It was one of the most highly-anticipated panels scheduled to take place at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and it all went down in Hall H earlier this evening. With members of the cast and crew taking questions and showing off a bit of the new film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left the audience cheering from the front row to the back. At the event J.J. Abrams, producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The filmmakers were joined on stage by cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.
The film’s director, J.J. Abrams, spoke about the original episodes IV, V and VI early-on during the panel’s Q&A session. Abrams said that the team treated those films as if they were pure canon. This was important to mention since Disney had already stated that the previously established canon of the franchise would not be followed exactly in the new trilogy, something that didn’t exactly sit well with some Star Wars fans across the internet.
“We wanted to tell a story that would make us feel,” the director told the crowd, adding: “The power that has come before is so deep you have to harness it but you can’t be blinded by it.” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy spoke at the panel stating, “Star Wars is 100 percent dependent on the fans in this room and around the world, since 1976.”
Walt Disney Studios has already explained that the new films will take place 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” A timeline that makes perfect sense considering that all of the original stars are almost exactly thirty-two years older from the episode VI 1983 release. When it came to casting, the director told fans that he went with what worked best for the movie. “We didn’t write the characters to be any color. We just cast this movie knowing it was important. We wanted the movie to look like the world looks,” Abrams told those in attendance.
On a side-note, the team added Simon Pegg to the cast, though he may not be recognizable when the movie releases. Pegg was shown in a behind-the-scenes clip shown at the event. “My life is now complete,” Pegg stated. Pegg can now cross-off Star Trek and Star Wars from the ultimate film franchise list.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan & Abrams, features a cast including actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. They will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.
At the end of the Hall H presentation, the entire Hall H audience of more than 6,000 fans were all invited to continue the celebration and join cast and filmmakers at a surprise Star Wars Fan Concert. The San Diego Symphony performed the classic Star Wars music from John Williams at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.
The film is being produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk, and John Williams returns as the composer. Fans don’t have too long to wait before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters, the film is set to premiere on December 18, 2015.