Everybody expected the Star Wars panel at Comic-Con to be a big deal, but J.J. Abrams delivered a night that will go down in convention history. At the heart of it all was a simple word he repeated several times during the night: respect. Respect for the source material, respect for the fans, and respect for characters that, for everyone in Hall H last night, felt more like family than they ever had before. Here are some of our favorite moments.
1. No new trailer until this fall
Director J.J. Abrams confirmed early on that the next trailer won't be ready until the fall (the first two debuted in November and April). In its place we got about three and a half minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, which was shown to Comic-Con attendees and then posted online minutes after the panel ended. Autumn technically begins September 23rd this year, which means we shouldn't get our hopes up for a debut at Disney's D23 expo in August.
Production update: Right now, Abrams and co. have a cut of the movie and are fine-tuning. The first stand-alone Anthology film, Gareth Edwards' Rogue One, will start shooting in three weeks.
2. Meet the "new" TIE Fighter
New evil empire The First Order has inherited the old Empire's star fighters. A red-tinted TIE Fighter — which, yes, looks like the old TIE Fighter with a new paint job — was seen in various states of wear and tear in the behind-the-scenes footage. We also got a glimpse of the Hasbro toy version earlier in the day.
3. Simon Pegg has a cameo... as an alien
Because J.J. Abrams can't do a Star film without him, Star Trek 3 writer / "Scotty" Simon Pegg has a role in The Force Awakens. We may not see his face, however — it looks like Pegg will be fully dressed up as a khaki-colored alien. "My whole life has led to this moment," he said in the video.
4. New details on the dark side
Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, and Domhnall Gleeson — Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, and General Hux, respectively — came out after the "good guys" (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac) to give a few new details. Among them: Hux is in charge of the primary First Order base — named Starkiller Base. (For you non-super-nerds, in early drafts of Star Wars, Luke was known as "Luke Starkiller." The name "Starkiller" was also featured in the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, voiced by actor Sam Witwer.)
Note: he's joking. Probably.
5. Reunited (and it feels so good)
The "legacy players" also showed up for the panel. First came Carrie Fisher ("It was a little bit like before, but we looked more melted this time"). Then Mark Hamill ("I hate to tell you guys I took a Star Wars trivia contest, and I flunked. I can't remember what Han Solo was smuggling. Was it jewels? No, it was spices!"). Then, to great applause, Harrison Ford walked out. "I never thought it would come back to bless me instead of haunt me," he said. "I was very gratified when I read the script, because I read something that I thought was really remarkable. Well written, with some intriguing developments. So I was delighted to be involved."
6. ... and then everyone went to a concert. Everyone
That's certainly one way to end a Comic-Con panel. "Who wants to go see a live Star Wars concert right now?" Abrams asked, before proceeding to hand out lanyards to everyone in Hall H (capacity: about 6,500). Then, Stormtroopers led the crowd to a secret location. Seriously.