Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one of the year’s most anticipated blockbusters, swooped into San Diego’s Comic-Con armed with a three-minute video packed with behind-the-scenes footage as well as a panel that featured The Force Awakens actors alongside Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, the original trilogy’s reunited cast.
The sneak preview at the making of The Force Awakens begins with a montage of all the different sets constructed for the film. Next, we’re greeted by R2-D2, stormtroopers, a downed TIE Fighter, new characters and familiar faces, including a snippet of director J.J. Abrams’ address to the cast and crew on the first day of shooting. “How incredible is that,” the director asks.
While the three prequel films have been criticized for their overreliance on CGI – a departure from the original trilogy – the behind-the-scenes footage goes to great lengths to assure fans that The Force Awakens will strive to capture that “pre-digital” magic.
The video shows elaborate sets, spaceships and costumes being built, a sign that the next three episodes will be more visually aligned with the first three Star Wars movies. “Real sets. Practical effects. You’ve been here, but you don’t know this story,” Hamill says in the video. “Nothing’s changed, really. I mean, everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed. That’s the way you want it to be.”
In addition to showing a split-second look at Fisher reprising her role of Princess Leia and Ford’s Han Solo at the wheel of the Millennium Falcon, the behind-the-scenes video also confirmed the rumor that actor Simon Pegg plays a small role in The Force Awakens, although it’s unlikely fans will recognize him: Based on the footage, Pegg will be heavily costumed in the role of an alien. “My whole life has led to this moment. I’m in heaven,” Pegg says from the set. “Star Wars. I burn for Star Wars.”
During the Comic-Con panel, Ford – making his first public appearance since the actor’s frightening plane accident – told the crowd how he felt reentering George Lucas’ universe, The Hollywood Reporter writes. “It should have felt ridiculous. It was thirty-plus years ago and I sort of grew up,” Ford said. “Yet here I was. I will tell you that it felt great.” The panel then concluded with Abrams inviting all 6,000 fans in attendance to walk down the street to the marina, where the San Diego Symphony treated attendees to a concert featuring composer John Williams’ Star Wars score.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will next release a trailer this fall before Episode VII arrives December 18th.