Disney and Lucasfilm have premiered the much-anticipated second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens during this year's annual Star Wars Celebration fan event, which also featured a discussion panel with cast and crew from the film.
The panel was live streamed from the Anaheim Convention Center, and during the event, Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Kathleen Kennedy, and cast members like Carrie Fisher answered questions and revealed tonnes of new information about the next installment in George Lucas' epic space saga.
We learned, for instance, that Stormtroopers got a new look, and the film features three new leads. Abrams also chose to use more physical sets and prop over special effects, among other things. Because The Force Awakens is the seventh Star Wars film, we've gathered seven of the most interesting tidbits announced.
J.J. Abrams said no at first
The director revealed he initially rejected the offer to fill George Lucas' shoes and direct the seventh installment, “partly because it was an incredibly daunting thing,” Abrams said - but also because he didn't want to become “the sequel guy".
Less CG, more realism
The last Star Wars trilogy was criticised for its use of special effects. While acknowledging that The Force Awakens couldn't avoid effects altogether, Abrams said he loved how real the first Star Wars film felt, so in an attempt to capture that same authenticity, he set a standard and used physical, tangible sets.
Continuing this theme of authenticity and realism, the film's FX crew members - Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples - appeared to introduce a new droid called BB-8 - sans any special effects. BB-8 is a real and tangible prop, much like the sets Abrams described earlier, and it can even roll on its own. They also made new R2 domes.
That's not Tattooine
The Force Awaken's first trailer, which debuted last November, showed a desert planet that many assumed was Tatooine. Abrams revealed it's actually a new planet called Jakku, and he filmed the desert landscape in Abu Dahbi.
The new and improved Stormtroopers
The Empire’s soldiers have a new look, and John Boyega, who plays Finn, might or might not be one of them (he said his character first appears in the beginning, when he finds himself in "incredible danger"). Those of you who are astute, probably already spotted all the changes between the old and new Stormtrooper costumes.
It's time for more female roles
Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy promised fans that the new film, and future films, will boast plenty of "really strong women" - including a character named Rey, played by Daisy Ridley: “She is a scavenger in a ship graveyard,” said Ridley, describing her character. “She meets another character and an adventure begins.”
New X-Wing pilot
Poe Dameron is a new X-Wing pilot played by Oscar Isaac - and he described himself as "the best frickin' pilot in the galaxy." It was revealed that Poe’s role involves a mission that he is given from "a certain princess". It’s while doing this mission that he meets Finn and their fates are "forever intertwined".
Where did your buns go, Princess Leia?
Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia, was on hand to reveal that her iconic hair buns from the first trilogy are no more: “But we have an alternate thing you’ll be very into, which is not the metal bikini,” she teased.