The force was strong in the UK over the weekend, as fans from around the globe flocked to England for Star Wars Celebration 2016! By now, we’ve all heard the big news: the announcement of Alden Ehrenreich as the new Han Solo, Grand Admiral Thrawn‘s graduation from the now-defunct Expanded Universe into official canon, and of course that goosebump-inducing Rogue One featurette.
But with all the big news clogging up your feed you may have missed a whole slew of smaller stories to come out of Celebration. So let’s dive in, with eight big things you need to know about!
8.) Send some flowers to the Solo residence, because it looks like we’ll all be attending a nerf herder funeral in Episode VIII. Carrie Fisher let the tidbit slip in an interview when asked what had happened to Princess Leia between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Apparently mishearing the question, she replied “Han’s funeral.” Fisher quickly corrected herself, but by then the cat was out of the bag. We already know there will be no time jump between Episodes VII and VIII, so it makes sense that we’ll be catching up with Leia just as she says her final “I know” to Han. The only question now: will Kylo make an appearance? You just know he’s the kinda kid who’d make a family funeral all about him.
7.) Sorry typography nerds, but Rogue One is going to be the first Star Wars movie without an opening crawl, which is…pretty exciting! One of the coolest things about the Star Wars anthology movies is the chance to see some original takes on the franchise. Abandoning one of its most iconic elements seems like a pretty bold declaration of intent. Right from the start this is going to be a new look for that old galaxy we love so much!
6.) In Rogue One, we’ll be introduced to Jedha, a planet director Gareth Edwards referred to as, “the Mecca of Star Wars.” In an interview, he explained that Jedha is where “…People go on pilgrimages and…when the story begins, it’s an occupied territory by the Empire.” It’s also the planet where we find Donnie Yen’s blind monk, Chirrut. Hmm…is the Force so strong there because it’s home to kyber crystals, the element that powers both lightsabers and the Death Star? We heard rumors that the Empire was mining kyber crystals for that very purpose in Rogue One, so could that be why they’re occupying Jedha in the first place?
Aaaand it’s sizzle reel lightning round time! What potential cameos did you miss in that Rogue One behind-the-scenes featurette? Probably a bunch! Here they are…
5.) None other than Grand Moff Tarkin was seen creeping in the background of some quick shots from the flick. Which further corroborates rumors that Peter Cushing would be digitally recreated for Rogue One.
4.) Is Jimmy Smits appearing for the first Star Wars Story as Bail Organa? Some eagle-eyed viewers seem to think that could very well be Bail’s ruggedly-handsome chin peeking out from behind the camera. Big news for for all three prequel fans out there who want to see Episodes I-III incorporated into the Sequel Trilogy!
3.) Ponda Baba is back, baby! Boba was, of course, the Aqualish thug who lost his right arm to a lightsaber blade after instigating a fight with Luke and Ben at the Cantina in A New Hope. Maybe Rogue One will feature one of the twelve systems he got his death sentence on?
2.) Did we catch everyone’s favorite and extremely-recognizable Death Star droid, 5D6-RA-7?! Oh man, who could ever forget good ol’ 5D6-RA-7? You probably remember him best for strolling on by Han, Luke, and Chewie as they rode up the elevator to detention block AA-23 to save Leia.
1.) And finally, we mentioned up top that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be entering the official Star Wars canon when he appears in Season 3 of Rebels. But what’s really exciting about Thrawn’s return is that he’s getting reunited with his creator! Author Timothy Zahn—who introduced Thrawn in his Heir to the Empire novel trilogy in the early 90s—is writing a new novel starring the Expanded Universe’s most popular villain that fits him into the new canon. And not only is it awesome to see a creator re-taking control of his greatest creation, but it opens up all sorts of questions about what other elements of the EU might be making its way into Star Wars proper! Though sadly, we won’t see Mara Jade any time soon. Or at least not in Rebels, per series creator Dave Filoni.
But what do you guys think? What was your favorite part of Star Wars Celebration 2016? Were there any stories we overlooked? How psyched are you for the return of 5D6-RA-7? Let’s discuss!