40 Years of Star Wars

Star Wars Celebration kicked off this morning with long lines and some very eager fans.

Fans who braved the overnight "Sleepover" inside the Orange County Convention Center had the opportunity to be the first to reserve their seats inside the Galaxy Theater to see the 40 Years of Star Wars Event.

The host of the panel was Warrick Davis (who played Wicket in the original trilogy) and he welcomed the fans and thanked them for the past 40 years of loyalty before launching into a video on the main screen that took a look at some of the best moments from the past 40 years including some behind the scenes footage. 

Next Warrick Davis introduced the first guest of the panel, the President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, who thanked everyone for being part of the Lucasfilm family. Kennedy then introduced the first surprise guest of the day, George Lucas.

Lucas and Davis shared stories about their time together and Lucas talked about the creation of Star Wars. 

Next, Clone Wars and Rebels producer Dave Filoni took the stage and talked about his mentor and teacher and Jedi Master George Lucas and shared the lessons he learned from him, most importantly that you can never let fear of failure dictate how you live. 

Videos from Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson were sprinkled into the panel with both stars away working on films but both sharing stories and jokes. 

Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen both joined the panel and showered one another with respect for their acting and time together.

Anthony Daniels (C3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando) all came on stage together to share stories and thank the fans.

Warrick Davis then introduced Mark Hamill who came on stage to talk about being cast as Luke Skywalker and what the last 40 years have meant to him.

If you're going to have Luke, Chewy, 3PO, Wicket, and Lando on stage, you might as well have Han Solo. 

The crowd erupted as Harrison Ford was introduced. Ford doesn't talk alot about his Star Wars past so it was great to see him on stage with Hamill and Lucas talking about his career. 

There were several tributes to Carrie Fisher but nothing as moving as the next surprise guest, Carrie's daughter Billy Lourd who fought back tears as she talked about her mom and quoted some familiar dialogue.

The final surprise of the panel was the best... for me anyway, as curtains opened and John Williams and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra was revealed and began to play his iconic works from Star Wars. 

Tomorrow: The Last Jedi Panel!

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