At the time of writing this, San Diego Comic-Con 2015 is mere days away, meaning that soon fans will be flocking into Hall H to see panels for some of the most anticipated tentpoles coming through the pipeline. Chief among those projects is J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has a presentation scheduled for Friday, July 10 - and, without question, is one of the ones moviegoers are most eager to see.
Given the nature of Hall H panels (Marvel Studios has set a high standard), it's largely been expected that Abrams would be showing off some new footage for his movie. After all, Comic-Con is the perfect venue to debut a buzz worthy preview, and since there are a little over five months until The Force Awakens is released in theaters, now would be the time to kick start the next wave of marketing. However, a trailer will not be part of Lucasfilm's panel.
The news comes courtesy of EW, which is reporting that instead of this week, fans will have to wait until some time in the fall to see a new preview for The Force Awakens. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will instead be on hand at SDCC 2015 to give attendees a "behind the scenes look" at the movie. Perhaps this will entail some new still images, as was the case during April's Star Wars Celebration event.
EW also says that members of the cast will participate in the panel, though the identities of the thespians are a mystery for now. The only clue their sources have is that there will be "several actors" who have not yet publicly spoken about their parts coming out to Hall H. This could mean franchise newcomers like Domhnall Gleeson may be on hand to finally spill some details about their characters, but most fans are going to be hoping for an appearance by the Original Trilogy heroes: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher.
It's true that this report could be a crushing blow to those looking to get into the Star Wars panel, but that doesn't mean it will all be for naught. While Abrams clearly isn't ready to show off more footage, there's still the potential for there to be some meaty reveals about Episode VII. For instance, Abrams could debut an official synopsis and provide some clarity on the crowded rumor mill to give moviegoers a better idea of what to expect. His penchant for secrecy seems to be at an all-time high, so we shouldn't expect anything too spoilery - though, it would be a wasted opportunity if we learned nothing of importance by the time the panel was over.
One can make the case that it's a wasted opportunity to not show new footage, but it's important to keep in mind that we got the second teaser trailer three months ago at Star Wars Celebration. And as the responses to those previews have shown, Lucasfilm does not have a need to show off some clips to generate interest. Unlike Warner Bros. (which has to show off stellar footage to sway the Batman v Superman skeptics), Disney is in a position where there is universal excitement for their project. Arguably, anything they show now would just be icing on the cake.
In short, just because there's no new footage right around the corner doesn't mean the Star Wars panel won't be worth attending. It will be a treat to see the actors on the stage talking about their roles, and anything Abrams has to say will get a lot of attention and launch the next wave of speculation. Yes, it's a bummer the director's not bringing a preview with him, but the movie will be here before you know it.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16th, 2016, and Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017.