Fans celebrate 40 years of 'Star Wars,' trailer released

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Fans celebrate 40 years of "Star Wars" in Orlando. (WLS)

"Star Wars" has been one of the most successful film franchises and pop culture influences in history. This weekend, fans are celebrating 40 years of fun at the annual convention in Orlando.

The Force is strong in Orlando as over 50,000 "Star Wars" fans converge at the 2017 Star Wars Celebration to commemorate the pervasive pop-culture phenomenon 40 years in the making.

"It's for all time, 'Star Wars' is," Evan Greenwood, a fan, said.

For over two generations these Jedi, droids, and galactic beings have been the face of the universe, but at the heart, it's the fans.

"Ever since he was three-years-old, he watched that movie and it was a 40-year-old movie at the time, and he was hooked," Jeffrey Katlein, said.

The fans have expanded the universe beyond even George Lucas' wildest dreams with music, cosplay, memorabilia, tattos and even real-world robotics.

"The idea was simply to do high-adventure film that I loved when I was a kid with meaningful psychological themes," Lucas said.

There is something for everyone in the "Star Wars" universe.

"It connects people, it binds people, it brings the Force together, that's what makes 'Star Wars' fans, 'Star Wars' fans," a fan said.

From Padawans to Master Jedis, Wookies to sci-fi rookies, devotees from planetary systems near and far were at the convention to revel in and pay homage to a galaxy that, to them, doesn't feel so far away.

"Star Wars" is produced by Disney, which is the parent company of ABC 7.

"STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI" TRAILER RELEASED

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The first trailer for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" dropped on Friday, showcasing a morose and withdrawn Skywalker.


The first trailer for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" dropped on Friday, showcasing a morose and withdrawn Skywalker. The two-minute teaser , unveiled by director Rian Johnson at the "Star Wars Celebration" fan event in Orlando, Florida, offered few clues to the film. But it notably includes Mark Hamill's iconic hero gravely intoning, "It's time for the Jedi to end," from a dark cave.

The trailer whetted the appetites of ravenous "Star Wars" fans who turned out in droves in Orlando and online, where the event was streamed live. Actor Josh Gad, a Disney star from another universe ("Frozen," ''Beauty and the Beast"), hosted a panel including Johnson, producer Kathleen Kennedy and cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and a new addition, Kelly Marie Tran.

"The Last Jedi" picks off where "The Force Awakens" left off, with Rey (Ridley) meeting Luke on a remote island, filmed off the coast of Ireland. Some shots in the trailer also suggested Skywalker training Rey on the island. In "The Force Awakens," Adam Driver's Kylo Ren has turned to the dark side after being tutored by Luke.

"The Last Jedi" is due in theaters Dec. 15.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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