image

Star Wars

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ to feature new Asian female character

The first trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” shows Luke Skywalker possibly flirting with the dark side

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 April, 2017, 1:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 April, 2017, 6:06am

The largely testosterone-fueled Star Wars movie franchise has added an important new female character in the eighth film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, director Rian Johnson said on Friday at a fanfest in Orlando.

Johnson said the movie, scheduled for release in December, is still in post production.

Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose, a maintenance worker in the Resistance. Johnson said her character embodies the notion that even the most unlikely person can step up and become a hero. He said her part is the biggest new role in the film.

Lucasfilm also live-streamed to fans worldwide the first movie trailer that features Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, wielding a lightsaber under the guidance of Luke Skywalker who tells her that it’s time for the Jedi to end.

The trailer teased a Skywalker who just might be flirting with the dark side.

Johnson, producer Kathleen Kennedy and the cast chatted for an hour with host Josh Gad, about the much-anticipated next chapter in the “Star Wars” saga.

The footage offered few clues but notably featured Mark Hamill’s Skywalker intoning from a dark cave that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.”

The first fully-formed trailer for “The Last Jedi” had almost half a million views and more than 13,000 comments on YouTube within 90 minutes of being posted, with #TheLastJedi quickly becoming the top trending hashtag worldwide on Twitter.

The trailer whetted the appetites of ravenous “Star Wars” fans who turned out in droves in Orlando and online.

The other focus of the festivities in Orlando was how do you celebrate 40 years of “Star Wars”?

With a surprise Harrison Ford appearance, a touching Carrie Fisher tribute, a John Williams performance and a fair amount of jokes about George Lucas’ dialogue, of course.

Attendees at Star Wars Celebration were treated to that and more Thursday in Orlando, Florida, at the kick-off of the four-day fan event marking the anniversary of Lucas’ space saga.

Actor Warwick Davis moderated the sprawling look-back at the four decade legacy, featuring appearances by Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Hayden Christensen.

Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen on how he changed Rogue One: a Star Wars story

There were also video messages from Liam Neeson, who joked that a film was being made about Jar Jar Binks going to the dark side, and from Samuel L. Jackson, who cheekily suggested that his prequel character Mace Windu is not dead.

“Let’s make it happen,” Jackson said directly to Kennedy. “All you gotta do is say the word.”

Ford’s unexpected appearance garnered the most enthusiastic response from the thousands of fans in the convention centre.

“I can’t believe we managed to keep it a secret considering you landed your plane” on Interstate 4, Davis joked when the applause died down.

“It was a good landing,” Ford said, smiling.

The actor has historically had a tenuous relationship with the fandom around his character Han Solo, but he appeared genuinely happy to reminisce Thursday about the lasting legacy of Lucas’ creation.

Lucas said he had already worked with Ford on “American Graffiti” when he gave Ford the part because it was about “spaceships and flying” and he could fly.

Ford, quoting another of his iconic characters, Indiana Jones, quipped back, “Fly? Yes. Land? No.”

For “Star Wars” super fans, most of the behind the scenes stories told were as well-known as the stories in the actual films — from the fact that Lucas’ inspiration for Chewbacca was his dog Indiana to the actors’ problems with Lucas’ fanciful and technical dialogue.

Game review– Star Wars: Force Arena offers old–fashioned fun

“How can you make it sound like it’s spontaneous dialogue rolling off the tongue?” Hamill asked.

“He was right. It was a bit much,” Lucas responded.

Ford laughed.

“I said to George, ‘You can type this stuff but you can’t say it. Move your mouth when you’re typing,’” Ford said.

Missing, of course, was Carrie Fisher, who died late last year at 60. Lucas and Kennedy saved their words about Fisher for the end.

“She was very strong, very smart, very funny, very bold and very tough. There were not very many people like her. They’re one in a billion,” Lucas said, recalling Fisher’s willingness to tell him when his dialogue was too difficult to say in portraying Princess Leia. “We’ll all love her forever and ever.”

‘Star Wars’ faces plot rethink after Carrie Fisher’s loss

Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, who acted alongside her mother in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” appeared on stage decked in Princess Leia white to remember her mother and grandmother Debbie Reynolds. Hamill also has planned a Fisher tribute for Friday.

Star Wars composer John Williams closed out the session, conducting the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of his score, from the Imperial March to the Main Title.

Star Wars Celebration runs through Sunday and includes a myriad of events for fans, many of which can be streamed online.