What We Learned From the 'Star Wars' Comic-Con Reel

Decoding the behind-the-scenes clips of 'The Force Awakens.'

Everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed.

This weekend’s Star Wars panel at Comic-Con didn’t feature any huge announcements from J.J. Abrams and crew. Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, explained how great it was to be back, and how the mantra on the new movie stressed practical sets and effects, the usual cheerleading for a film still half a year away.

But a behind-the-scenes reel did drop some sly clues about The Force Awakens.

  • This corridor is eerily familiar to the detention level on the Death Star from the 1977 original. It might be a mere callback to the iconic design of the first movie, or it could be something more substantial than that. Either way, this definitely looks to be a location that belongs to the film’s new baddies, the First Order.
  • This could be a still from Return of the Jedi, but nope, it’s from The Force Awakens, and is proof that Abrams left most of the CGI to grander sets and characters.
  • John Boyega’s character, Finn, is rumored to go AWOL from his duties as a First Order stormtrooper and crash-land on the desert planet of Jakku (not Tattooine), where he teams up with Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey. This crashed TIE fighter seems to point to Finn stealing the craft and narrowly surviving the wreckage, or it could be a leftover remnant from the demolished Star Destroyer seen in the second teaser trailer.
  • Here’s our second glimpse at Oscar Isaac’s Resistance X-Wing fighter pilot, Poe Dameron. He definitely isn’t behind the controls of his ship here and looks to be in the custody of a stormtrooper. Could the trooper be Boyega’s character doing a bait-and-switch as Luke, Han, and Chewie did in Star Wars? The aesthetic of this hallway seems similar to the first photo and could be the same location.
  • The distance and fuzzy focus of this shot makes it the most mysterious image in the reel. We can make out what looks like R2-D2 standing by some wreckage and a crouching actor in a green suit that would most likely be painted out and swapped with a CGI character, though that would go against Abrams’ practical mantra. The slender character in the flowing clothes could be Ridley as well.
  • Here’s your new main villain, Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver), leaving a First Order ship and giving off some serious Vader vibes.
  • Well, Simon Pegg is definitely in this movie, but it’s most likely just an unseen cameo (just like Daniel Craig). This footage was probably included in the Comic-Con sneak peek since Pegg has some serious geek cred. He co-starred in Abrams’ two Star Trek movies and called in a favor to appear in Star Wars.
  • Like the image of the wreckage above, the characters in this shot are out-of-focus. The red uniforms make us think they may either be Resistance troops, because the set doesn’t resemble the icy glowing blue of the First Order locations. Or it could be some new kind of stormtrooper.
  • The First Order most likely attacks some kind of Resistance stronghold in this image. The ruins around them make it look like a city of some kind or perhaps a paintball course that cares not about prospective lawsuits.
  • We finally get a view of the new flametrooper in action, and it is awesome. Does it need any more context than that? We thought not.
  • This isn’t a trap, Admiral Ackbar is back!
  • And so is Nien Nunb! Will they be positioned as the new leaders of the Resistance now that the Rebellion has ended?
  • This image will bring a little tear to any Star Wars fan’s eyes. Han Solo is once again in the driver’s seat of the Millennium Falcon, but so is Rey. Based on the epic ending of the teaser trailer, where Han says, “Chewie, we’re home,” this means that Rey and Finn should somehow get their hands on the Falcon and then join up with Han and Chewie. This image could also shed some light on the rumor that Rey is Han and Leia’s daughter.

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