5 things we learned today at Star Wars Celebration

If the phrase “break the Internet” wasn’t invested for “Star Wars,” it should have been. It certainly exploded yesterday with the release of the new “Force Awakens” trailer, which ends with a weathered Han Solo telling Chewie, “We’re home.”

The trailer was released at Star Wars Celebration, a fan gathering in Anaheim that opened with a panel featuring director JJ Abrams, producer Kathy Kennedy and the stars of the new movie, which opens Dec. 18. Here are five of our favorite tidbits from the panel and the new trailer:

5. BB-8 is really real: JJ Abrams swore the adorable soccer ball droid that debuted in the movie’s first teaser was not CGI, and he proved it today when the little guy rolled out on stage for a conversation with R2-D2. BB-8 is the poster droid for practical effects, something Abrams clearly felt strongly about in making this film. “Building as much as you could was a mandate,” Abrams said. “It’s an amazing thing to be able to watch the movie and see what it is and not have to use your imagination.”

4. We learned a little something about the three lead characters: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac joined the panel and talked a little bit about their characters. As we suspected from the first trailer, Boyega plays a stormtrooper who may have gone AWOL; whether he is good or bad isn’t clear. Boyega’s Finn meets up with Ridley’s Rey, a “completely self-sufficient” shipyard scavenger. And Isaac’s character Poe Dameron is an X-Wing pilot “sent on a mission by a certain princess.”

3. It’s spelled Jakku: That’s pretty much all we know about the desert planet most people assumed was Tatooine. It’s a new planet — and the spelling caused a little bit of confusion among all the live bloggers and tweeters at the event.

2. Star Wars can still bring grown men (and women) to tears: And if you don’t believe us, just watch the new trailer below.

1. Darth Vader may be alive: OK, we didn’t learn that for sure, but did you watch that trailer? Luke Skywalker says, “The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too.” My father has it. Has. Not had. Chills!