Star Wars Celebration Europe: Future Filmmakers Panel Recap


During the Future Filmmakers panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe, Alden Ehrenreich was confirmed as young Han Solo, John Boyega made a surprise cameo, and more.

More from Dork Side of the Force

As the final panel of the final day of Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, the Future Filmmakers panel had high expectations surrounding it. It seemed guaranteed something explosive would be announced, given the high-powered guest list in attendance. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Episode VIII director Rian Johnson, the directors of the young Han Solo movie, Christopher Miller and Phillip Lord, and Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo were all on hand to discuss the future of Star Wars films, and a few celebrities even made surprise appearances throughout the hour, to the delight of the fans watching.

But despite all the excitement, precious little news we had not already heard about was revealed. Below is a list of what we learned, or rather, what past information was confirmed.

NOTE: The Future Filmmakers panel was not livestreamed. The information below was compiled from Star Wars Celebration Europe attendees who live tweeted the event.

  • Rian Johnson shared several photos he took behind the scenes of Episode VIII. He confirmed Episode VIII will begin where The Force Awakens left off, meaning for the first time in Star Wars saga movie history there will not be a time jump between Episodes.
  • Star Wars Underworld tweeted that Episode VIII will “zoom in” on the characters established in The Force Awakens and “challenge them in new ways” (much like The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones).
  • Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has a cameo in Episode VIII, and Johnson and his producer can be briefly seen in Rogue One as a Death Star gunners. Christopher Miller and Phillip Lord almost cameoed in Rogue One, as well (they dressed up in costumes and everything), but Germain Lussier of Gizmodo and io9 tweeted they never filmed a scene because Miller had to attend a school meeting for his child.
  • Miller and Lord moved to London just two days ago, and are still working on the script and pre-production for Han Solo (via Germain Lussier).
  • Miller said of Han Solo, “He doesn’t want to do anything he’s told… he’s very sarcastic… and unreasonably optimistic” (via Chris Taylor). Star Wars Underworld tweeted, “The dichotomy between Han’s grouchy-ness and his big heart is what made Phil and Chris interested in the [character].”
  • Miller and Lord said the casting process for Han Solo was the most difficult they have ever experienced. They auditioned 3,000 actors, but ended up choosing the very first person they auditioned: Alden Ehrenreich (via Bryan Young).
  • The Future Filmmakers panel then officially confirmed Alden Ehrenreich’s landing of the role of young Han Solo in the upcoming standalone film.
  • Ehrenreich himself came on stage to talk briefly about playing Solo. He said he screentested with a Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon, and that being on the Falcon “was more exciting than it was nerve-wracking” (via Star Wars Underworld).
  • Filming for the Han Solo movie was then confirmed to be scheduled to begin around the end of January, early February 2017 (via Germain Lussier).
  • As a complete surprise, John Boyega, who got a standing ovation from the audience, joined the panel and chatted about Rian Johnson’s direction skills. He said Rian is “pushing the characters in a few cool ways,” adding, “Rian is making an indie movie within a studio franchise” (via Germain Lussier and Star Wars Underworld).
  • Boyega confirmed Finn is out of his coma and up and walking around in Episode VIII (via Germain Lussier). He also said he’s been adding autographs to his giant Han Solo action figure, the one he had Harrison Ford sign on the set of The Force Awakens (via Germain Lussier).
  • Rian Johnson then mentioned one of Episode VIII‘s new stars, who screentested with Boyega for the role: “I am so excited for you to meet Kelly Marie Tran… all in good time” (via Star Wars UK). I hope that name drop means Tran is going to be a main character in the film.
  • Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher came on the stage next, dogs Millie and Gary in tow. They didn’t speak about Episode VIII, but they did talk about how they are like siblings in real life. Moviefone tweeted, “Carrie Fisher calls Mark Hamill her brother and Hamill says he’d defend Fisher with his life.”

And that was the end of the panel. No title for Episode VIII, no trailer of any kind, not even a photo of anyone in costume aside from the film directors.

It was a disappointing conclusion to Star Wars Celebration Europe, when all is said and done. But really, the stars of the show this year were Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels. Rian Johnson promised Star Wars Celebration in Orlando next year would be an Episode VIII showcase, as well as the 40th anniversary of Star Wars (via Meanwhile, the Han Solo movie won’t even be in theaters until 2018, meaning there’s not much to show right now.

Still, a title drop for Episode VIII would have felt appropriate. But we may have to wait till 2017 to get even that.

Next: Rogue One Probably Won't Have An Opening Crawl

The end of the Future Filmmakers panel means the end of Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016! It’s been a wild and fun ride, but we’re not done talking about. Keep checking back in here at Dork Side as we analyze everything we’ve learned over the past weekend.