I’m glad I have the honor of talking about this panel. As a child I can remember repeatedly viewing the original trilogy while curled up on a couch. Or lying on my Return of the Jedi sheets while playing with the figures of Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewy inside the trash compactor. So Star Wars holds a social place in my heart, and for decades my hopes have been teased with the promise of more childlike astonishment. And yet nothing. I have become slightly jaded and hopeless over the years, but then The Force Awakens was announced, and I felt a slight flutter in my chest. But it wasn’t until the announcement of JJ and the first trailer that the child in me resurfaced.
This brings us to our panel. I went in knowing no new footage would be shown, but I didn’t care, I just want to talk about Star Wars. The scene begins first with our moderator, the king of comic con, Chris Hardwick. Then we are greet by J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and Lawrence Kasdan. The audience knows right from the start how big of a fanboy JJ is, gushing over working with Larry and Kathleen. We know he wants this to be perfect. JJ begins to explain how important story and character are to him, he does just wants us to say “oh that looks cool, but why.” Chris and JJ discuss the importance of practical sets and props over cgi, allowing the audience to relate and connect more to the film. Then JJ introduces us to Bobbajo, new two legged creature, with cages of other little creatures on his back. Bobbajo has a fully mechanical face that can generate real facial expressions, while the creatures in the the cages move about, trying to escape. At this moment all of us are in not only in awe, but most of us have begun reverting back to our childlike selves. Bobbajo walks around the stage reacting like any living creature would to a new environment, the hall fills with applause. Once Bobbajo leaves Chris asks JJ if he has something else, and he does.
JJ explains to us that at the moment they are still in post production on he film, and did not want to bring unfinished product to us, but he admires our love for Star Wars and wants to show us something. He brings us a behind the scenes video, that may or may not have made me get a little choked up, I’ve been waiting a while for this. The video shows us drawings, sets, practical effects on fire, new characters, and our beloved legacy characters. One of my takeaways was Simon Pegg dressed in some type of creature costume talking about how Star Wars is life, one him. As the video ends, again we all erupt in applause. At this point we are introduced to the cast Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie. We learn that Oscar is consider the greatest pilot in the universe, while Adam, Domhnall, and Gwendoline may all be apart of the dark side, again may be apart of the dark side. I mean as JJ and Adam out it Kylo Ren(Adan’s character) believes he is doing the right thing. Put the highlight for me was Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, a silver storm trooper. Yes, A SILVER STORMTROOPER. Oh I need to take a quick break to breathe, sorry. Now at this point we’re all elated and just happy to be there, but there’s more. Chris introduces all three of the “Legacy” characters Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford. All three actors reinforce our excitement for this movie. Even Harrison who’s apathy for the originals is palpable, loved the new script. At this point I think my arms are tired from clapping so much, but I don’t care. Chris makes it seem like he’s wrapping things up, but wait JJ do you have one more thing. Yup. JJ and Lucasfilm take all 6500 of us to the San Diego symphony for a Star Wars concert, with free light sabers. This panel was everything if not more than I could’ve asked for. Thank you JJ and Lucasfilm for bringing back the child within me.