This past weekend the Anaheim Convention Center hosted Disney’s D23 Expo. The biannual event showcases the full range of storytelling and fandom from The Walt Disney Company, including live-action and animated films, television, and more from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Compared to the 2015 expo, prior to the release of The Force Awakens, this year we learned far more about what’s to come from Star Wars.
Anticipation is building for The Last Jedi in December, and the Lucasfilm segment of the live-action movies panel delivered on fan excitement. Director Rian Johnson and numerous cast members appeared on stage to talk about the film; Lucasfilm later shared a gallery of official images Facebook. But the highlight, of course, was the Behind the Scene reel, which was promptly made available on social media and YouTube.
The other major Star Wars announcements came from the Disney Parks panel. The official name of the upcoming Star Wars area at Disneyland and Walt Disney World was unveiled as “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” Building on information revealed at the Star Wars Celebration Orlando panel, the Imagineers shared more updates on the nature of the experience and what fans can expect when they arrive there. The built-to-scale diorama of the park area is impressive and intriguing. The panel also officially announced plans for a Star Wars-themed luxury resort in Orlando. Like Galaxy’s Edge, it will not merely have a Star Wars theme, but will encompass a fully immersive experience within the Star Wars galaxy.
For reactions from the FANgirl team to the news about The Last Jedi and Disney Parks, check out the new episode of Hyperspace Theories.
Other aspects of Star Wars appeared at the convention, as well. Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe revealed a variety of new apparel designs, including Star Wars. Toys and other upcoming Star Wars merchandise were displayed in the exhibit hall. Lenovo previewed their new app-enabled augmented reality (AR) Star Wars experience and encouraged fans to sign up at jedichallenges.com. The videogame panel included a segment on Star Wars Battlefront II with lead actor Janina Gavankar and a look into her character’s backstory in the game.
The publishing panel discussed the upcoming Journey to The Last Jedi books, which go on sale September 1 in the lead-up to the film. These include Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan and Ken Liu’s The Legend of Luke Skywalker. Some con-goers also received copies of the first tie-in book for Forces of Destiny.
It’s expected that next week’s San Diego Comic-Con will not include significant Star Wars news this year, but keep your eyes out in case things change. Always in motion is the future.