Star Wars director JJ Abrams gave fans some more details and teasers as the new cast of The Force Awakens came to Comic-Con.
British stars Gwendoline Christie John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, our own Domnhall Gleeson, plus co-stars Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, were all on stage in San Diego for a further glimpse at what fans can expect when Episode VII is released in cinemas in December.
Fans finally got a glimpse of the “dark side” of the force as it was revealed that Gleeson will play a character called General Hux, who is in command of ‘Starkiller Base’. Fellow “baddies” Driver and Christie – playing Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma – were also attending their first Star Wars event.
Abrams also introduced a giant robotic creature called Baba Jo as he emphasised the importance of practical effects over CGI.
The long-necked creature took a lap round the stage to wild applause before sidling up to Abrams and knocking his name plate to the ground.
Abrams promised a new trailer in the autumn but did at least provide a special glimpse behind the scenes of the film’s special effects, make-up, costumes and sets.
The director – who also revived the Star Trek franchise – said that one of his most important tasks was ensuring he did not let his love of the franchise interfere with the film-making.
“When you’re directing a scene on the Millennium Falcon, it doesn’t make the scene good,” he said. “It’s definitely bitchin’, don’t get me wrong, but what’s the story?”
He revealed that he already has a cut of the film but is still working on the final edit.
The panel ended with a surprise outdoor concert of Star Wars music, performed by the San Diego Symphony. Stormtroopers led crowds through the streets to a waterfront stage for a sunset performance of some of the most famous pieces of music from the films – with the cast emerging again branding lightsabers to fight with lucky fans in the front rows.