SWCA: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel Liveblog

Follow the highly-anticipated discussion featuring J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:24 am

Hi folks! We’re live at the Force Awakens panel!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:26 am

J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy are on-stage, discussing the making of the film. Regarding practical effects in The Force Awakens, J.J. says he wanted the audience to believe people were in this universe, and it was real. Thus, more practical sets and props. There will be CGI, but there is plenty of practical. 

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:26 am

Big cheers for set photos featuring J.J. with a stormtrooper, and Chewbacca checking out a shot.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:28 am

Discussing their Celebration experiences, Kathleen Kennedy discusses hiring two fans, Lee and Oliver, from the R2-D2 Builders Club to work on The Force Awakens. They’ve now joined the panel — along with R2-D2.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:29 am

The Artoo on stage is a new design requested by J.J. Abrams.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:31 am

They’ve also designed all-new droids and domes. Each pilot will have a different droid in the back of his or her ship.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:31 am

And now BB-8 takes the stage!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:32 am

J.J. says there was talk about BB-8 being CG, but it was better to build for the actors, for the realism for the film. So, he was actually built!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:34 am

Kathleen says that Harrison Ford is “the only person who can make an emergency landing on a golf course in front of two doctors.” He’s home, resting, and wanted to be at Celebration. Maybe next year.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:35 am

“That was an amazing that he did [landing that plane].” — J.J.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:35 am

New photos of the three new leads! “We could not have ended up with 3 more talented actors,” J.J. says.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:36 am

…and they’re here. Huge ovation.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:37 am

Daisy says Rey is a scavenger, until she meets Finn, and their adventure begins.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:39 am

Finn *might* be a stormtrooper…

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:39 am

Oscar Isaac says his character is “the best friggin’ pilot in the galaxy.,” sent on a mission by a certain princess…

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:42 am

John Boyega says he asked Harrison Ford to sign one of his action figures. “This is weird, but I’ll sign it,” Ford said.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:42 am

J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy are on-stage, discussing the making of the film. Regarding practical effects in The Force Awakens, J.J. says he wanted the audience to believe people were in this universe, and it was real. Thus, more practical sets and props. There will be CGI, but there is plenty of practical. 

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:43 am

Discussing female characters, Kathleen says “Moving forward, there are going to be a lot of wonderful [female] characters.”

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:44 am

J.J.: “One of the things I loved so much about the original trilogy was the sense that everything was real…” Everything had a lived-in look. There was a contrast between the pristine Empire and the scruffy Rebellion. They are following that feeling.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:46 am

Fan question: Are they worried they’ll disappoint fans. “The reality is,” J.J. says, “I’ve never had more fun in my life working on anything, and the opportunity far outweighs the risk.”

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:47 am

Do they consider fan opinions when crafting story? Kennedy says nothing is more important than the fans, and that the creators themselves are fans.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:49 am

What advice would you give to a young, aspiring filmmaker? “Put them out there, let people see them,” J.J. says.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:50 am

Boyega says he waited until the cast photo was released before he told his parents he got the part — he was worried they wouldn’t believe him!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:51 am

We’ve met the new faces — now meet the new stormtroopers! Standing ovation!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:53 am

Now Anthony Daniels takes the stage, as does “freedom fighter, diplomat, princess,” Carrie Fisher.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:53 am

Crowd is still standing! Peter Mayhew, a.k.a. Chewie, and Mark Hamill join them. Huge roar from the crowd.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:57 am

Anthony Daniels says the character of C-3PO means a lot to him, and thanks the fans for their support.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:58 am

Are we going to see a return to the hair buns for Leia. “They’re tired now,” Fisher says. And no metal bikini.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:58 am

Carrie Fisher was the first female Star Wars character. She says she’s glad to “have some backup” with all the new female characters.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201510:59 am

Mark Hamill: “Thank you. Without the ultra passionate fans, we wouldn’t be here…All my adult life, I’ve felt such love from you. You’re more than just fans, you’re family.”

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201511:01 am

Everyone is coming out for a photo — including Artoo and BB-8.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201511:02 am

Who wants to see a new teaser? — J.J.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201511:03 am

“We cannot thank you enough. The energy you are throwing our way is evidence of the Force, and we cannot be more grateful.” The lights go down!

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201511:05 am

“Chewie…we’re home.” And the crowd goes wild.

StarWars.com Team April 16, 201511:07 am

That’s it! Thanks for following along!

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