LOS ANGELES—The release of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is less than two weeks away, and while we still don’t know a lot about the plot, we do know who the new and old characters are in this seventh film in the series. On Sunday, we were introduced in person to a few of the actors who have important roles.

Ars was invited to a Star Wars media event featuring the cast and crew. And inside the event venue, Disney’s presence was very apparent: they asked members of the media if they wanted a “dark side” or “light side” wristband upon entrance (we picked light because it felt like a political decision), and there was an opportunity to pose for a photo with R2D2 and C-3PO. Merchandise for the film was on display, and attendees could test the Disney Infinity Star Wars video game or see short videos in VR on Google Cardboard. It felt like you were inside a store in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.

The big draw was a press conference cast and crew hosted by Mindy Kaling (who is also involved with Disney after she voiced a character in Pixar’s Inside Out). So many important Star Wars folks were in attendance that the evening offered two panels of Episode VII chatter. The first group included Carrie Fisher (reprising her rose as Leia), Daisy Ridley (as lead character Rey), Lupita Nyong'o (who plays alien Maz Kanata), Adam Driver (he’s Kylo Ren, the one with the cross lightsaber in the trailer), director J.J. Abrams, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

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