'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Behind-the-Scenes Footage Debuts at SDCC

If you were to take a poll at this year's San Diego Comic-Con about the most anticipated film this year, odds are the overwhelming majority of attendees would say Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since the first full-length trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration, the buzz surrounding the film couldn't be more positive. That trailer went on to be the most viewed trailer of 2015 so far by over ten million views.

Many fans feel that the spirit of the original trilogy has finally be revived in The Force Awakens. The original cast members reprising their famous roles paired with a return to practical effects during filming promises to impress fans who felt burned by the prequel trilogy. It's safe to say that fans are beyond excited for the upcoming film. In fact, the only people who seem more excited for this film than Star Wars fans are the cast and crew themselves.

During the Star Wars Comic-Con panel earlier today, attendees were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens (above). While the reel does show some new, albeit unfinished, footage from the upcoming movie, the focus is on the cast and crew as they discuss the importance of Star Wars and their feelings on the set.

R2D2 Star Wars The Force Awakens BTS SDCC

The excitement in the video is palpable, and honestly a bit contagious. The cast and crew are Star Wars fans themselves. Each interviewee conveys that clearly, both in words and tone. There's a sense of awe hanging over the set that is evident in every second of this video. The crew is working hard on this film not only because it's their job, but because they feel it is their duty to carry on the torch and bring that incomparable Star Wars spirit to the next generation.

The video provides some nice establishing shots of Jakku, the new desert locale featured in part of the film. It also gives fans a first look at some of the action set pieces that will be in the film, including plenty of Stormtroopers and explosions that give the movie a grand sense of scale. Most importantly, though, the video confirms that Simon Pegg has a role in the upcoming film, portraying an unknown alien.

Tie fighter star wars the force awakens model

Perhaps the most interesting part of the video is the emphasis on practical effects. In the opening moments, the video takes viewers from the concept art stage of a crashed TIE fighter through the modeling stage and to the actual smoking wreckage of the final product. All the while, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker himself) explains how the practical effects make the film feel firmly connected to the original trilogy.

Judging from the props and replicas shown in the short video, J. J. Abrams has achieved his goal of making the film feel tangible. The level of detail that goes into each prop is incredible and even coupled with CG, the characters, droids, ships and equipment are going to stand out among current films. Though it's far too early to be sure, the old school mentality and approach to crafting a Star Wars film looks as though it will pay off handsomely.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX does not have an official release date yet.

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