Disney shareholders and journalists gathered in Denver, Colorado last night and were among some of the first people on the planet to witness for themselves the opening sequence and selected short scenes of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the highly anticipated sequel to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The film is not only a sequel, it's the middle act of a new trilogy that is in fact the 8th episode of three film trilogies that continue the adventures of the Skywalker family as first created, directed and released by George Lucas in 1977. 2017 marks the 40 year anniversary of the franchise.

The reported opening sequence twist

Journalist Daniel Miller, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, wasted no time at all once he saw the footage and began to tweet out a detailed description of what he had just witnessed. While the opening sequence has been known, the movie has always been reported to begin exactly where the last film ended, we finally now have confirmation that Luke speaks to Rey. Luke Skywalker asks Rey, "Who are you?" as the potential Jedi hands over the long lost lightsaber of the Jedi Master. So while Rey knows exactly who Luke is, the Jedi Master doesn't instantly recognize Rey at the start of the film.

The franchise has lost many of the original actors

2016 was a brutal year of loss in the "Star Wars" franchise and fandom.

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia Organa Solo, and Kenny Baker, known for his contributions as the droid R2-D2 and the Ewok named Paploo in "Return of the Jedi," were both major losses last year with Fisher directly impacting the future of the franchise with her role in the last film of new trilogy now impossible to complete.

Other notable losses include the 2000 death of Sir Alec Guinness who portrayed Obi Wan Kenobi and Peter Wilton Cushing who died in 1994 and had portrayed Grand Moff Tarkin, a character he posthumously reprised for "Rogue One," a completely digital role that stunned moviegoers.

A variety of landscapes await movie viewers

Miller also gave us an idea about the settings we'd see claiming he witnessed, "Mountains, oceans, forests, deserts," in the new "Star Wars" film.

Fans speculate that a large part of the next film will be spent with Luke Skywalker training Rey on an exotic planet that echoes, "The Empire Strikes Back." The scenery of the franchise has taken us to many epic locations in the past such as Dagobah, Cloud City, Tatooine, Endor, Coruscant and Naboo. Fans are eager to learn of new locations within the "Star Wars" galaxy and "The Last Jedi" will surely take us all somewhere exotic that we've never seen before through the magic of cinema.