10 Things we learnt at Star Wars Celebration Europe

After an incredible weekend in the Excel Centre in London, The dust settles on Star Wars Celebration Europe, and unfortunately, the adventure comes to an end. We had an incredible time at SWCE, it was amazing to get the opportunity to hang out with so many passionate Star Wars fans from all around the globe.

That said, the dust settling period is the perfect opportunity to step back and reflect on the finer detail from the weekend. Here are the Top 10 Things we’re excited about following Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016.

1. Rogue One

Captain Phasma makes for a great host! Gwendoline Christie was a surprise host for the Rogue One Panel and she performed her duties with humour, enthusiasm and a warming smile. Gwendoline took charge of the conversations and brought them in a humorous yet serious direction when she needed to. A “technical” error was taken in her stride and she was quick as a flash to involve the gathered fans, addressing them as if you would a family member sitting two feet away from you on the nearest couch. It was fantastic to see that the terrible atrocity of what occurred in Nice was not untouched as the crowd gave a moments silence in memory of those who had lost their lives. Well done Gwendoline!

The title of “A Star Wars Story” raised numerous questions which thankfully, our illustrious leader Kathy Kennedy (Sorry your excellency) shed some light on the subject.

“We have this amazing opportunity to tell stories inside this incredible universe. In the past, all the Star Wars movies have been made as either sequels or prequels.

“Now we can have these standalone movies that can explore different characters from different places and different planets… Different experiences all the way around, and I think that’s something all of us are extremely excited about.”

Gareth Edwards had a true “Nerdgasm” when meeting the one and only James Earl Jones. The incident occurred during a recording session, of course our director couldn’t tell us what role he’s playing as he didn’t want to give away any major spoilers. Mr Earl Jones simply reciting the word ‘Power” in ‘that” voice sent Gareth over the edge and the Nerdgasm was in full flow.

The initial idea for Rogue One was conceived as an episode for television roughly 13 years ago. It began during a shoot in Sydney where episode III work was being done and John Knoll who of course we all know is heavily involved in visual effects, heard rumours that George and Rick were considering working on a tv show. John then began playing around with ideas and what stories he could tell. The end product was the idea of how the plans for the Death Star were stolen, an almost “mission impossible” if you will.

Ben Meldensohn will be a terrific villain! Having been lucky enough to see him emerge from the curtain (in character) with his death squad flanking him, accompanied by the music which I believe will be his theme or at least the Rogue One version of the Imperial march, he gives off a vibe of cunning and sophistication. Director Krennic is described as being different from any other Star Wars Villain and a superior intellectual which makes him a force to be reckoned with.

We have a new planet! Scarif which appears to be an almost aquatic paradise was the location of the battle scene which was displayed in the new trailer and of course appeared on the exclusive Rogue One poster those of us in attendance were lucky to receive. Scarif is infact the Maldives, and Gareth Edwards stated that to create a paradise world you must travel to paradise.

Cassian Andor (portrayed by Diego Luna) appears to be the first and only ally to our protagonist Jyn Erso. Cassian is a member of the rebel intelligence and along with Jyn, they become part of a bigger team full of conflicts and tribulations. It’s Cassians job to hold the team together.

The humorous Alan Tudyk is portraying the Imperial Droid K-2SO who was reprogrammed and now works for the good guys. Alan also revealed that though he may have a tough exterior, he is quite possibly the best friend Cassian has. To which Diego replied “possibly the only one”.

Jyn Erso appears to have been inspired by a certain “Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder”. Felicity Jones stated that Jyn possess a gun belt inspired by none other than Han Solo.

There was a pretty big spoiler revealed by one of the actors which we wont tell you about here, but a quick google search should reveal who said what.

Finally (just so I can gloat) those of us in attendance were shown a different trailer to those of you who weren’t lucky enough to get into the panel. All I can say is.. YES, the question on everyones mind, the answer is YES. Upon leaving the panel we were each given the new Rogue One Poster as a thank you.

