Fans traveled far and wide to attend Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida this week, knowing that the series that they adore was celebrating a milestone: 40 years of stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Well, Celebration brought a number of its biggest A-list stars to the Galaxy Stage on Thursday with a kickoff panel that's seriously going to be hard to top.

George Lucas made an anticipated return to Star Wars Celebration this year to preside over a lengthy and heartfelt walk down memory lane with several of his most famous creations. Stars from the Star Wars universe either attended the show (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Hayden Christensen were noted highlights) or sent in tender video messages of love and support (Liam Neeson joked that he was on location shooting a Jar Jar Binks movie, while Samuel L. Jackson pleaded with fans to bring Mace Windu back). We took a number of pictures to give you a sense of how the first day of Star Wars Celebration went:

Hayden Christensen and Mark Hamill

"No. I am your father!"

Any trepidation about how Hayden Christensen would be received were wiped away once the one-time Darth Vader hit the Star Wars Celebration stage. Christensen spent his time on stage with Prequel co-star Ian McDiarmid (the dreaded Emperor). But this fantastic photo captures Christensen with his "son," Luke Skywalker, played by franchise legend Mark Hamill. Yes, we met Luke first. And yes, their stories are separated by generations. But I love this photo for all that captures about all that we love about Star Wars.

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