Harrison Ford Isn’t Only Surprise At ‘Star Wars’ Comic-Con Panel
Comic-Con isn’t over yet, but if there was a winner of the convention, the trophy might have been handed out early to the Lucasfilm Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel.
Chris Hardwick moderated the panel to a packed Hall H in San Diego where some fans had camped for two days and waited all day for the 5:30 event. Star Wars was the first film to try out film previewing back in the late ’70s before the film’s release, setting a precedent that has all but taken over what was traditionally a convention for printed comics. So it was all too fitting to have J.J. Abrams present his new installment of the famous film franchise at Comic-Con.
Along with exec producer Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) writer Lawrence Kasdan, Hardwick generally gushed with the trio for a while about how momentous this project is, the significance of the Star Wars legacy and the wonder of the people who are involved in this new round of Star Wars films.
Abrams expressed awe around having just worked on the film’s soundtrack with John Williams—they have a rough edit of the film at this point—and stated “There’s nothing normal about anything that’s happening.”
They showed the behind the scenes footage (above) and there were many wet eyes at the care Abrams is taking with this sacred franchise. Among the things revealed by the footage: Simon Pegg clearly plays a role in the film (the only Star Trek/Star Wars crossover?) and also emphasized just how NOT CG this film really is going to be. (Though we have a feeling Abrams won’t be able to resist a lens flare or two.)
Abrams, Kennedy and Kasdan were joined by the film’s stars: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac. Shortly after them, the bad guys showed up: Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson (who we hadn’t known previously was on the dark side), and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. One of the things they focused on in the Q&A was the importance to the filmmakers to keep up diversity in the cast, in The Force Awakens and all upcoming Star Wars saga and anthology films.
Not much was revealed, Adam Driver was especially loathe to reveal too much. Gleeson let slip that the base his character presides over is called “Starkiller”.
Then Hardwick sneakily brought out Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford, which rather brought the hall of 6500 to their knees. They bantered about their age and the weirdness of being called the Legacy cast, and Fisher joked about how Star Wars has become a right of passage in families, where parents now strategize when to introduce their kids to the series saying “If we don’t like the same character, I’m not going to like my kid.” Ford expressed gratitude for the franchise, as it kicked off his career. As far as their roles in the new film, Hamill just said he was glad he didn’t have to go to Tashi to pick up any power converters and Fisher lamented that this film wasn’t more girly, suggesting to Abrams there should have been a shopping planet.
As if the audience wasn’t riled up enough, they were walked to an outdoor symphony venue behind the convention center and treated to an exclusive music of Star Wars symphony immediately following the panel, a first in Comic-Con history. It was a true Disney/Star Wars event with everyone receiving a free light saber and ending with an impressive fireworks display. Those of us there won’t soon forget the spectacle and the momentous feeling of the start to a new era of our most beloved franchise.