Entertainment TV All the Revelations from the 'Star Wars' Celebration Convention — Including Info on New Series Thousands of fans joined Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Harrison Ford, Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Diego Luna, Giancarlo Esposito, composer John Williams, and more this weekend By Scott Huver Published on May 29, 2022 06:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty for Disney After a three-year absence due to the pandemic, the Force was once again with Star Wars Celebration — the biennial gathering of Star Wars fans from around the world to celebrate all aspects of the beloved sci-fi fantasy franchise — as it made a triumphant in-person return. It was highlighted by some longtime familiar faces from the enduring saga — stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Harrison Ford, and composer John Williams among them — and a slew of current generation stars from the epic's streaming series — including Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Diego Luna, Giancarlo Esposito and, yes, Baby Yoda himself, Grogu. Thousands of fans descended on California's Anaheim Convention Center — many wielding their own lightsabers, costumed in Mandalorian armor, or with their hair styled like Princess Leia or Padme Amidala — for the four-day event. At the center of Celebration were panels featuring announcements keyed to the upcoming slate of Hollywood's star-studded Star Wars output, currently centered on a plethora of current and upcoming series on the Disney+ streaming service. Ewan McGregor Says Sharing the Star Wars Universe with Wife Mary Elizabeth Winstead Is 'Amazing' Obi-Wan Kenobi After a decidedly dramatic opening with a live choral performance of Williams' "Duel of the Fates" on Thursday, McGregor and Christensen joined panel host Yvette Nicole Brown onstage, with McGregor offering a cheery "Hello there!" — a catchphrase long associated with his character — to send fans into ecstatic cheers. On the eve of the debut of their new series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which reunites the duo 20 years after playing the titular Jedi Master and his fallen apprentice Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, McGregor and Christensen were joined by their series costars Moses Ingram and Rupert Friend, along with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and series director Deborah Chow. "In the last five or six years, we've started to feel all of your love for the prequels that we made," McGregor told the crowd, noting that the follow-up trilogy to filmmaker George Lucas' pop culture phenomenon was not nearly as critically hailed as the original when those films were released. "The truth is that's meant an enormous amount to us, and to me personally. It didn't feel that way necessarily when they came out at first, so to feel the warmth that you all have for them has made the whole experience just the most amazing thing." Jesse Grant/Getty for Disney "To pick up the lightsaber again, there's just nothing like it," said Christensen, otherwise mum on spoilers about the return of Vader, before McGregor invited the entire audience to return in the evening for a screening of the first two episodes of Kenobi alongside the cast and creators "before anybody else has seen it in the world." Later that evening after the screening, the audience enthusiastically received the cast as they took the stage for a curtain call, with an especially warm reception for Jimmy Smits, reprising his prequels role as Bail Organa, the king of Alderaan, and a wild response for the Star Wars family's latest addition, nine-year-old Bird Box actress Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays the young Princess Leia. The Mandalorian and Ahsoka As The Mandalorian continues to secure its status as the most celebrated star in the new assortment of series, creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni teased out the upcoming third season, along with the spinoff series Ahsoka, starring Dawson as the live-action incarnation of Anakin Skywalker's now matured Jedi padawan, first introduced in Filoni's animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After a brief panel previewing the teaser trailer and an on-set message from Dawson in full costume on Thursday, Favreau and Filoni returned with an even longer trailer for a full, hour-long Mandalorian panel on Saturday, joined by star Pascal and returning cast members Esposito, Katee Sackoff, Carl Weathers, and Emily Swallow, along with The Book of Boba Fett star Temeura Morrison and Pascal's stunt doubles in the Baskar armor Brendan Wayne (the son of screen legend John Wayne) and Lateef Crowder. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. The expanded trailer revealed central character Din Djarin, newly reunited with his Force-powerful foster child Grogu, embarking on a redemption journey to make up for taking off his helmet and failing to adhere to the code known as The Way, returning to the ruins of his adopted planet Mandalore, and encountering a variety of the splintered factions of the armored race. The trailer also offered glimpses of several Easter eggs from the vast Star Wars universe, including a tree full of Kowakians, the monkey-lizard type creatures of the same race as Jabba the Hutt's jester Salacious B. Crumb, and several beings resembling Babu Frik, the tiny alien mechanic from The Rise of Skywalker. "My heart just exploded inside my body," Pascal told the crowd after a thunderous reception, before revealing the emotional connection he's made with his costar Grogu. "It's the closest I've ever come to being a dad — so far, anyway," he said. "To see a child love his father like that — I get it. Maybe I should have one." As the discussion shifted to Ahsoka, Dawson's appearance on the panel was a major surprise to the crowd, given that she'd been shooting on set just a day earlier, and it marked her first appearance before Star Wars fans since making an unexpected debut as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian's second season. Jesse Grant/Getty for Disney "We started filming on my birthday, May 9," Dawson said, recalling