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Even while laboring under a long-standing mandate to keep the secrets of the series, the first-ever panel for “Star Wars: Episode IX” — or, as we now now it, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” — at this year’s Star Wars Celebration still managed to unearth a handful of tidbits about the J.J. Abrams-directed film. As the first panel to be held on the marquee Celebration Stage at the Chicago event (in actuality, the Wintrust Arena, a sports arena that typically plays home to basketball games and can hold a capacity of over 10,000 screaming fans), it was arguably the biggest draw of the fan event.
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Panel - Film - Teaser - Trailer - Hit
The panel also introduced the film’s first teaser trailer, and while that quick hit provided its own answers and exciting elements — Rey getting into a light saber fight with an unexpected foe, Billy Dee Williams back piloting the Millennium Falcon, and the apparent return of the mega-evil Emperor Palpatine (star Ian McDiarmid even appeared on stage to demand they roll the trailer again) — the hour-long chat had its own revelations.
Host Stephen Colbert had to push and prod to get much of anything out of director Abrams, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Naomi Ackie, and Anthony Daniels, some key revelations about the much-hyped film did emerge. Basic stuff, too, from when the film is set (beyond just “a long time ago”) to what new characters might be introduced (and whom they might be related to). Here’s what we learned.
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1. It Doesn’t Pick Up Right After “The Last Jedi”
Early in the panel, Abrams revealed to Colbert and the crowd that film does not pick up immediately after the events...
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