The Star Wars and Marvel franchises have been coming to Disney’s D23 Expo for years, but only this year have the they had cause to be so spectacular while there. While Lucasfilm wasn’t ready yet to follow up on April’s first trailer for The Last Jedi, the company did offer something in recompense.
Anticipation for the first follow-up film to 2015’s The Force Awakens has been high, promising the long-awaited explanation of what Luke Skywalker has been up to for the past 30 years in Star Wars canon. The Last Jedi will also continue the story of the struggle between the Resistance and the villainous First Order, and the lives of the new characters’ we’ve come to love.
But, as has become routine now for Lucasfilm’s recent Star Wars installments, that anticipation is whetted to a sharp edge by lengthy droughts between shown footage.
Last Jedi is in post-production at the moment, but director Rian Johnson took to the main D23 stage to give fans at least some update on the much anticipated film — alongside stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro — to the cheers of an excited crowd.
Boyega hinted at an upcoming confrontation between his Finn and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma — Finn’s former superior before he defected from the First Order — whom we last saw when Finn was shoving her into a garbage chute.
We still know very little about Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a new character. Johnson showed off a picture of her wielding a blaster and needled her for saying “pew” out loud whenever she “fired” her gun. Another new image of Dern’s character confronting Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron also cropped up.
As a penultimate “surprise,” Johnson brought out Mark Hamill, who was given the honor of becoming a certified Disney Legend in a ceremony the previous day. “[The Last Jedi] is a real game changer,” Hamill said, one that brings new things to the Star Wars story in a way that’s harder and harder to do.
Instead of sharing a trailer, Lucasfilm showed off behind-the-scenes footage from the set of The Last Jedi, featuring sets, ships, and costuming from the new movie. A campfire burning underneath the Millennium Falcon, a white crystalline fox, stunt falls, weapons training, and plenty of strange creatures big and small.
“Everything’s being shifted in the opposite way the audience expects,” says John Boyega.
“It’s about family, and that’s what’s so powerful about it,” says the late Carrie Fisher at the close of the clip.
The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released on Dec. 15, 2017.