One of the biggest panels at this year’s Star Wars Celebration just wrapped up: the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story panel. Plenty of special guests were in attendance included director Gareth Edwards and plenty of members of the film’s cast. You can watch the latest Star Wars Celebration live-stream streaming live above; below you’ll find all the news and notes from the Rogue One panel. The film’s plot synopsis:

Following the foundation of the Galactic Empire, a wayward band of Rebel fighters come together to carry out a desperate mission: to steal the plans for the Death Star before it can be used to enforce the Emperor’s rule.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016.

News and Notes From the Rogue One Panel:

-The panel opened with the familiar A New Hope crawl which glitched and morphed into the story of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, before the logo appeared on the screen.

-Your guests: Producer Kathleen Kennedy, director Gareth Edwards, Lucasfilm Story Group’s Kiri Hart, executive producer John Noll, and host Gwendoline Christie.

-All the past Star Wars movies, Kennedy says, have been prequels or sequels. These “standalone” movies can explore other areas. Edwards was the guy to direct the film, Kennedy added, because of his unique handheld style of moviemaking, which is “unlike any other Star Wars movie.” Kennedy would wander the set looking for him, and she’d invariably find him with a camera on his shoulder right in the middle of the action.

-“This is going to be an incredible immersive experience,” says Kathleen Kennedy.

-Edwards says he watched A New Hope every day as a kid until he wore out his Betamax tape. “It’s just been the most insane, the most surreal experience,” he added.

-The idea for the film actually came from producer and ILM chief creative officer John Noll, who started hatching it back when George Lucas was developing the never-made Star Wars live-action TV series. He describes the idea as a “Mission: Impossible-style spy mission” to steal the Death Star plans. He later realized that it didn’t fit with the live-action series, but he held onto the idea and realized it would make a perfect standalone story.

-Noll presented one of the very first pieces of concept art, which was inspired by things like Guns of Navarone and Ocean’s 11:

-The Maldives was the location for this fantastic shot, where the extras had no idea what Star Wars was or what Stormtroopers were:

-Next they unveiled the new Rogue One poster:

 

-Then the Rogue One cast took the stage: Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, and Ben Mendelsohn, who arrived in costume as Director Krennic.

-Gareth Edwards then introduced a sizzle reel from the film, mostly behind-the-scenes footage. There were tons of practical sets and explosions, and very few blue-screen shots.

-How is Felicity Jones’ character, Jyn Erso, unique? The main difference, according to Jones, is not a character asking questions about her origins. “We know that about her,” she says. “And that fact is what propels the story.”

-Diego Luna plays Cassian, who is the first member of Jyn’s team. Cassian’s best, or maybe, only friend is a reprogrammed Imperial droid, K-2SO, who is played by Alan Tudyk. The actor described his droid saying, “He’s not quite all there. he speaks his mind and says things that can be unsettling. Very honest. If you know any old people, it’s like that.”

-According to Tudyk, Anthony Daniels’ reaction when he heard that K-2SO was done with digital effects, rather than in a suit: “You s---.” Here’s the first official photo of K-2SO:


-Some of Rogue One was shot in a real London tube station:

-Edwards told the audience about watching James Earl Jones record his voiceover for Darth Vader. “Every time he’d do a line, and I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s this one line where he says the word [Edwards doing a Jones impression] ‘power.’ And we just looked at each other and had this nerd-gasm.”

-After introducing the rest of the cast and a repeat of the Sizzle Reel, just the audience at Celebration was treated to a private screening of the Rogue One trailer, which included new footage, and the first look at Darth Vader in the film. Here’s everything we saw in that trailer.

Meet the new Rogue One Characters:

And Here’s Even More Rogue One Photos: