It’s a Wrap: Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 Final News Roundup – Remembering Carrie, Star Wars Land Features, and So Much More!

Even with all the posts I’ve put together from my time at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, there’s still plenty of news and happenings to cover so I’ve put it all here in this megapost of the best of the rest. We’ll be covering the beautiful remembrances for Carrie Fisher (which still gets me in tears just thinking about it), the immersive nature of the upcoming Star Wars Land, VR experiences for children in the hospital, and even some Hasbro news.

For me, I’m still a bit mixed on the 40th Anniversary panel. Initially, I thought my lukewarm reception to it was due to it not having any news items when I had my expectations set on some big reveals about the future of the franchise, but a week plus removed and that’s not the case at all. Actually, it’s due to the first half of the panel not really being my thing, because as cool as it is to see the actors all come out and chat with one another about the experience of making the films, some of the stuff they say are things I’ve heard before elsewhere; however, getting Harrison Ford or even Hayden Christensen to come where nice surprises and enjoyable moments because they don’t talk too much about the films compared to the other actors. As for George Lucas, I can’t thank the maker enough, but he’s never been that engaging of a speaker about the making of parts, but he’s someone I’d love to hear talk about the concepts and ideas behind the Force and other such things like Dave Filoni got to for years while working on The Clone Wars with him. But the second half of the panel, when they begin to remember Carrie Fisher, is simply unforgettable. It was set up gorgeously and crescendos into one of the weekend’s best surprises: First George and Kathleen Kennedy share a few words about her (which started to hit me a little in the feels). Then Billie Lourd came out and did a moving and heartening tribute (which began watery eyes stage for me). Following her was the amazing tribute video posted at the top of this article, which captured the sadness of her passing but also her energetic and unique personality (and with that video began the first of my tears). And finally, and I’m still so surprised by this, John freaking Williams appears, tucked away at the edge of the stage (I was in one of the streaming stages but this was still a huge deal there), and he starts the orchestra playing “Leia’s Theme,” which is when there wasn’t a dry eye in the room and I just started sobbing (I’m tearing up a bit just writing about it). I really can’t imagine a better way to honor Carrie and it’ll go down as one of my all time favorite moments from Celebration, ever. I have yet to watch Mark Hamill’s tribute to Carrie, as I need a night set aside to rewatching the 40th Anniversary’s tribute and dive right into his for an all-night sob fest, but one of the things I’ve seen memed everywhere is one line that encapsulates his panel about her: “When I think of her, and I hope you can appreciate this mental image, she’s looking down from the celestial stratosphere with those big brown eyes, that sly smile on her face as she lovingly extends me the middle finger. And that’s how I want you to think of her.”

Coming 2019, Star Wars Land (I keep typing “Lando” whenever I type out Land) got some rather intriguing and exciting new details in its own panel. The promise seems to be an immersive as possible experience for park-goers and that all starts by actually making the planet Star Wars Land takes place on part of canon to the point it has an official spot on the galaxy map (it used to be a trading hub but now its an out of the way station). While in Orlando for SWCO, I went to Universal Orlando to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and while the recreations of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and the detail to each was certainly exciting to explore, stepping into every shop and it being just another muggle merchandise shop was pretty disappointing (though at least Ollivander’s Wands has an immersion factor to it). So it’s heartening to hear Star Wars Land will be more like getting to go on a journey within the Star Wars universe, as the panel teased actions you take on a ride could bring a bounty hunter to follow you through the park, basically allowing you to build a reputation in the Star Wars universe. There’s also been some surveys going around about a Star Wars hotel that’s themed as if you’re on a starship, which would have the chance to link up to Star Wars Land. Definitely check out the full panel for all the great little details that makes the future of Star Wars theme parks extremely bright and exciting! It certainly sounds like a place I’d love to go…and stay there forever. We’ll be watching for more details about this with great interest!

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Hasbro announced and gave us first looks at new toys, including the Jaina Solo figure, an impressive Thrawn figure with his office from Star Wars Rebels, and even a tie-in with the upcoming Battlefront II!

Starlight Children’s Foundation is teaming with ILMxLAB for VR experiences to bring to children at hospitals. Here’s a bit from their press release:

Starlight Children’s Foundation, a leading charity for 35 years, today {April 12 was the announcement} announces the launch of Starlight Virtual Reality as a groundbreaking new program that will entertain, educate and inspire the imagination of thousands of hospitalized young patients across the US. Star Wars: Force for Change is the program’s Founding Sponsor with additional funding from Niagara Cares and VR technology powered by Google. The program will roll out in late 2017 and Starlight will start distributing the program to Starlight’s network of children’s hospitals and other health facilities across the US.

Imagine being stuck in the hospital for days, weeks or even months. Now imagine transforming into a Star Wars character and being transported to a galaxy far, far away using the magic of virtual reality. This experience, and many others powered by Google, will soon be possible thanks to Star Wars: Force for Change, an initiative from Lucasfilm that harnesses the power of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Lucasfilm’s parent organization, The Walt Disney Company, is a longtime supporter of children’s hospitals and of Starlight Children’s Foundation.

They had a booth one the show floor, but I just didn’t get a chance to make time for it, though I did stop and watch the experience for a bit, where players essentially directed BB-8 around a 3D space that looked like the interior of a spaceship.

Soak in all the details above and all my other bits of coverage below because there’s no Celebration again until 2019!

Here is the rest of my coverage from SWCO 2017:

Cosplay Gallery and Celebrity Sightings (SWCO 2017)
Rancho Obi-Wan Experience Visit (SWCO 2017)
Heroines of Star Wars Panel Impressions (SWCO 2017)
Battlefront II Panel Impressions: Singleplayer Focus with Inferno Squad Novel Tie-in and Multiplayer Rebooted (SWCO 2017)
Marvel Star Wars Panel Impressions (SWCO 2017)
Star Wars Rebels Final Season Panel and Trailer Impressions (SWCO 2017)
Star Wars Rebels Season Four Premiere Review: “Heroes of Mandalore” Part 1
The Last Jedi Teaser and Panel Impressions (SWCO 2017)
Forces of Destiny Brings Women of Star Wars to Focus in 2D Animated Form (SWCO 2017)
Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates Panel Impressions (SWCO 2017)
Star Wars University: LGBTQ+ in a Galaxy Far, Far Away and Chuck Wendig Writer Seminar (SWCO 2017)
Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 News Roundup Part II: Full Panel Schedules Go Live, Mark Hamill Hosts, Battlefront II, Rancho Obi-Wan, and More!
Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 News Roundup Part I: The Last Jedi, Rebels Season 4, 40th Anniversary Panels, and More! (UPDATED)

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.