loved the addition of Imperial Inquisitors (Jedi hunters) into canon and seeing that one of them will be a main antagonist in the game gets me excited, plus they revealed a new stormtrooper variant, the Purge Trooper, and I’m a sucker for any new stormtrooper. With that all said, based on the limited footage we were shown I can say that I’m hopeful for this game and excited to see how it plays into the larger Star Wars universe.

 

A: I do hope that EA will finally give us a great Star Wars game especially after all the controversy surrounding its most recent “Battlefront” titles. With Respawn Entertainment taking the project, I find that they will be able to deliver on a great game. They have always been seen as innovators for the various genres they cover, especially with the “Titanfall” series. They revealed that the game would not be stealth-focused and will be combat-oriented with a scope of the larger world.

C: It’s refreshing to see that a new Star Wars game will be a single-player experience. I personally stuck with “Battlefront 2” through the good and bad. Currently, I feel like the game is in a great place and the team did well to deliver on a lot of the promises that they were hoping to achieve.

A: I definitely agree, it really makes me hopeful for the future of the title even if EA is publishing it. I still think that they can make a great game if they just focus on gameplay and push the combat mechanics further to make a solid title. I just hope we don’t have another mess at launch like the latest “Battlefront” games.

C: Of course, I hope the game is great and really can’t wait to see what more they reveal in the coming months.

A: From all of this news, I find that this Celebration was one of the better ones as they really revealed a lot of information for what’s to come in the next year and it will be interesting to see how these projects develop over time. This year’s Star Wars Celebration definitely satisfied the fans and excited any and all Star Wars enthusiasts for what’s to come in 2019.

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