how after fantasizing about Ahsoka in live-action she was "fan-cast" online a few years earlier and re-tweeted the Photoshopped image of her as the character, which ultimately came to the attention of Filoni and led to her receiving the role. "It's because of people like you," she told the audience. "When they called me about it they'd actually drawn all these more images of me as the character, which was mind-blowing," she added. "It's just been a thrill and an honor to bring this character to life, and to feel the energy of everyone wanting to see her come to life. And it's been exciting to experience and to see this story continue." Diego Luna's Star Wars Series Andor Officially Has a Disney+ Release Date Favreau and Filoni revealed a very minimal trailer based on three weeks of filming, and the audience recognized one key character as Sabine Wren, a female Mandalorian who was one of the leads of Filoni's animated Star Wars: Rebels series. The actress playing the character, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, was then introduced to the fans. "Oh my God, this is incredible — I'm crying right now," said Bordizzo, visibly moved by the overwhelmingly positive fan reception. "I feel like I've just been adopted into a new family ... I know how much Sabine means to a lot of people in this room, and in watching Rebels she's come to mean a hell of a lot to me too. I think you guys are about to be really excited about the journey she's about to have." During the panel, the crowd was delighted by the appearance of Chopper, a live-action version of the fan favorite droid from Rebels who'll now appear on Ahsoka, and, as a big finish, Grogu, who blinked and wiggled his ears from a perch on the table in front of Favreau and Filoni. The casts of both series gathered around the tiny alien for a series of selfies, and Dawson nuzzled her forehead against his. Jesse Grant/Getty for Disney Earlier, Favreau also announced an upcoming live-action TV project starring Jude Law, Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, from Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts and screenwriter Christopher Ford, a series they discussed with Favreau while he was working as an actor on the Marvel film. "It's the story of a group of kids about 10 years old from a tiny little planet that accidentally get lost in the Star Wars galaxy, and it's the story of their journey trying to find their way home," said Watts, adding, "it stars four kids, but it is not a kids' show." Andor The Celebration also provided a panel previewing the upcoming series, Andor, a prequel to the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story featuring Luna reprising his role as the committed Rebel Cassian Andor, created by Tony Gilroy, writer and uncredited director of the earlier film as well as the Bourne Identity film trilogy. The series was confirmed for two seasons of 12 episodes apiece, which will lead directly into the events of Rogue One. "When I was doing the film, I was living each day as if it was the last — I didn't know this was happening; I didn't even know this was possible," Luna explained. "I know what he represents in the universe of Star Wars: This is a story about the people — this has the most to do with us, us viewers, the fans. It's about what we can do. It's about the power we have. It's about the awakening we deserve." "We're able to go as far as possible from the man who will sacrifice himself for his cause," said Luna. "He's a very selfish man ... a guy waiting for that awakening to happen." "The beauty of the show is there's no way they'll kill me," Luna joked, noting his character's doomed fate in Rogue One. John Williams Many veteran Star Wars players — including C-3P0 actor Anthony Daniels and Ian McDairmid, who plays Emperor Palpatine, both of whom appeared in the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies — showed up for Celebration. However, few made as big of a splash as Williams, the iconic composer behind the scores of all nine films in the Skywalker Saga as well as indelible soundtracks for classics including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and another legendary Lucasfilm property, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Williams marked his 90th birthday on Feb. 8, and to celebrate the occasion with Star Wars fans, Kennedy welcomed him to the stage to conduct a full orchestra and introduce the theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Williams' newest contribution to the saga's musical legacy. "Thank you all for making this such great fun to be here and keep putting magic in it all," Williams told the audience following a lengthy standing ovation. "It's a wonderful day to be with you." After teasing "here's a little piece that is not Star Wars, but you might know it," Williams conducted a rousing performance of the famous march from the Indiana Jones films, which was capped with an onstage appearance by the personification of both Indy and Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford Shares Indiana Jones 5 Release Date and First Look During Star Wars Celebration "It's such an honor for me to be able to congratulate John and his fine music," said Ford. "I told John on another occasion when he had a chance to get together 'That music follows me everywhere I go.' And you know, I'm happy about it." "That music was playing in the operating room when I had my last colonoscopy," the action star quipped. "I passed." "We all know what John does musically," he continued, growing more heartfelt. "What you may not know, and what I've come to really appreciate, is the warmth, the generosity, the boyish spirit of this man. The most gracious man. The gentlest, kindest man, and a wonderful, wonderful talent. We're very blessed, all of us." "We have almost completed the next Indiana Jones film, featuring the music of John Williams," Ford added, referencing the as-yet-untitled next installment, directed by James Mangold and the first in the series not to be helmed by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, due in theaters June 30, 2023. "I'm really proud of the movie that we made. So I'll be seeing you around campus."