The Force is still strong with Carrie Fisher.
Star Wars fans from around the world have gathered in Orlando this week for Star Wars Celebration, the annual fan convention that celebrates all things from a galaxy far, far away. The latest installment in the franchise, The Last Jedi, hits theaters in December, and though members of the original cast and crew gathered to toast the franchise's 40th anniversary, Princess Leia's absence cast a pall over the proceedings. A panel Thursday featured nearly every big name from Star Wars history — including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen and Billy Dee Williams — except Fisher, who died in December at age 60.
Fisher's Star Wars family gave her a special goodbye at the panel, with her former colleagues speaking movingly about her time on the films, and her daughter Billie Lourd making an appearance to pay tribute to her mom. "In our world, Star Wars became a religion and a way of life. I wanted to be here with you because I know you feel the same way," Lourd told the audience.
The panel also screened a special video tribute to Fisher, who will appear in the upcoming Last Jedi, which she finished filming before her death. The emotional video shows clips of Fisher in the Star Wars films, including a shot that appears to be from the set of Jedi, as well as interviews with the current and former cast, and, of course, Fisher herself.
"She had to hold her own against two lugs. She was the boss and it was her war," Star Wars creator George Lucas said of Fisher, choking up. "We'll love her forever and ever."
Contributing: Brian Truitt from Orlando.