CHICAGO — Now that the Star Wars Celebration fan gathering is over, here are a few things the event told us about the future of the most popular franchise in movie history.


This summer, Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will open “Star Wars” parks in its resorts, and if the presentations at McCormick were right, you’ll drink blue milk and meet an animatronic Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) while being surrounded by a new score from John Williams (written exclusively for the parks). They said nothing about previously announced plans for a “Star Wars” hotel in Orlando, but we did hear that visitors to “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” can download an app that, to cite one function, refashions phones into language translators.

Can’t make it to Orlando? Also coming, “Vader Immortal,” an interactive virtual-reality series by Batman screenwriter David Goyer and co-starring Maya Rudolph (as a droid). At a panel for the series, one of its developers explained she was inspired after feeling increasingly distanced from the traditional, passive act of – sigh – just watching.


There’s the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, now the sequel trilogy; not to mention the book trilogies, video games and comic books. Expect future “Star Wars” stories to dig into not only the before and after but also the in-between slivers of time and peripheral characters connecting moments between the movies. This is nothing new, but since the soul and legacy of the franchise, the Skywalker saga, concludes in December with “The Rise of Skywalker,” that connective space is looking even more valuable. For instance, EA has a cool new game, “Jedi: Fallen Order” (coming in November), that takes place between the prequels and originals; similarly, “The Mandalorian,” the first live-action “Star Wars” TV series, also previewed, is set between the originals and sequels.


I met a few women from Texas at Celebration – three older women, former librarians and teachers among them, seated in walkers – who have been fans for 40 years, but when the subject turned to women in “Star Wars,” they looked uneasy. One even said Lucasfilm’s recent emphasis on more female heroes “was maybe overdoing it a little.”

Hate to break it: “Star Wars” casting increasingly resembles the real world, and don’t expect it to change. At the panel for the next “Star Wars” movie, the only major character introduced was a black woman (Naomi Ackie) who may or may not be the daughter of Lando Calrissian. The second lead in “The Mandalorian” is former MMA star Gina Carano. The new characters added to the revival of “Clone Wars” are women; and on the Disney Channel animated series “Resistance,” the most interesting character so far is voiced by Myrna Velasco, a Mexican-American actress.


“Star Wars” is being fitted for the Age of Peak TV. The big Celebration reveal was the Jon Favreau-led “Mandalorian” show, set during the power vacuum that forms after the fall of the Empire in “Return of the Jedi.” We got clips of Werner Herzog as a villain, and a Sergio Leone-like expansiveness. And it looks great, thoughtful, pricey and more adult than the movies. Tellingly, the audience’s reaction to “Mandalorian” was as excited as it was for the new film.


“Star Wars” is a cultural religion, and like any faith, there are reformers and an old guard. The future is the constant feeding of fans who attend church regularly while leaving room for new blood, a hint of risk, the vitality of art. The fractured response to “The Last Jedi” appeared to threaten assumptions that this was a fandom that welcomed bold ideas.

Some do. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, at the opening event, subtly nodded at the need to remain progressive and pioneering in the stories that they tell. But not for a while: Because the biggest “Star Wars” news of the week was made by Disney president Bob Iger, who said “Star Wars” films were going on hiatus for a few years. No one at Celebration groaned over this – a few years was once a sane amount of time for a franchise to reset. And besides, anticipation and nostalgia have always been the secret sauce of “Star Wars.”