9 Highlights from the Force Awakens Panel at Star Wars Celebration

Thursday, 16 April 2015 - 1:15PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars Celebration
Thursday, 16 April 2015 - 1:15PM
9 Highlights from the Force Awakens Panel at Star Wars Celebration
Star Wars Celebration has finally kicked into gear, and the Force Awakens panel did not disappoint. Between J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy releasing tantalizing tidbits about the film, to the new teaser, to surprise appearances from Mark Hammill, Carrie Fischer, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and a certain newcomer droid, this was everything we'd hoped for and more.

9 Highlights from the Star Wars Celebration Force Awakens Panel

Here are nine exciting, funny, and/or endearing highlights from today's panel:

The desert planet from the trailer is not Tatooine


9 Highlights from the Star Wars Celebration Force Awakens Panel

Many thought that the desert planet in the first trailer was Tatooine, but it was actually a planet called Jakku. Little more is known about this planet, except that Daisy Ridley's character, Rey, resides there, and it's where the action apparently begins.

There will be "physical, tangible sets"



"It's Star Wars, there will be an endless number of effects that will be CG." But, he qualified, they "needed to set a standard" and focus on mostly physical effects. "Star Wars is as much a Western and a fairy tale as anything else, and one of the things you want to see are real, authentic landscapes."

BB-8 is a physical effect!




Both R2D2 and BB-8 - the actual robots used in the film- made an appearance at the panel, and BB-8 is adorable (so is R2, but he always has been). The physical effect is amazing, and we can't wait to see these two impish AIs talk to each other in the movie.

J.J. Abrams once dressed up as a Star Wars character for Halloween



"I did one year dress up as a Jawa, but I don't want to tell you what year it was."

We now know how all three new main characters will be introduced


9 Highlights from the Star Wars Celebration Force Awakens Panel

Of her character, Rey (slash Kira?) Daisy Ridley said that we will "discover Rey on the desert planet Jakku. She's a scavenger, completely self-sufficient and solitary, until she meets another character and the adventure begins."

John Boyega revealed that his character, Finn, starts off "in incredible danger, and the way he chooses to react to this danger changes his life and launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way." He also reluctantly confirmed that his character is a Stormtrooper, but wouldn't confirm if he's working for the Dark Side or not.

And finally, Oscar Isaac basically confirmed that Poe Dameron is the new Han Solo by characterizing him as the "best freaking pilot in the Galaxy." And of the character's introduction, "He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess, and he ends up coming across John Boyega's character and their fates are forever intertwined."

Harrison Ford is a boss, as always



Kathleen Kennedy said of Ford's recent- and terrifying- plane crash, "The amazing thing about Harrison, and I don't think anyone in the audience will be surprised by this, but he's the only person who could make an emergency landing on a golf course in front of two doctors." Abrams concurred, saying that in making that emergency landing, Ford was "more of a hero than he's been in any of his movies."

Also, John Boyega told the audience that, as a longtime Star Wars fan, he asked Harrison Ford to sign his dressing room door. He used a low, gravelly voice to imitate Ford and said, "This is weird... But I'll sign it for you."

There will be more female characters


9 Highlights from the Star Wars Celebration Force Awakens Panel

Kathleen Kennedy claimed that there will be more female characters in Force Awakens than we're aware of, and also alluded to future films in the series diversifying even more: "There will be really strong women, not only in Episode VII, but in the conversations moving forward there will be a lot of wonderful new characters."

J.J. Abrams turned down the film when it was first offered to him



Abrams said that when Kathleen Kennedy first offered him the job, "I said no, partially because it was an incredibly daunting thing, partially because my family had plans, partially because it felt like I'd been doing sequels and things in the past. But then we were sitting there talking about what could come next... I found myself having this conversation with [Kennedy] and it was impossible to say no."

Peter Mayhew is really tall


9 Highlights from the Star Wars Celebration Force Awakens Panel

I know we all knew that Peter Mayhew is tall, but guys, he's really, really tall. He was sitting on a stool just to approach everyone else's eyeline, and Mark Hamill hilariously said, "I hope you noticed that he's taller than me sitting down. I've always resented him for that."

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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