Star Wars hero Harrison Ford has returned to the public stage for a special moment along with fellow cast members Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, joining stars of the latest film.
Legions of fans had slept outside the Comic-Con convention centre in San Diego for days before the much anticipated appearance. They were rewarded for their commitment when they were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Force Awakens, as well as a surprise outside concert attended by the cast bearing light sabres.
The Star Wars originals accompanied new cast members and actors Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, as well as co-stars Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, for a further glimpse at what fans can expect when the new film is released in cinemas in December.
The panel was Ford’s first public appearance since crashing his small plane earlier this year and he received a standing ovation from fans as he walked on to the stage.
Clearly touched by the reception he received, Ford said: “The original Star Wars was the beginning of my working life, I was very happy to be a part of the story and the cast again.”
The Indiana Jones star, 72, also suffered a broken leg during an accident on set but assured the crowds he felt “just fine”.
Director JJ Abrams told devotees they could expect a new trailer later in the year, adding that one of his most important tasks was ensuring he did not let his love of the franchise interfere with the film-making.
“When you’re directing a scene on the Millennium Falcon… it doesn’t make the scene good,” he said.
“It’s definitely bitchin’, don’t get me wrong, but what’s the story?”
The director revealed to fans that he already has a cut of the film but is still working on the final edit.
Ford, Fisher and Hamill all embraced on stage to the delight of fans before Abrams announced that panel attendees would be treated to a surprise outdoor concert of Star Wars music, performed by the San Diego Symphony.