Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 News Roundup Part II: Full Panel Schedules Go Live, Mark Hamill Hosts, Battlefront II, Rancho Obi-Wan, and More!

It’s truly time to start planning how you’ll spend your days from April 13-16, as the full Celebration Orlando 2017 stage schedules are finally up! This news roundup will not only cover some of the noteworthy and intriguing panels this year, but we’ll look at what Mark Hamill has in store for his appearances, when Battlefront II‘s trailer will drop , details on Rancho Obi-Wan’s exhibit, and more!

The entire schedule for Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 is live! Whether you’re going to Orlando or watching the livestream from the comfort of your Star Wars jammies (if they aren’t SW, then you might be doing life wrong, folks), you’re going to want to plan your days accordingly to the latest and greatest of SW news from Celebration. At 11 am ET the first three days are the marquee news panels of the show, being the 40th Anniversary (Thursday), The Last Jedi (Friday), and Rebels S4 (Saturday), with each one live on the Galaxy Stage and streaming to the other large stages/the livestream. And while the Closing Ceremonies (Sunday) goes from 4-5pm per usual, it’ll be curiously live on both the Galaxy and Celebration stages, which could mean there’s something epic-ly special planned for this grand finale, considering Celebration won’t return until 2019. My guess as to what will be so big about the Closing Ceremonies include: Han Solo standalone title announcement/brief teaser and some sneak peeks at what is in store for Star Wars Land…beyond that, it’s really anyone’s guess. Same for the 40th Anniversary Panel and its surprises; either way, lots of memorable things are certainly on their way.

Outside of the marquee panels:

  • There’s a sit down with Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo (1:30-2:20, Galaxy, Thursday) in the veins of the Untold Clone Wars and Ahsoka’s Untold Tales panels, so anyone who’s been a fan of the two animated shows cannot pass this one up as the previous panels have unveiled some exciting, never-before-seen tidbits (mainly for The Clone Wars but this one sounds like it might include some Rebels stuff as well)!
  • Doug Chiang chats about production design on Rogue One (4-5, BTS, Thursday)
  • Lucasfilm Publishing Writers’ Roundtable (4:30-5:30, BTS, Friday) includes a great variety of authors from both the books and comics while Del Rey Books (1-2, BTS, Saturday) will feature a handful of authors as well, with both discussing what’s already been released and teasing what’s in store later this year, likely revealing some The Last Jedi related material!
  • Marvel (4-5, BTS, Friday) comic fans (raises hand) won’t want to miss out on a panel sure to include their own TLJ tie-ins and details of what else we can expect from its original tales as well i.e. more Aphra, please…also, fingers crossed for a Qui-Gon series (like I asked for in my 2016 comics year-in-review).
  • The Star Wars University stage will have plenty of authors dispensing valuable advice about writing in general, like Chuck Wendig, Timothy Zahn, Delilah S. Dawson, Christie Golden, and John Jackson Miller!
  • This year curiously there’s a Star Wars Rebels Theater, where they’ll be playing select arcs picked by Dave Filoni, with some nights ending with game shows.
  • The next Battlefront is titled…Battlefront II; Feels like its missing something, no? I vote for the subtitle: The One with Singleplayer. Catch the first trailer and find out a whole lot more about the game (and maybe a sneak peek of Visceral Games’ title) at the panel (2:30-3:30, Galaxy, Saturday). Developers from Criterion and Motive are also going to be at the panel, which makes me wonder what parts of the new game each development team worked on.

While it probably went without saying that Mark Hamill would be at Orlando, considering The Last Jedi will give him a chance to speak a bit more than the last film, but he’s there for more panels and signings everyday! One will be his one man show, where he’ll talk about literally anything and everything, while the other is going to be a tribute to the one, the only, Carrie Fisher! Get the Kleenex handy, folks. I hope that one is for sure put on the livestream so everyone can have a chance to hear what he’ll have to say about the sorely missed icon.

Del Rey will not only have their yearly free sampler and author signings, but also some exclusive goodies at their booth this year, including a Thrawn pin that only comes with the purchase of the Celebration special edition Thrawn and a 40th Anniversary Tote bag. You can get the full list of signings here, as well as more details about the swag and the University panels I mentioned above.

Other goodies announced today were The Last Jedi themed t-shirts, available first at the Force for Change booth, so a percentage of purchases go towards Lucasfilm/Disney’s charitable organization. I’m hoping the shirt with only Rey on it (I wanted to type “…the Rey solo shirt…” but that might have freaked some people out) comes for all genders, but otherwise the one with Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 is pretty awesome as well. One of these might just be my shirt to wear to my first TLJ screening…and my wallet is getting more frightened by the minute.

If like me you haven’t got the pleasure of touring the Star Wars collectors mecca that is Rancho Obi-Wan, Celebration Orlando will give you a brief but sweet taste at the show, in the form of the dream SW-themed bedroom! I got to visit their exhibit at Celebration Anaheim 2015 and the plethora of incredible memorabilia floored me…and it was only a fraction of what the real, non-profit, headquarters of Rancho has to actually offer! Included in their exhibit will be a raffle for a first edition hardcover of the original Star Wars novelization signed by George Lucas, as well as a chance to win a Battle Damaged Sphero BB-8. Stop on by and help this SW museum continue to run, as they hope to reach $60,000 to run for the summer. Consider becoming a member today for other great goodies, like their yearly fan-kits, access to buying a member-exclusive patch, and so much more! (via Rancho Obi-Wan)

Also, the information on how wristbands for panels will work is up and it includes sleep overs for all you Ewoks out there who don’t mind sleeping in a metal jungle to get your best spot for Threepio’s next story. But seriously, unlike the last two years I’ve attended, for all Celebration and Galaxy Stage panels there are Sleepover Nights the first two nights, where you can start lining up at 8pm the night before and the doors close at midnight…promptly reopening at 5am. Europe was similar, though the doors never closed so you could stroll in at any point, instead of what I’m sure will be a bottleneck of still sleepy fans at 5am to get into lines, as wristbands go out at 6am. You only are allowed two wristbands a day, so plan accordingly for what you want to see most and know that if you don’t get a wristband for the panel you want, the Behind-the-Scenes Stage is streaming most panels and getting into that is on a first come first serve basis. As always, keep an eye on the Celebration Twitter account, the #SWCO hashtag, and/or people you know to get updates on how queue lines are filling up.

I’ve already got a rough idea of what panels I hope to hit but there’s plenty of crossover so the hardest part begins. Hope y’all are having better luck than me deciding which ones to go to!

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

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Rancho Obi-Wan Experience Visit (SWCO 2017)
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