Sure, Marvel Studios is taking the year off from Comic-Con International: San Diego (along with Sony and Paramount), but that doesn’t mean Disney won’t have a massive genre franchise to show off at the nerdstravaganza. Instead of superheroes with godly hammers and the ability to soar through the skies, Disney will bring lightsabers, Jedi, and a new threat from the Dark Side.
Yes, Star Wars is back at Comic-Con and not just in animation this year. With less than six months until the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first live-action film in over 10 years and seventh episodic chapter in the 38-years running franchise, you know that film will be front-and-center. Of course, there are also the Anthology films, the non-episode movies that kick off with December 2016’s Rogue One, telling the story of the Rebel Alliance stealing the Death Star plans from the Empire shortly before the events of the first movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. Six months after that will be Episode VIII directed by Rian Johnson, followed by another Anthology the next year, another Episode, etc on a yearly basis for the forseeable future.
With all that in mind, here are a few things we hope/think/guess we might see at the Star Wars Comic-Con 2015 panel, ranked from most certain to least.
The Force Awakens Cast
In a bit of a repeat from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim this past April, we fully expect to see cast and crew from December’s release on stage once more, this time for the Hall H crowd. While the days leading up to Celebration revealed a bit more about their characters, we don’t expect a major revelation (i.e. if any of the newbies are directly related to anyone named Skywalker or Solo), but if Lucasfilm/Disney decided to drop a bomb like that, it’d surely “win” Comic-Con with ease. Expect a little more on the relationships the new characters have with each other, and being brought into the Star Wars universe in their own words.
New The Force Awakens Footage
While during the show they’ll likely play the same behind-the-scenes still shots we saw at Celebration for a new crowd, it would be shocking for them to not have something new in video form. The big question here is whether it will be a produced and edited teaser or trailer style video clip, or if it might actually be a scene from the movie. From what I’ve heard from those who’ve read the script or worked on the film, there are not a lot of scenes that could be shown in that manner without containing at least one major reveal or spoiler – literally, close to none, if any. We could see something like an extended version of that Falcon chase scene from the trailer, but a new, third trailer might be a safer bet.
That Rogue One Teaser, and New Info
Remember, with a release date one year after The Force Awakens, this is one of two San Diego Comic-Cons before the release of Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the ILM-produced teaser clip made before the movie even started filming again at this panel, but it would be surprising to not see some of the cast come out on stage, even for just a photo op. To date, we have Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, and Riz Ahmed as confirmed cast members, with most of them coming since Celebration. I think we’ll see them come out on stage, and maybe even a shot of Jones dressed in Rebel Alliance pilot gear – so be ready to cover your ears from the pop of the crowd if that happens. Some kind of confirmation of what the other characters are would be cool, but might get held to D23 or even NYCC, a convention Disney seems to like quite a bit in the last few years. The big moments for this one will be likely held over to next year, but Disney loves looking to the future (more on that in a moment).
Now look, we’re not saying we’re getting any story news about Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see him take the stage for a symbolic passing of the baton from J.J. Abrams to the young director. Them both being on stage, a standing handshake to show the franchise’s episodic features are in good hands, and, well, that’s probably about it. Johnson could have an official title reveal up his sleeve, but they held The Force Awakens until just 13 months before the film’s release, and we have just shy of 22 months (May 26, 2017) until the release of Episode VIII. Don’t bet on it, but this one is a solid maybe regardless.
More Star Wars Anthology Announcements
Could members of the Story Group come out for more Star Wars Anthology news? Absolutely. While this isn’t likely to be the focus, what with the first Anthology just about to start shooting and the second one not due out until 2018, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Disney. They routinely announce Pixar films years in advance, and publicly put their entire slate of Marvel movies on the board through 2019 last year (with private conversations rumored to have a loose schedule for another 8 years after that). The biggest mystery is who will take on the second Anthology now that Josh Trank has stepped away from it, and what character(s) that movie will focus on. I don’t think we’ll get all of that information, but maybe, just maybe, a mic-dropping moment with the title card on the screen (clearly pointing to a fan-favorite character) could top off the panel and make everyone say, “Superwho? Batwhat?” for the rest of the convention.
What Star Wars new to you hope to hear next week? Let us know in the comments!
Note: We incorrectly reported that Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One was due in theaters May, 2016 - it's due December 16, 2016, with Episode VIII returning the franchise to May releases in 2017.