Live from the Celebration movie panel


Oscar Isaac says working on the final episode in the current “Star Wars” saga was “the most fun it’s been.” (March 4)

CHICAGO – “Star Wars: Episode IX” wraps up the current movie trilogy – and the entire Skywalker saga begun 42 years ago. And Friday finally brings a first look of the highly anticipated film, and maybe even a title, at Star Wars Celebration.

The mega-popular franchise’s four-day convention offers a grand stage to answer fans’ most burning questions about the the concluding chapter (in theaters Dec. 20) to the story line George Lucas first introduced in 1977. Director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and surprise attendees hold court at a panel dedicated to “Episode IX.”

“Star Wars” stalwarts are starving for a first trailer, intel on where heroes like Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn go after “The Last Jedi,” news about how Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher factor into the new movie, and an official title.

Here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown (CT) of the panel:

11:27: Next up is Lando himself, Billy Dee Williams! “I’m a very lucky person. I didn’t expect to be in this little adventure,” he says. “I ended up working with somebody who I have a tremendous regard for: J.J. Abrams. I love his name. He’s a beautiful young man.”

11:20: Here comes some cast members: Anthony Daniels and old pal R2-D2. “He is the voice of reason,” Daniels says of his Threepio. “He is the one who tells you you’re in danger, And what does everyone tell him over nine movies? ‘Shut up.’ Well, I’m here to tell you, ‘Enough!’ ” Daniels announces that he’s got a book coming out.

11:19: Abrams confirms it doesn’t pick up right where “Last Jedi” left off – “Some time has passed” – but “this is an adventure the group goes on together.”

11:15: Colbert brings up interviewing Carrie Fisher. Abrams says they couldn’t “fill the void…. She was glorious and amazing.” The “weird miracle” was they had unused scenes from “Force Awakens” and found a way for her to be in it. “What if we could write scenes around her? The crazy thing is, emotionally, every day it hits me every day she’s here but it’s surreal because we’re working with her still. … Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that’s mindblowing to me.”

11:13: It’s 40 years after Lucas started, and to keep it relevant “it has to feel of its time,” Kennedy says. They’ve taken to heart everything that inspired Lucas. “This movie is about this new generation and what they’ve inherited, the light and the dark,” Abrams adds.

11:11: Abrams says he “can’t wait for people to see” what’s to come. In editing room now and “things are going pretty well so far.”

11:10: “The thing I think about all the time is the responsibility we have,” Kennedy says. Lucas said this was the third act of a three-act structure and this is it, she confirms. “What you’re going to end up seeing you’re going to be so happy with.” And Abrams “cares more than anyone I know.”

11:08: Colbert was on the “Episode IX” set: “Oh the things I know.” He introduces Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams, who get the standing ovation.

11:07: Colbert: “Am I really at this panel right now? Isn’t it possible … I’m Force-projecting myself on this stage? Come on, just try to strike me down.” A nod to Luke Skywalker in “Last Jedi.” Colbert feels like the Luke from the original film: “I was once that kid. And on my best days I still am.”

11:04: The panel begins with a montage of behind-the-scenes footage from other movies that’s absolutely chill-inducing. And our host comes out … Stephen Colbert!

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