It was a huge day for Star Wars fans as today was the “40 Years of Star Wars” panel at Star Wars Celebration, a fan convention in Orlando, Florida. At that panel, Lucasfilm executive Kathleen Kennedy and the franchise’s brainchild, George Lucas himself, took a look back at the 40 years the franchise has dominated pop culture. They did so with the help of many former and current Star Wars actors.
One of the more poignant moments was when Lucas and Billie Lourd talked about the late Carrie Fisher, who famously portrayed Princess Leia on the big screen. Lourd, Fisher’s daughter, told a story about how Fisher showed off her memorization of all her lines from the original trilogy of Star Wars films on the set of The Force Awakens. Lucas reminisced about her: “When Carrie was the character, she was very smart, very bold, very thoughtful. There really wasn’t much of a question. There aren’t that many people like her. There’s one in a billion.” The segment ended with a reel of Fisher’s work, followed by a 20-minute medley of Leia’s theme, the iconic Star Wars opening theme, and “The Imperial March”, performed by the legendary composer John Williams and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lucas sold Lucasfilm and Star Wars to Disney for a little over $4 billion a couple of years ago, and he has mostly stayed away from Star Wars events since then, even skipping the premiere of the most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One. Other actors who showed up to share classic Star Wars stories included Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid and Warwick Davis. Samuel L. Jackson and Liam Neeson also made appearances by prerecorded video. Neeson was notable for joking about Jar Jar Binks, a much derided character in Star Wars fandom, turning to the dark side.