The past sixteen months have been a rough time for Star Wars fans. After the undeniably divided online fan response to Star Wars: The Last Jedi beginning in December of 2017, navigating the swampy internet discourse around everyone’s favorite pop-culture space opera has been rough going at best.
That’s why the Star Wars fan community absolutely needed the fresh infusion of unbridled positivity that only Star Wars Celebration 2019 could deliver. Over five days in Chicago this past weekend, Lucasfilm devotees of all stripes gathered to explore the expansive exhibit hall floor, see their favorite Star Wars celebrities, learn more about upcoming projects, dress in jaw-droppingly impressive cosplay, shop through endless rows of merchandise, meet fellow enthusiasts, and just generally bask in their appreciation of all things related to A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 11, 2019
While the first day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago was devoid of panel presentations, it did offer attendees the opportunity to wander around the show floor without feeling like they were missing something. This was our best chance to spend some real time in Disney Park’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge booth, which featured photo ops not only against some cool Batuu backdrops, but also in the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance droid-piloted ride vehicle itself.
Watch Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge booth and ride vehicle at Star Wars Celebration Chicago:
On Thursday, we also got a look at LEGO’s record-breaking Stormtrooper display, attended a fancy 501st Legion party, and prepared for the Star Wars madness to come over the weekend.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 11, 2019
The main event of Star Wars Celebration Chicago was, of course, the Episode IX panel, which took place Friday morning and featured appearances by a big chunk of the cast, teases about the movie’s plot, photos from the set, and ultimately the premiere of the film’s teaser trailer, which included the reveal of its title: The Rise of Skywalker. Needless to say, the audience in the Celebration Stage arena went completely nuts, and lost it even more when Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid took the stage and uttered (in a Darth Sidious drawl) his now-famous line, “Roll it again…”
Watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer crowd reaction at Star Wars Celebration Chicago:
Also on Friday, we learned about the Vader Immortal VR series from ILMxLAB, discovered new Star Wars toys coming soon from Hasbro and LEGO, and found out about future Star Wars books from Lucasfilm Publishing.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 12, 2019
Saturday morning saw the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge presentation on the Celebration Stage, which didn’t offer a tremendous amount of new information, but did provide tidbits like the return of Frank Oz as Yoda to the upcoming theme park land, Coca-Cola’s interesting Aurebesh repackaging within the city street of Black Spire Outpost, and Paul Reubens reprising his role as DJ Rex for Oga’s Cantina. We also heard some of Rex’s musical repertoire and got to experience John Williams’ full orchestral overture he created for Galaxy’s Edge when it opens later this year at Disneyland Resort at Walt Disney World.
Watch The Music of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – DJ Rex and John Williams:
Also on Saturday, we learned about EA’s exciting new Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order video game and attended D23’s special member screening of Return of the Jedi at a nearby movie theater.
One of my favorite bits of swag from #StarWarsCelebration is this set of throwback #StarTours poster postcards distributed by @DisneyD23 at their member screening of #ReturnOfTheJedi. @DisneyParks pic.twitter.com/SnOr4LqeC2
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 17, 2019
On Sunday morning, we finally got some more details about my personal most highly anticipated new Star Wars project: the Disney+ exclusive live-action series The Mandalorian. Showrunner Jon Favreau and producer Dave Filoni were on hand along with the main cast to enlighten the Celebration Stage crowd to what I believe will be the most rewarding Star Wars content of the year. Those in attendance also got a special look at a behind-the-scenes featurette, a full scene, and an extended trailer for the series, which stars Pedro Pascal as a bounty hunter hired to track down a mysterious target in the Outer Rim of the galaxy.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 14, 2019
Also on Sunday, we enjoyed prolific Disney voice-over actor Alan Tudyk’s memories of working on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and saw a preview of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series revival coming to Disney+.
Watch Alan Tudyk does Disney voices, “Firefly” / K2-SO parody at Star Wars Celebration Chicago:
On Monday, the final day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago, we arrived at the show floor upon the convention’s opening to check out the final round of merchandise displays in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge booth. Over Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, we’d seen collections of items that will be available at First Order Cargo, Resistance Supple, Black Spire Outfitters, Toydarian Toymaker, The Creature Stall, Droid Depot, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, and Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers once Batuu begins welcoming visitors at Disney Parks.
Watch ALL Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge merchandise displays from Star Wars Celebration Chicago:
Finally on Monday, we attended the Star Wars Resistance panel, during which the series’ cast and creative team reviewed their experience working on the show’s first season and gave the audience an exclusive sneak peek at the entire first episode from season two, airing on Disney XD later this year.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) April 15, 2019
And with that, we said goodbye to Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago, and immediately began looking forward to the next event at Star Wars Celebration 2020 in Anaheim, just across the street from Disneyland Resort (not to mention Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge). Hopefully we’ll see you there, and until then May The Force Be With You!
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.