Celebrity guests and 'Star Wars' panels at the annual fan convention.

By Tom Huddleston, Jr.
April 13, 2017

Thousands of Star Wars fans are gathering in Florida this week for the 40-year-old movie franchise’s annual official convention, Star Wars Celebration. But you don’t have to buy a ticket or wait in long lines of Jedi-worshippers to follow along with the event and get the latest updates on new Star Wars movies and products.

Fans can also catch quite a bit of the action online because Disney and Lucasfilm partnered with Verizon to offer more than 30 hours of live-streamed events at Star Wars Celebration. Disney and Lucasfilm are celebrating everything Star Wars at the four-day fan convention, including the upcoming 40th anniversary of the original film, which was released in May 1977.

The event kicks off today and will include celebrity guests (like actors Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson) as well as panels and special announcements.

Star Wars fans can watch live-streamed footage from the convention on StarWars.com with coverage from the Lucasfilm-supported online program The Star Wars Show. Highlights of the weekend will include a 40th anniversary celebration, a panel discussing the upcoming release of a sequel to the Star Wars video game Battlefront, and a sneak peak at the fourth season of the animated show Star Wars Rebels.

Most importantly for film fans, though, there will also be a panel discussing the latest Star Wars saga film, The Last Jedi, and Disney is expected to reveal the first trailer for the film. The highly-anticipated movie is set to be released in December and it’s expected to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year.

In 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashed box office records on its way to earning more than $2 billion at the global box office. And last year, the first Star Wars spinoff movie Rogue One followed up that performance with an impressive haul of $1.05 billion worldwide.

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Earlier this week, Disney and Lucasfilm kicked off the franchise’s 40th anniversary celebration by announcing the launch of a new Star Wars-themed charity campaign aimed at benefitting global children’s charities UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

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