Twelve highlights from Star Wars Celebration London 2023!

Star Wars Celebration London 2023 has wrapped, and it was a tremendous four-day weekend filled with celebrating Star Wars and plenty of announcements and reveals.

There’s a whole lot to discuss from the weekend, and we’ll be doing that for weeks to come, but I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a list of twelve of the biggest highlights.

What was your favorite moment from the weekend? Here were some of mine!

12. Kino Loy… and the best tweet of the weekend

It was great seeing Andy Serkis get a ton of love for the character of Kino Loy in Andor, and the refrain “One way out!” became a popular one for fans to break out chanting at the convention. Serkis is great, and Kino is great, and it was awesome seeing it. But it also led to the best tweet from the weekend:

Sorry for laughing. Too soon?

11. The Bad Batch returns for a third and final season!

This was fantastic news, and the only reason it’s so low on the list is that the season two finale all but confirmed a third season was happening. But it was officially announced at The Bad Batch panel that not only will there be a third season of the show, but that it will be the final one. That’s bittersweet, but I’m glad the show will be able to conclude on its own terms. And with Omega now on Mount Tantiss – alongside her sister and Crosshair – we’re surely in for quite the treat in season three. A trailer at Celebration showed that Palpatine visits, too, further hinting at how important this is to him. And Wolffe makes an appearance in the trailer as well, meaning he’ll be returning – alongside a number of other clones, I’m sure.

The Bad Batch season 3 will come to Disney+ sometime in 2024.

10. Celebrating 40 years of Return of the Jedi

This year is the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, so there was of course a panel commemorating it. The panel itself was a bit odd, as it was fine but didn’t really include a ton of discussion from those who worked directly on the film, nor from many of the main cast members (Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford did send video greetings, though) – and even Billy Dee Williams, who was there, didn’t seem engaged at all. The panel was fine, but strange, but Anthony Daniels and Warwick Davis are always entertaining. It was also announced, though, that the movie will return to theaters for a limited run later this month, and that announcement was accompanied by a simply gorgeous poster from Matt Ferguson. It’s one of my favorite Star Wars posters.

9. New trailer for Visions Volume 2 released

Speaking of gorgeous visuals, the first trailer for Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 was released, giving us a look at what to expect when it drops on Disney+ on May 4. It’s a collection of anthology shorts giving different ‘visions’, or takes, on the Star Wars mythos and the larger themes of the franchise, and it looks absolutely gorgeous visually.

8. Vivien Lyra Blair, Ewan McGregor, and Hayden Christensen are stars

One of the best panelists, and best interviews, from the entire weekend at Celebration came from one of the youngest stars in attendance, as Vivien Lyra Blair continued to impress. She was composed, funny, and remarkably articulate, and it’s a reminder of just how perfect of a casting choice she was for Leia Organa. There doesn’t appear to be another project for her to step into right away, but I’m hoping that we haven’t seen the last of her as Leia. She’s a star, and she was every bit ready for the spotlight at Celebration. And the Obi-Wan Kenobi panel, which featured a look back at the show, starred Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, who have been perhaps the most embraced stars of Celebration each of the past two years. It’s amazing seeing them finally get the love from Star Wars fans like this.

Best of all, though, was the moment in the Kenobi panel where, after showing the final confrontation between Obi-Wan and Vader (the one with the cracked mask), McGregor and Christensen got up and gave each other a big hug. They’re the best.

7. The Clone Wars crew knows how to have fun

The live-action Obi-Wan and Anakin were among Celebration’s stars, but the animated Obi-Wan and Anakin were among Celebration’s most entertaining. The cast of the animated The Clone Wars series are a joy to listen to, with James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Dee Bradley Baker (all the clones) taking part in a panel celebrating the 15th anniversary of the series, alongside some of the creatives who brought it into existence (like Dave Filoni). And the banter between the cast members, and Filoni too, was thoroughly enjoyable, especially as they slipped into and out of the voices of their characters with ease. It’s a cast that knows how to have fun, has obvious chemistry with each other, and likes being together in these settings, and all of that came through very clearly.

On a related note: it’s kind of crazy that it’s been 15 years since The Clone Wars premiered.

6. Tales of the Jedi is returning

At the end of The Clone Wars panel, showrunner Dave Filoni announced that he’s making a second season of Tales of the Jedi. The show is a collection of shorts that follow different Jedi, with Ahsoka Tano and Dooku featured in the first one. We don’t know anything about who will be included this time, nor do we have a release date (though it sounds like sometime in 2024), but Filoni talked about how he views it as a chance to stay connected to animation, stay connected to this cast, and train up new storytellers to keep animation going like George Lucas trained him. This is very exciting, and I’m extremely interested to learn which Jedi this next batch of episodes will focus on.

