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Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023 wrap up

For four days, 7-10 April 2023, Star Wars fans from around the world congregated at ExCeL London to experience Star Wars Celebration 2023!

What is Star Wars Celebration?

Put simply, in the words of the creators themselves, “Star Wars Celebration is the ultimate fan experience focused on the galaxy far, far away…”. It is a four-day event filled with major announcements from Lucasfilm and Disney, relating to all things Star Wars – new movies, TV series updates, park updates, and new merchandise, along with stalls full of merchandise to purchase and the best place to showcase your newest galactic cosplay! You can even meet some Star Wars stars and creators – get a photo with them, an autograph, or both! It is a must-attend for any Star Wars fan!

Each day is filled with panels from Lucasfilm and Disney, where they make announcements, give updates on projects in production, show new trailers, and so much more. Below are my top 5 of the most exciting announcements from the convention!

Who was there?

This year, the line up was huge. Along with the major Star Wars creators, like Dave Filoni, many film and TV stars were in attendance. There are too many to list, but here’s the major ones:

  • Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker)

  • Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi)

  • Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka Tano)

  • Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine/Sith Lord Darth Sidious)

  • Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)

  • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)

  • Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in the animated series)

  • Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma)

  • Ming Na Wen (Fennec Shand)

  • Vivien Lyra Blair (Young Leia Organa)

ONE. Disney Parks: Where Star Wars Comes to Life

Along with a passionate advertisement for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (an announcement of a playlist launching on streaming services in time for May 4th), during their panel, Disney announced they’re making changes to the attraction that started the Lucasfilm/Disney partnership back in 1987 – Star Tours. In 2024, the three Star Tours rides at Disneyland Park in California, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and Disneyland Paris in France, will welcome new characters and take guests on new exhilarating adventures across the galaxy. Hopefully C-3PO’s skills at piloting a Starspeeder have… well… improved.

Their other major announcement was the music of Gaya, the superstar who performs aboard the Halcyon starcruiser, will be a new part of R3X’s playlist as he spins the tunes at Oga’s Cantina at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. They’ll also be releasing a 12-inch vinyl of Gaya’s latest album!

TWO. 2025 Star Wars Celebration is heading to… JAPAN!

The Celebration ended with the announcement of the location of the next Star Wars Celebration. In mid-April 2025 (18th-20th), Star Wars fans will descend on Makuhari Messe, Japan! For those of us in the southern hemisphere, and closer to Asia, this is amazing news! Makuhari Messe is located in the Chiba Prefecture, only 1-1.5 hours from Tokyo (depending on your mode of transport) and less than half an hour from Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea! Plus, it’s at the tail end of cherry blossom season – who needs an even better reason to visit Japan?!

THREE. Welcome to a new Jedi Order… and see where it all began

Lucasfilm and Disney announced we will be graced with THREE new movies, released over the next few years. It’s still too early to say much about these films, but the announcements were enticing!

More Dave Filoni genius incoming

The creator of Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and so much more, will be giving us a film that will be the culmination of series like The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and The Book of Boba Fett and will feature a big, epic battle. This is all the information we have at the moment.

Dawn of the Jedi

A new movie, directed by James Mangold, will tell stories of the first Jedi, taking place 25,000 years before the events of the Skywalker saga. Honestly, the possibilities are endless for this time period and I, for one, am very excited.

Rey is back!

Fifteen years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is back and building a new Jedi Order and going up against the forces rising to stop her. That’s all we know for now – well, except that Daisy Ridley will be reprising her role as Rey!

Kathleen Kennedy, James Mangold, Dave Filoni, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

FOUR. Ahsoka teaser trailer and cast announcements

During the Ahsoka panel, the first teaser trailer was released, and boy did it cause some excitement! It showed Ahsoka Tano, played wonderfully by Rosario Dawson, alerting friends of a growing darkness she is feeling, and the return of a top commander of the Empire. We were also given a first look at the live action adaptations of some of the Ghost crew from the animated Star Wars Rebels series: Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren, Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger (though he only appeared as a hologram), and Mary Elisabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla!

Another huge announcement from this panel was that Lars Mikkelsen will be returning to the role of Grand Admiral Thrawn, this time in live action form, a character he voiced in all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels! Ahsoka will premiere on Disney+ in August 2023.

FIVE. The Acolyte

When The Acolyte was announced at the 2022 Star Wars Celebration, not much information was given and no one knew what to expect – at SWCE 2023, we got more to whet our appetites! The new series will be released on Disney+ sometime in 2024 and will take place during the final years of the High Republic era, approximately a hundred years before the events of the Phantom Menace, and will star Amanda Stenberg, Le Jung-jae, Joonas Suotamo, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Rebecca Henderson. The showrunner, Leslye Headland, describes the series as “Frozen meets Kill Bill”. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will! The series will be heavily influenced by Martial Arts movies, intense and have a much darker tone than the other live action series that are out now.

This series will be the first time we get a major series that will focus on the Dark Side and be from their perspective! As the Sith use the word Acolyte to designate their apprentices, and with it being dark and intense, this is building up to be quite the watch!

BONUS. Return of the Jedi returning to cinemas

It has been forty years since Return of the Jedi graced our screens, the conclusion to a trilogy of movies that changed the filmmaking landscape forever. In celebration of it’s 40th anniversary, the film will be retuning to select cinemas for a limited time. Screenings for Return of the Jedi in the US will take place 28 April–4 May, and 28 April–1 May in the UK. So far, no other regions or dates have been announced, stay tuned for more information!

Announcements were also made about The Bad Batch, Andor, Skeleton Crew, Phase III of the High Republic, Tales of the Jedi, Star Wars Visions, and the game Jedi Survivor. Check out the Star Wars website for all the announcements!

Who else is excited for the upcoming films, series, and other content? Who is planning for a Japan trip in April 2025? I know I am! If we planned a group trip, would you be in?

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