2.Rebels

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Not only did we watch the first two episodes of Season 3, but we learnt a lot about where our heroes are since the devastating events of Season 2. The end of Season 2 of Star Wars Rebel felt a like the traditional middle arc of a Star Wars trilogy. Our hero’s are down, the team are some what splintered, Evil seems to have been given a chance to capitalise, and we know that in Season 3, there is a steep upward battle ahead for our protagonists.

Kanan:

Kanan is sporting an awesome new eye shield, as a result of being blinded at the hands of Maul. He also has a new beard, which give his a new air of distinction and regal, all good masters had a beard.. Obi Wan, Qui-Gon…. Luke?

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Interesting design fact we learnt is that the eye mask that Kanan wears is actually a blaster shield, repurposed by Sabine to how it looks now, the markings on the front, though they look awesome, are actually for the viewer. They act as a point of reference so that we know where Kanan is looking.

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From the First 2 episodes, it seems that Kanan is not phased by the blindness, and manages to move around pretty gracefully. I was unaware if the blindness would kill the potential for the character but after the first 2 episodes, I am confident we have a really great story on the way.

Ezra:

First and foremost, Era looks like he has grown up a lot in the interim between Season 2 and Season 3. He has lost his infantile floppy hair cut in exchange for a much more mature do, almost buzz cut like. He has a brand new lightsaber, which interestingly has a green blade.

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Ezra’s growth is not only visual, we know from the end of Season 2 that Ezra was interested in the Sith holocron and what it could potentially teach the Jedi, in order to over come the Sith. Well it seems that Ezra’s destiny is look more and more unstable as he continues his curiousity into the power of the dark side, and uses some of their teachings in Episode one and two.

We see a new darker side to Ezra, one which we think we like.. this show is about to take some very sharp turns, we saw the battle between one master & Padawan in the Season 2 Finale, could we be working towards another?

Sabine:

Sabine is going to play an important part in this series of Star Wars Rebels. Tiya Sircar, Voice actor for Sabine Wren, was on hand to give her exact thoughts on the character, and her potential progression over the course of the Season.

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Sicar said that Sabine will run into some familiar Mandalorians, some whom she may, or may not, be related to… In true mando fashion, Sabine now sports the traditional jetpack, an accessory that Sicar said she personally protested for with Dave Filoni!Sabine looks a little different as she has been given a new hair style, Something Tiya Sircar was very excited about at the panel.

We were also treater to a sneak peak of a new toy Sabine will acquire in Season three, a piece that was created by the Mandalorians, and was last seen in the hands of Maul in the Clone wars… I will leave it there and say no more.. if you cant put the pieces together, send us a tweet and we’ll tell you!

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The main reveal from this panel though was the expected return of everybody’s favourite Grand Admiral. Thrawn is back. By all accounts he looks amazing, his character feels like it does in the Zahn trilogy and there is an air of respect and accomplishment that walks around with Thrawn. No sign of Pellaeon as yet though..

Though this year was supposedly all about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it really felt like Star Wars Rebels and the reveal of Thrawn over shadowed the entire Rogue One panel, which was a surprise.

3. Thrawn

Thrawn will not only be portrayed in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, but Lucasfilm and Disney have brought back timothy Zahn, Author of the infamous Thrawn trilogy to pen a new novel aptly named ‘Thrawn’. The crowd went insane when Dave Filoni and co revealed the cover of the new novel.

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4. Battlefront DLC pack 4

As the EA Star Wars Panel came to a close, the team decided to share one final piece of Awesome news with us! Battlefront’s 4th additional DLC will be ‘Rogue One: Scarif’. Named after the tropical looking planet in the upcoming Star Wars spin off, players will be able to take control of Jyn Erso, and Dir. Krennic and make their way though the sand and sea of Scarif.