5. Venestra Rwoh is coming to live action

In maybe the most surprising reveal of the entire weekend, it was announced that Vernestra Rwoh will appear in The Acolyte, played by Rebecca Morrision! The Acolyte is set in the last days of the High Republic era, long before the Skywalker Saga gets underway, and showrunner Leslye Headland explained that it will be told through the lens of the dark side while exploring how the Jedi came to lose their way by the prequels. Headland was effusive in her praise for the current High Republic publishing projects and spoke about how those have influenced this series, but then at the High Republic panel, Headland dropped the announcement: an older Vernestra Rwoh will be in the series. Rwoh has been a prominent figure in Phase 1 of the publishing side of things, as one of the youngest Jedi Knights in a long time, and she’ll be making the jump to live-action, which is thrilling.

4. Dave Filoni

If there’s one person who can rival Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen for Celebration stardom, it’s Dave Filoni, whose influence is felt all over the place. He appeared at the Lucasfilm Studio Showcase, Ahoska, and The Clone Wars panels, and his involvement spans The Mandalorian, Skeleton Crew, Ahsoka, The Bad Batch, and Tales of the Jedi, as well as the upcoming film slate. In other words, a stunning number of the projects upcoming from Lucasfilm have Filoni attached in some way. But that’s not why he’s this high on the list, however remarkable. No, he’s this high here because two of the best moments came from him.

At The Clone Wars, he gave an emotional thank you to the cast, the creatives (including Athena Portillo, without whom the series wouldn’t have happened), and the fans, thanking everyone for making it happen. It was touching in its own right, but it was topped by a moment on the Celebration Live stage where Filoni and Jon Favreau were interviewed, and Filoni was overcome with emotions in thanking the fans for their passion, effort, and interest, and for enabling him to tell these stories. It was a genuinely heartwarming moment from a man who cares incredibly deeply for Star Wars, this universe, and its fans, and it shows.

3. Lars Mikkelson, Kevin Kiner, and Hera Syndulla are all returning for Ahsoka!

Ahsoka was the big-ticket project highlighted at Celebration, and at the Ahsoka panel on Saturday morning there were a number of reveals. We knew that Hera Syndulla would be appearing in the series, but it was officially announced that Mary Elizabeth Winstead will be playing her. It was further announced that Kevin Kiner and his sons will be providing the score for the series, which is absolutely tremendous news. They’ve done the score for The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch and do a terrific job, and created the themes for Ahsoka, Thrawn, and Sabine, among others. It always seemed like a no-brainer for them to return, and I’m thrilled that it’s happening.

The biggest announcement, though, was that Lars Mikkelson is also returning, portraying Grand Admiral Thrawn in live action. Mikkelson voiced the character in Rebels and was immediately iconic, and I’m so pumped that he’ll be in Ahsoka.

2. The Ahsoka trailer was released!

The most notable publicly-released footage from Celebration was the trailer for Ahsoka, released as part of the Lucasfilm Studio Showcase on Friday morning. The trailer gives us a look at Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, of course, but also our first live-action look at Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren, Mary Elizabeth Winsted as Hera Syndulla, and Lars Mikkelson as Thrawn (from behind), among a host of others – including Genevieve O’Reilly as New Republic Chancellor Mon Mothma.

The series will release in August 2023, and you can find my breakdown of the trailer here.

1. The next era of Star Wars movies have been announced – including the return of Daisy Ridley!

Without question, however, the biggest highlight from Celebration was the announcement of the future Star Wars theatrical slate, which Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy explained will span the past, present, and future of the galaxy. In the past, there’s director James Mangold, who will be directing a movie about the dawn of the Jedi, exploring how they came to be. In the present, there’s director Dave Filoni, who will be directing a movie that serves as a cinematic and climactic conclusion to the Mandoverse stories. And then in the future, there’s director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who will be directing a movie set 15 years after The Rise of Skywalker about the rise of a new Jedi Order.

Obaid-Chinoy then asked the crowd if they’d like to meet the Jedi Master leading the way, and out walked Daisy Ridley, who will be returning as Jedi Master Rey Skywalker in the film! It’s thrilling to have Ridley returning as Rey, and I’m extremely excited about all three of these films. It seems that they have something for everyone, and personally I’m pumped about all three of them.

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