Comic-Con 2015: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Panel Report

Lucasfilm brings out all of the Star Wars big guns on Comic-Con’s biggest stage.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Two days ago, hardcore Star Wars fans started waiting in line for the big Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel. And it’s a pretty safe bet that they left happy.

Moderator Chris Hardwick came out first to tell the crowd how much Star Wars meant to him. Then he brought out Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm executive Kathleen Kennedy. She thanked the fans, while Abrams said that the film is being edited now. Kasdan said that the Star Wars characters never left his thoughts and he was extremely happy to learn that Abrams was the director of the new movie.

To prove that the Force Awakens team is using practical effects, Abrams brought a creature called Bobbajo to the stage. It’s one of hundreds of creations made for the film. Kasdan stressed that creating the creatures gave the actors something to work with on the set. Kennedy also reiterated that Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, and IX will be part of the main saga.

The group admitted that they can’t show a new trailer at Comic-Con, so they debuted a new behind-the-scenes featurette. In the video, Mark Hamill praised the practical sets and effects as Star Wars the way that everyone wants to see it. Simon Pegg was also in the video. Lucasfilm has also released the video online!

After the video, the new generation of Star Warriors were introduced: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac. Abrams told the crowd that they didn’t cast the actors for their diversity, they were just the right performers for the job. Isaac shared that his character Po, was probably inspired by Luke and Han to be a hero. Boyega revealed that he walked around on the con floor while wearing a clone trooper helmet. Ridley gushed about the opportunity to work with the original cast.

To represent the dark side, Adam Driver, Domhall Gleeson and Gwendolyn Christie joined the panel. Driver insisted that his character wasn’t approached in terms of good or evil. He just wants something different than the heroes. Gleeson joked that his character is evil because he is evil, while Christie expressed her excitement that a woman is among the troopers and in the iconic armor. Abrams also revealed that the name of the base used by Gleeson’s character is “Starkiller.”

Then Carrie Fisher came to the stage and shared her astonishment that the sequel was finally happening. Hardwick then brought out Mark Hamill. He told the fans how moved he is when they share the stories of how the films have touched their lives. Hamill said that they are nothing without the fans.

To the surprise of the fans in Hall H, Harrison Ford came out to complete the reunion of the original Star Wars trio at Comic-Con. Regarding his leg injury, Ford quipped that he’s fine, and that he walked to the panel. He expressed his gratitude to be back. To close out the panel, Abrams invited the crowd to walk with them to a Star Wars music concert!