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Deep down, in the backs of our minds, we held a sliver of hope that J.J. "Mystery Box" Abrams would bring a snippet of footage from Star Wars: Episode VII to San Diego Comic-Con, just to keep the intense heat of fan interest blazing on the wildly anticipated sequel. But reports have now surfaced that Star Wars (basically) is skipping Comic-Con once again, dashing the hopes of young Jedi everywhere.
Deadline breaks the news that will break thousands of hearts, stating that "sources close to the production and at Comic-Con" have confirmed that Disney and LucasFilm have no plans to bring Star Wars: Episode VII to San Diego. There won’t be a complete absence of Star Wars content at the Con, however. Disney XD will hold a panel for its animated Star Wars Rebels series on Thursday, July 24. That panel is expected to include executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg, as well as actors Freddie Prinze Jr. (Kanan), Steve Blum (Zeb), Taylor Gray (Ezra), Tiya Sircar (Sabine) and Vanessa Marshall (Hera). They all will be on hand to show exclusive content from the upcoming CGI animated series, which will debut on the Disney Channel in the fall of 2014.
Not that those of us who have been attending Comic-Con for the past few years expected Disney to bring Star Wars material to San Diego. The studio has their own fan-focused event, D23, which usually is scheduled for August. If the studio wanted to do a splashy presentation of footage, it is believed that they would wait until the eyes of the geek community were focused on a purely Disney event, when the studio doesn’t have to compete with the other giants of the Comic-Con scene.
At the same time, Star Wars: Episode VII completely bypassed D23 last year, when fans really expected to hear major casting news at the Southern California event. They didn’t. Why? Probably because a project as massive as Star Wars: Episode VII doesn’t need to roll Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford (and his busted leg) and Carrie Fisher on a stage to generate headlines. The stories are going to come anyway. But it would have been a delightful gift to fans to dim the lights in Hall H and play a teaser clip of some early Star Wars: Episode VII footage. It might even give the folks over at Marvel – who normally host the most celebrated panel – a run for their money.