The biggest bombshells from Friday's Last Jedi panel in Orlando


With The Last Jedi premiere creeping ever closer, Star Wars fans have begun dissecting every frame of the new trailer and every word spoken in interviews that might give some inkling as to what’s in store for them.

While the plot details are a closely guarded secret (one cast member revealed she couldn’t even tell her family she got the part), a special panel at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando on April 14 revealed some comparative bombshells about the beloved franchise’s eighth installment.

Hosted by Josh Gad, the panel included the film’s director Rian Johnson, president of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

Here’s what we learned:

Rey Revealed

Ridley, who plays Rey in the new films, was the first to throw the curious audience a bone. “What I can say is in the Last Jedi, we go deeper into Rey’s story, and what is very apparent from where we left off in The Force Awakens and where we begin with the Last Jedi, is that Rey has a certain expectation about what she might be getting from Luke, and what that might entail,” she explained.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Panel At The 2017 Star Wars Celebration
Credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty

“And as a lot of people know, it’s difficult when you meet your heroes, because it might not be what you expect,” she added cryptically.

Finn’s Fate

Boyega was next to drop some tidbits, giving the audience some clues as to where his character Finn will end up. The last we saw him in The Force Awakens, he was on the receiving end of a lightsaber beatdown, courtesy of Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren.

“It’s been a process,” Boyega joked of his character’s recovery. “I think Finn definitely stood up for himself at the end of Force Awakens and caught a bit of an injury to the back, so he’s in recovery but he will be back in the Last Jedi and he’s not playing this time,” the actor revealed to mass applause.

As for his lovable onscreen bromance with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, Boyega said their friendship will “absolutely” continue. “Poe is my boy, there’s always a new adventure for us to go on,” he added.


Moving forward, the fugitive Stormtrooper will have to figure out who he is and where he wants to go. “Well, in The Last Jedi it’s a test for all the characters, but specifically for Finn,” Boyega explained. “He wants to find his place now: Is he going to be part of the resistance or is he going to continue to run away from the First Order? We’ll see.”

The First Order Strikes Back

Even Johnson got in the sharing mood, and gave some pretty significant hints about the fate of the First Order after losing their Star Killer machine in The Force Awakens. “The Star Killer base [was] a big loss, but they did manage to take out the seat of the Republic, and that’s thrown the galaxy into chaos,” he revealed. “And the First Order are jumping on that at the beginning of the movie very aggressively, [they’re] not sitting on their hands. They’re making some big moves at the start of our film, so things are going to get dire.”

New Faces

After noting that everyone’s new favorite droid, BB-8, will be rolling back into the spotlight in The Last Jedi, Johnson excitedly introduced a new character with a major upcoming role. “We have a couple really fun new characters coming out, a few of whom I’m really excited to introduce you guys to,” ,” he said. “But one in particular who is here today, who has the biggest new part in the movie, and ironically is played by the smallest actor — she is one of my favorite people, you guys are going to love her so much.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Panel At The 2017 Star Wars Celebration
Credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty

Tran then joined her cast members onstage, saying, “My character’s name is Rose, she’s part of the Resistance, and she works in maintenance and I cannot wait for you to meet her.” An image of Tran’s character then flashed on the screen onstage.

Like Luke and Rey before her, Johnson said he was especially drawn to Tran’s character because of her “unlikely hero” status. “The notion that anyone out there, any of us, can step up and turn into a hero, that’s really kind of where the character of Rose comes from,” he explained. “She’s not a soldier, she’s not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled in a very big way into an adventure in this movie with Finn, and Kelly just embodies that for me.”

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The Mystery of Luke

Finally, Hamill appeared onstage, and gave the audience some vague but long-awaited news about Luke Skywalker. “Well in [Episode] VII, you discover Luke obviously is a hermit on this island. There’s so much unsaid about where he’s been and what he’s done,” he said.

“They allude to things that happened, and to a certain extent it’s not Luke’s story anymore. But I think he’s an important part of the overall arch of the saga, and again there’s a lot of mystery about him, even within the film. So you have to fill in your own backstory. I’m sure there will be comic books, video games and novels that tell the story,” he explained.

So, it seems even The Force Awakens might not fully reveal what Luke’s been up to all those years. But Hamill did manage to cause a stir when he jokingly hinted that Rey might be his daughter, as many fan theorists have predicted. Running down a list of familiar faces onstage, when Hamill got to Ridley he said, “I see my daugh — I mean my colleague Daisy.” He then quelled any confusion by referring to Finn as “my son.”

The Last Jedi hits theaters Dec. 15.