IMDb Polls

Poll: News from 'Force Awakens' Panel

IMDb-Editors were in Anaheim on Thursday, April 16th for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) panel at Star Wars Celebration. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from the star-studded event, which featured appearances from J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.

Which takeaway do you find most surprising?

Discuss here.

Make Your Choice

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    Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    1. The Desert Planet Isn't Tatooine

    Its been known for quite some time that a significant portion of The Force Awakens takes place on a desert planet (its right there in the first teaser from last November). Many fans assumed that said desert planet was Tatooine, which is part of five of the six existing movies. However, Abrams insists that it's not Tatooine, and is instead a new planet called Jakku (at least, that seems to be the accepted spelling on the Internet).

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    J.J. Abrams and John Boyega

    2. Abrams' Apprehension

    J.J. Abrams described in detail how he grew up as a huge fan of Star Wars: "It had such heart ... and such hope." But he wasn't initially ready to sign on for the sequel. "He didn't say yes right away," said producer Kathleen Kennedy. But after Abrams and Kennedy met, Abrams began to see it as an exciting opportunity, and eventually came on board.

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    April 29th, Pinewood Studios, UK - Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) at the cast read-through of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan.

    3. Force for Change

    Abrams announced that Star Wars: Force for Change -- a charity program set up during production -- has already raised over $6 million for UNICEF (the United Nation's Children Fund). That's an awesome result, but it's not over just yet: the program is going to continue to find ways to raise money up through the movie's release in December.

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    Gwendoline Christie in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    4. Fans Love Practical Sets

    When host Anthony Breznican (from EW) asked about the movie's use of practical sets and effects, the crowd burst in to applause before Abrams even had a chance to answer. After the CGI-heavy prequels, fans are clearly eager for a return to the original trilogy's aesthetic. In answering the question, Abrams suggested that they did so much work in-camera that the first cut of the movie (sans effects) actually didn't require all that much imagination to fill in the blanks.

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    John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    5. BB-8 is Very Real

    Remember the ball droid from the first trailer? Remarkably, that droid is as real as R2-D2 was in the original trilogy. How do we know? Because it actually took the stage at Star Wars Celebration, cruising around as if it was an actual autonomous machine. Of course, there was someone controlling it from off-stage, but ... you could have fooled us.

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    Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    6. Who is Rey?

    Abrams confirmed that the movie's three main characters are Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. The respective actors each came on stage and had a chance to describe their characters a bit. Daisy Ridley said that Rey is a scavenger in a ship graveyard on Jakku; after meeting another character, her adventure begins. Very vague, but something is better than nothing.

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    John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    7. Who is Finn?

    John Boyega's description of his character was the vaguest of the bunch: he indicated that he finds himself in danger, and the way he reacts to it pulls him in to the story. Not much there, right? Host Anthony Breznican followed that up by asking Boyega if he actually was playing a stormtrooper. After a pause, Boyega seemed to nod yes (to Abrams' dismay).

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    Oscar Isaac at an event for The Two Faces of January (2014)

    8. Who Is Poe Dameron?

    "The best freaking pilot in the galaxy." Well put, Oscar Isaac.

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    Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    9. They're fans, too.

    Most of the people on stage were eager to tell stories about how much they loved Star Wars as well. Boyega recounted how he brought a toy version of Han Solo in a stormtrooper outfit to set, and asked Harrison Ford to sign it. "This is weird," Ford said, but did it anyway. Not only are they fans, but they also seem to have a deep respect for the fans. Mark Hamill put it best: "You're more than just fans... you're family."

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    Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

    10. The Movie Looks Great

    We learned this fact (yes, it's a fact!) when the excellent new trailer played at the end of the panel. And then played a second time. So many highlights, but it's hard to top the final line: "Chewie, we're home." Make sure to check it out for the second, third, and tenth time here.


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