After the Avatar footage was unveiled, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang joined the panel to first explain their roles in the movie (which Lang did in-character as the bad-ass Navi-hating grunt Col. Quaritch). They then fielded some questions from Rothman and from some fans.

Saldana’s responses touched on how much work went into the role and how masterful Cameron is at helping work with his cast to achieve what they need to to make it possible. Prior to even starting produciton, Saldana took part in 7-days-a-week training that involved dialect voice training, archery, horseback riding and weight-lifting and more.

Unfortunately, star Sam Worthington could not be in attendance due to his film schedule, but he did record a nice video message for us from the set of Clash of the Titans where he spoke very well and praised Cameron’s work.

The professionalism displayed by everyone on the panel and how well they presented themselves, how they spoke, their work, and the footage was a step-up on everything we had seen up to that point and it really shows how many levels separate Cameron’s work from what we saw in Summit Entertainment’s New Moon panel.

Despite the visual spectacle and trying to take everything in, the best part was the strong focus on character development that Cameron never fails to deliver. It is what separates his sci-fi works from others and it stood out here from the clips we saw.

Don’t fret for those who were not amongst the 6000+ in the infamous Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center as at the end of the panel, Cameron made a major Comic-Con exclusive announcement:

August 21st will now be known as “Avatar Day” as they will try to get every imax theater worldwide to show 15 minutes of footage… for FREE. This is the ultimate ground-breaking way to market the film that can only be described fairly be seeing snippets of footage and it’s exciting to see them take this route.

This is something to look out for and if a theater near you ends up playing the 15 minute preview, I’d say it’s must-see for all moviegoers.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes for live updates as I forgo the necessities of life to bring you latest from San Diego Comic-Con!

Avatar hits theaters December 18, 2009 and I’ll be there.

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