It is the greatest time of year for Star Wars fans as Star Wars Celebration is currently underway in Orlando, Florida. The event kicked off this year with a very special panel celebrating the 40th anniversary of the franchise and there were lots of surprises in store. One of the biggest and first surprises was George Lucas being brought on stage as the very first guest to talk about the legacy of his beloved galaxy far, far away.

The panel kicked off with a video showcasing the 40-year legacy of Star Wars, which was introduced by panel moderator Warwick Davis, who many of you may know as Wicket the Ewok. It was then Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy who made her way to the Star Wars Celebration stage. After talking for a minute about her love for the series and her personal journey with it, she then announced that the man himself was there to join them; Mr. George Lucas. The place absolutely erupted, giving the man responsible for creating Star Wars an incredibly warm reception.

George Lucas talked through the process of how he came up with Star Wars and how the movie ultimately got made, a story that has been told many times, but it was something that the audience really took to. At one point he veered off and said one of the most telling things about his viewpoint on the franchise, saying that he does and has always felt that the Star Wars movies are for kids.

"The idea was simply to do a high adventure film that I loved when I was a kid, with psychological themes. I don't know what I felt. It was like a really cockamamie idea. I did that. But again, seeing the film tonight and seeing it in various places after the first one, you know, seeing all of the kids. It's hard for people to realize and, I'm not supposed to say this, and I wasn't supposed to say it then, but It's a film for 12-year-olds."

That wasn't the only surprise that Lucasfilm had in store for everyone at Star Wars Celebration. After Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and Peter Mayhew all came out, a bomb was dropped on the audience when Harrison Ford strutted out on stage. As one might expect, the place erupted. This marks his very first ever appearance at Star Wars Celebration and it was memorable. He and George Lucas ribbed one another about misremembering how he got the part of Han Solo, which was amusing. But Harrison Ford looked like he was genuinely having a good time. But he couldn't escape making a joke when asked about what impact Star Wars has had on his life.

"Oh it's made no difference in my life whatsoever."

Star Wars Celebration is taking place now through Sunday in Orlando, Florida, so there will be plenty more Star Wars surprises in store throughout the weekend. We will be sure to keep you up to date as the big news and surprises roll in. And just in case you missed it and you want to see all of it for yourself, you can watch the full Star Wars 40th anniversary panel for yourself below.

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Ryan Scott