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The 5 coolest things we saw at Star Wars Celebration, from VR Vader to a 'Mandalorian'

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“Star Wars” released a first look at the new movie “Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” at Star Wars Celebration.
USA TODAY

CHICAGO – Another Star Wars Celebration has come and gone, and by the looks of how the galaxy far, far away is expanding, Obi-Wan Kenobi is sounding more right than ever: “The Force will be with you. Always.”

The new trailer for the ninth and concluding chapter of the 42-year-old Skywalker saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (in theaters Dec. 20), broke the internet for a bit upon its premiere at the fan convention. But the mega-popular franchise showcased how its snaking tendrils into every medium like never before, with new tales coming in the worlds of streaming TV, video games, comic books, virtual reality and more.

Here are the five coolest things we saw at Celebration:

‘Rise of Skywalker’ brings back an old foe

It’s no surprise that the highly anticipated first footage from the new film was the weekend’s biggest highlight. Rey flipping over a TIE Fighter, Lando Calrissian back in the Millennium Falcon, General Leia with a warm embrace, our heroes hanging together again – it all had folks cheering. But director J.J. Abrams delivered a huge shock with the return of the most malevolent “Star Wars” villain of all time, Emperor Palpatine.

‘The Mandalorian’ gives us original-trilogy feels

For those who miss the dangerous side-eyes and itchy trigger fingers from the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in 1977’s “Star Wars,” buckle up because “The Mandalorian” is about to punch you in the face with nostalgia. Pedro Pascal’s helmeted title bounty hunter lives in a galactic underworld among all sorts of aliens and what remains of the Empire, who are knocked down but not out. If you love Boba Fett, it’s a must-see.

‘Vader Immortal’ surrounds you with the Dark Side

Darth Vader has a reputation for being the baddest man in the universe, but you don’t really understand how imposing that helmeted dude is until he’s standing over you in this new VR adventure (coming this spring for Oculus Quest headsets). As a Force-sensitive smuggler who comes under Vader’s employ, folks can test their skills in the lightsaber dojo and hang with new droid ZOE3 (played by Maya Rudolph).

Galaxy’s Edge is going to be on every fan’s wish list

It’ll probably involve several hours waiting in line for rides and overpriced Cokes in thermal-detonator bottles – not to mention the “space meat” – but the “Star Wars” lands coming to Disney theme parks later this year look like they’ll offer an amazing experience for those who adore this galaxy. Who wouldn’t want to pilot the Millennium Falcon or get captured and tossed on a First Order Star Destroyer with Kylo Ren staring them down?

‘The Clone Wars’ finally gets to end on its own terms

Before “The Force Awakens” brought “Star Wars” back in a big way in 2017, “The Clone Wars” animated series – set between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” – was the vehicle that kept new tales coming for fans from 2008 before its cancellation in 2013. Celebration debuted a trailer for the final season coming to Disney+, with improved animation and the continuation of young heroine Ahsoka Tano’s story after she left the Jedi Order.

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  • General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:  EPISDOE IX1 of 18
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX2 of 18
  • Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX.3 of 18
  • Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in STAR WARS:  THE RISE OF SKYWALKER4 of 18
  • The Millenium Falcon in STAR WARS:  THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.5 of 18
  • C3PO (Anthony Daniels), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX.6 of 18
  • 'Star Wars: The Rise of Starwalker'7 of 18
  • Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX.8 of 18
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.9 of 18
  • (Left to right( Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, D-O, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX10 of 18
  • Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.11 of 18
  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) n STAR WARS:  THE RISE OF SKYWALKER12 of 18
  • BB-8 and D-O in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX13 of 18
  • Kylo Rens restored helmet in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.14 of 18
  • Memory of Victorys Past in STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX.15 of 18
  • IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE LEGO GROUP - Star Warsenthusiast Joseph Naiman, 7, takes a selfie with his parents Marshall, left, and Danelle next to thelargestdisplay ofLEGOStar Warsminifigures atStar WarsCelebration on Thursday, April 11, 2019 in Chicago. The display, which is made up of 36,440LEGO stormtrooper minifigures, broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title. (Alex Garcia/AP Images for TheLEGOGroup) ORG XMIT: CPANY10416 of 18
  • Fans participate in the Star Wars celebration in Chicago on April 11, 2019. - Fans from all over the world gather in Chicago to celebrate the cultural phenomenon of the Star Wars franchise. (Photo by Kamil KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: 35.000 fa ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1FL01R17 of 18
  • Fans participate in the Star Wars celebration in Chicago on April 11, 2019. - Fans from all over the world gather in Chicago to celebrate the cultural phenomenon of the Star Wars franchise. (Photo by Kamil KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: 35.000 fa ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1FK95618 of 18

 

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