Disney will not be showcasing its upcoming Marvel Studios slate next month at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, but that doesn't mean the Mouse House will be skipping the party completely. As many of you know, Disney has the rights to a little franchise called Star Wars and the studio is releasing The Force Awakens this December. So as we're merely months away from the film's highly-anticipated theatrical release, what would be a better place to unleash the next wave of marketing than Comic-Con?
In Marvel's stead this year will be Lucasfilm, and they have quite a slate of events planned, showcasing everything from toys to publishing - and of course, co-writer/director J.J. Abrams' movie.
According to Lucasfilm's press release, Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will headline the panel to give attendees a "special look" at their upcoming film. The trio will also be bringing a collection of "special guests" with them, but the identities of those people is a mystery for now. That said, it doesn't take a Jedi Master to come to the conclusion that some of the saga's actors - namely, the original trilogy stars - may be showing up to send the crowd into a frenzy.
Here is the full list of Star Wars-related events that will happen at SDCC 2015 on Friday, July 10th:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hall H
Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy, director J.J. Abrams, writer Lawrence Kasdan, and special guests provide a special look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars Publishing 2015, Part 1: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Room: 7AB
Join a dynamic, all-star, New York Times-bestselling panel of authors including Alexandra Bracken (the Darkest Minds series), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark and Grim series), Tom Angleberger (The Origami Yoda series), and Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) in conversation with Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain about the new Star Wars retellings for a younger generation of fans. From picture books to novels, these authors present A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in perspectives that will change the way readers understand who these beloved characters are and how they became legends for legions of fans.
Star Wars Publishing 2015, Part 2: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Room: 7AB
Join a variety of authors as they talk about their upcoming projects from that galaxy far, far away. Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Mike Siglain, authors from Del Rey and other publishers will participate in a discussion on writing stories for the exciting new future of the Star Wars universe.
Hasbro Star Wars, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Room: 7AB
Join members of the Hasbro and Lucasfilm teams as they discuss the popular Hasbro Star Wars line. Attendees will get an in-depth look at Hasbro’s latest action figure offerings, and word on the Holonet is there may also be a few surprises, including a special product reveal.
Star Wars Collectibles Update with Lucasfilm’s Anita Castellar, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Room: 7AB
Join eFX, Gentle Giant Studios, Kotobukiya, and Sideshow Collectibles for product development insights and exclusive previews of the latest in Star Wars collectibles. In attendance will be Anita Castellar, a self-professed Star Wars fangirl who manages licensing for hardline categories at Lucasfilm such as toys, collectibles, consumer electronics, automotives, and more.
ILM 40th Anniversary, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Room: 7AB
For 40 years, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has set the standard for visual effects, creating some of the most memorable images in the history of modern cinema. From advances in the photo chemical process, optical compositing, motion control, and models and miniatures — to the company’s pioneering efforts in computer graphics, digital compositing, film scanning and recording, morphing, digital environments, performance capture, character animation and modern digital pipelines, ILM continues to break new ground in visual effects for film, television, themed attractions, and new forms of entertainment. The presenters will discuss the company’s work from its earliest days and breakthroughs along the way.
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition at San Diego Comic Con 2015
For the first time, Star Wars joins forces with characters from across The Walt Disney Company in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition – the next chapter in the best-selling hybrid toy/video game series. Fans are invited to the Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop, located at the heart of Gaslamp District, for the opportunity to play as Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul or any of the Star Wars characters featured in Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic and Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire.
Fans will also have a chance to step into the “Disney Infinity Only in the Toy Box” mediated reality experience, where guests virtually enter the Toy Box and interact alongside their favorite Disney Infinity characters, such as engaging in lightsaber duels with Darth Vader or Yoda, and take home a customized photo and video with their chosen character. Other Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop activities include a Toy Box TV Live Edition webcast on Twitch featuring new announcements, surprise guests, contests with prizes, and exclusive giveaways.
It's also all but a given those in Hall H will be treated to some new footage from Force Awakens, but what exactly we'll see is up for debate. Both trailers that have been released so far are clearly of the teaser variety, using short, out-of-context clip montages to amp up the hype for the film. It's true that this marketing strategy has been extremely effective, but sooner or later the ad campaign will have to start getting a little more detailed so casual audiences and/or the uninitiated have some clue as to what the movie is actually about. That's not to say the always-secretive Abrams will spoil his latest project, but it may be time to see a full trailer that sets up the broad strokes of the narrative.
In all honesty, even die-hard Star Wars fans who wish to remain in the dark would appreciate some additional information on Episode VII. Ever since the film was announced, it has been subject to a bevy of rumors concerning the characters and story (some of which Abrams says are false). It's not out of the question for the official plot synopsis to be revealed at the panel, which would certainly help separate fact from fiction. And as Warner Bros. just unveiled its first official Batman V Superman synopsis, there are ways to describe the storyline without giving too much away - just how Abrams likes it.
Regardless of what happens in Hall H, it should be a day to remember for Star Wars fans. Just three months after the mega event that was Star Wars Celebration gave us plenty to fawn over, Abrams and friends will be back at it with new material. The absence of Marvel may sting for some, but hopefully this more than makes up for it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015; Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016; and Star Wars: Episode VIII (subtitle TBD) on May 26th, 2017.