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Making-of THE FORCE AWAKENS video direct from Comic-Con 2015

Tonight the panel presentation for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS just concluded at San Diego Comic-Con, including the film’s director J.J. Abrams, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, exec producer Kathleen Kennedy, and stars Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver along with returning saga veterans Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

Not a great deal of news was broken at the panel, but we’ll save those bits until after this all-new making-of video shown at the end of the panel in Hall H:

Other than the obvious news that no actual new film clips or trailer were shown during the TFA panel — Abrams saying that a new trailer would debut “in the Fall” — a few new facts from the film were revealed, including:

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS stars Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie appear at San Diego Comic-Con panel, which reveals the name of Gleeson’s villainous character as General Hux. Photo courtesy of StarWars.com. July 10, 2015.Domhnall Gleeson’s character was revealed as a General Hux, barely visible in this big screen photo (right)7 showing he and Gwendoline Christie along with sidebar images of their characters. Hux seems to be confirmed as a villain, as Gleeson joked “of course I’m evil, he’s British” — referring to the longtime trope in the STAR WARS Saga that all the Imperial baddies were played by actors with distinct British accents.

The BTS video definitely shows Rey (Daisy Ridley) flying the Millennium Falcon as the cockpit set piece swings wildly atop a motion gimbal rig. It almost makes us wonder if Rey is the one piloting the Falcon in the swooping/diving shots from the #2 Trailer as the Falcon flies through the crashed ruins of a Star Destroyer on the planet Jakku?

The concept art, miniature model display and on-location footage of a crashed First Order TIE fighter might be the wreckage from which Finn (Boyega) jumps up from on Jakku, as seen in the first TFA teaser trailer. Unconfirmed, but they made a specific point of showing this TIE crash for a reason in this video — unlikely that the wreck is unrelated to a major character.

Design of the new First Order TIE fighter and elite pilot action figure from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS that Hasbro announced at San Diego Comic-Con, July 10, 2015.Earlier in the day during Hasbro’s panel on TFA toys — which apparently will hit store shelves on Force Friday, September 4, 2015 — the new design for the First Order TIE fighter and elite pilot action figure were revealed. The TIE fighter itself is 26? tall!

Per Abrams’ comments about a new TFA trailer coming in the Fall, we can only speculate that Disney is definitely saving this new trailer for their bi-annual D23 convention in Anaheim next month, August 14-16… if you consider August in “the Fall.” If not, Disney and Lucasfilm may save it for later in the season, possibly September or in advance of November’s launch of the holiday movie season — though that would be cutting it short before THE FORCE AWAKENS’ own December 18th theatrical debut.

Certainly Disney will want to save some of the revelation goods for its own convention, which is why STAR WARS had a relatively light panel presence at SDCC for 2015. Sure, TFA is making some news in San Diego today, but aside from the BTS video above, little actual news was broken about the film at what is arguable the world’s largest fan convention. With the diversification of conventions and expansion of studio promotional events of their own — and Disney now commanding its own exclusive fan universe with titles from the Mouse, Marvel and Star Wars — SDCC is no longer THE venue for breaking big movie news from all the studios, who now suit their panel appearances based upon their own promotional schedules instead of all crowding in on Comic-Con’s annual timeline.

Still, there’s no arguing today was another good day for STAR WARS fans with these star-studded panel appearances and the nifty new making-of video, which again doubled down on Abrams’ emphasis on practical sets, creatures and special effects — like flame-throwing Stormtroopers! — which only boost the authenticity of his storytelling approach in the tradition of the Original Trilogy.

Indeed, it does feel like the Force is awakening once again for the original generation of fans like me.