I'll be completely honest, as I was going into this panel, I wasn't too sure what they were going to talk about that would fill 45 minutes worth of content. After all, there really isn't that much that we truly do know about what is going to be in or take place in the new "Star Wars." Smartly, that was the first thing that was addressed.
As Bryan Young immediately brought up, we can only be sure of three things: the movie will be released in December of 2015, J.J. Abrams is directing, and R2-D2 will be in the films. That's about it.
Thankfully there was a lot more to discuss, not only speculation as to the upcoming movies but also about "Star Wars" lore and the impact the series has had on pop culture, the EU, and what we would hope to see included (or not) in the new trilogy and spin-off films.
In fact, of all the panels I attended today, this was definitely the most fun, intriguing and entertaining, and the FanX crowd seemed to agree as the panel played to a packed house in one of the bigger rooms at the convention center.
As I said before, speculation was the name of the game in this panel, but all the questions that were brought up by the audience and participants were dealt with in an intelligent and, at times, humorous, manner.
The biggest point of contention was that the EU (Expanded Universe) would largely be cast aside in order to make room for new stories and canon in the "Star Wars" universe. Sure it would be fun to see Admiral Thrawn reuniting the remnant of the Imperial Empire in an attempt to destroy the New Republic, or Han and Leia's kids training to become Jedi (or turning to the Dark Side), but do we really want to relive what we've already experienced in the books instead of enjoying a new story based on the foundation of the characters we know and loved from the movies alone?
A new story seemed to win the popular vote from the audience, and that makes the most sense for what Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams hope to accomplish with the new trilogy and the spin-offs. The world of the EU started right after the events of "Return of the Jedi", but the actors playing our beloved characters are now 30 years older than they were at the time of that movie, so to try to recreate the moments found in the books when they were younger in the timeline just doesn't make sense in the grand scheme of things. That's also assuming that the original actors will be making a return to the series -- something that hasn't even been confirmed and exists only in the realm of rumor.
Should Luke, Han, Leia and the rest come back, it would have to reflect their advancement in age and what they have been up to over the last few decades. Perhaps it could address Luke dealing with the loss of new Jedi padawans and knights to the Dark Side, or maybe the death of his close loved ones
Either way, the prospect of new stories seems much more exciting than rehashing what we already know and love from the EU.
But don't let me be the only one to judge. Click on the link below to hear the audio of the entire panel, and then feel free to weigh in on where you think the series should go in the comments section!