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No Screen shots or game play was shown, just the logo for the new DLC. Best part is, ‘Scarif’ will be released on the same day as Rogue One, so players will be able to go to the cinema to see Rogue One, then come home and take control of Jyn Erso and Director Krennic! How awesome does that sound!

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5. More ‘tie in’ fiction from Star Wars Insider

We all love Star Wars Insider right? Well the guys not only had a killer offer for Celebration Europe attendee’s, but they also had an awesome panel hosted by Amy Ratcliffe! Amy Was joined by Jonathan Wilkins, Editor for Star Wars Insider, who gave us a very interesting insight into what we can expect form insider and where their fiction will tie into the current timeline!

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September will see a Blade squadron story which tie in with Chuck Wendig’s ‘Life Debt’.

October we get ‘Turning Point’ – a post ROTJ story which chronicles the new republics conflict with the Empire!

December will see ‘Voices of the Empire’ which will be a rogue one tie in!

Jan/Feb we will see ‘Blade Squadron’ again, this time on Jakku! Which will be a tie in with Chick Wendig’s ‘Empires end’.

So who needs a subscription? Head here to do so!

6. Ahsoka’s fate

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Nothing is technically confirmed so make of this what you will. When directly asked about the fate of Ahsoka, Dave Filoni’s reply was ‘we.. maybe… might not have seen the end of Ahsoka’, which had us thinking of course that Ahsoka lives, but then like true Star Wars fans, we assumed the answer cannot possible be that straight forward… So maybe a force ghost?

THEN

Another question – the one we were all thinking – Could Ahsoka be a Force ghost? and the reply was that Filoni doesn’t think Ahsoka has learnt to become one with the force and claim existence after death.

Those were the 2 treats we go from the man in the stetson. What do you think? Have we seen the end of ‘Snips’?

7. Ireland can Build!

To say that the cosplay efforts at Celebration Europe were impressive would be a horrific understatement, we saw cosplay which rival the quality of what we saw on screen. and with that, the Annual Cosplay competition was a hotly contested between some very impressive costumes.
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Now here is where it gets interesting, see that colossal cosplay of Grummgar from Maz’s castle? Well, that is Julian Checkley, an Irish prop maker, who also won in 2014 in Essen for his Darth Malgus cosplay! Congratulation on the big win Julian, and we look forward to chatting to you on Blabba the Hutt soon!

8. Star Wars: 40th Anniversary Logo

With the big anniversary coming up, The folks at Celebration Europe took the opportunity to reveal the brand new 40th anniversary of Star Wars.

We think it looks pretty nifty! We especially love the old school feel of it brining that iconic Luke Skywalker stance back to centre stage.

9. Star Wars: Celebration Orlando will be big for Rian Johnston

unfortunately lips were tightly sealed at Celebration Europe. We got little to no information what we can expect in Episode VIII, some fans expected a sizzle reel, maybe a title? but to many fans dismay, none of their hopes came to be. All that was revealed at the future filmmakers panel was that the film has all but wrapped, Skellig was a dream to film on, and that Star Wars Celebration Orlando is going to be Rian’s show.

10. Blabba the Hutt can pull off a Live show!

On Friday 15th July 2016 and 1:30, Kate and Jamie along side Marc from Following the nerd presented the first ever live edition of Blabba the Hutt in front of a packed audience at Celebration Europe. We want to extend a massive thank you to everybody who came along to to support our show, especially to the guys in the Emerald Garrison who were there in force. We really really appreciate it. Also to the lovely people at Penguin Random House books who gave us the prizes which were given away on the day!

All in all, Celebration Europe was a roaring success, with lots to digest following it, there are some people who feel there was not enough given to the fans, especially those who traveled across the continent to be there. Personally I can understand their sentiment, however for me it was an amazing experience to hang out with so many like minded people, have in depth conversations for hours with people we had only met and share the Star Wars Celebration Europe experience with the entire Blabba the Hutt team.

 

Did you have a great time? We would love to know what your best memories are! Let us know in the comments below! 🙂

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