The European edition of Star Wars Celebrations, the official Lucasfilm organized fan event, has just wrapped up. More than 20,000 Star Wars fans from around the world gathered to celebrate their love of the classic stories and the chance to hear a few big announcements about the future of the franchise.
In a Main Stage event hosted by Warwick Davis, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced that legendary composer John Williams will return to score the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII, to be directed by J.J. Abrams. And one of the Executive Producers from Star Wars Rebels, Dave Filoni, was on hand to guide fans through the genesis of the upcoming animated series, revealing designs heavily influenced by original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. While unable to attend in person, Executive Producers Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman shared their excitement for the series in a video message recorded exclusively for Celebration attendees. Star Wars: Episode VII is slated for a 2015 release and Star Wars Rebels will begin airing on Disney XD starting in fall of 2014.
“This has been a remarkable event,” said Kennedy. “Star Wars fans are amazing the world over – a community that speaks in all languages, but with one voice. They are an integral part of why Star Wars continues to remain so relevant after all these years, from generation to generation. The passion of our fans is a constant consideration in all of our ongoing creative conversations. It’s for the fans that we’re telling these new stories, and because of them that we’re able to do so.”
Kennedy also explained she’s had several meetings with director JJ Abrams. They’re looking at returning to using more real world sets and are focused on getting it right
“It’s a conversation we’re having all the time in the development of Episode VII,” said Kennedy. “Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects — that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. So we’re going to find some very cool locations that we’re going to use in support of Episode VII. And I think we’re probably going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox to create the look of these movies.”
The Emmy Award-winning series Star Wars: The Clone Wars was also featured at the event, spotlighting a first look at The Complete Season Five Blu-ray and DVD boxed sets, and the massive Seasons 1-5 Collector’s Edition, both scheduled for an October 15 release.
At the closing ceremonies, Lucasfilm announced that its next fan fest – Star Wars Celebration VII – will be timed to the theatrical release of Episode VII, and will be held in Anaheim, California from April 16-18, 2015. Tickets go on sale on August 9th, 2013. Yes, that soon.