The disappointment was palpable at D23 Expo as Walt Disney Studios promoted 11 movies that it will release through the end of 2015.

Each film received a polished presentation, with some top talent on hand. But that didn't matter to some, since many of the thousands who packed the Anaheim Convention Center's arena wanted to see one thing: "Star Wars" -- at least any new insight into what J.J. Abrams has planned around the seventh film in the franchise, out in summer 2015.

But they got nothing.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn tried his best to get the topic out of the way early during his opening remarks, saying "I wish I could tell you more, but it will come soon."

And Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger also tried to warn attendees the day before that the company was "speechless" on the "Star Wars" front.

Still the media and the blogosphere believed they were being teased. They have seen too many presentations before that promise nothing but end with a big surprise -- a Steve Jobs-like "But there is one more thing" kind of moment.



That moment didn't come, however.

Saturday's D23 panel ended with B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman performing a song from "Mary Poppins" that's featured in "Saving Mr. Banks" -- not the showstopper that some thought would include an army of Storm Troopers. Or at least a Jedi.

Disney clearly did itself a disservice by not trying to get ahead of the non-story and dampen the exceedingly high expectations sooner. It wouldn't haven't been that difficult, as it's now turning mostly to StarWars.com to offer up news on the films or other related projects. But again, there was mostly silence, which caused everyone, including outlets like Southern California public radio station KPCC, to believe there would be a "Star Wars" presence at D23 during a brief report on the fanfest.

And where was Kathleen Kennedy? The Lucasfilm chief also was a no-show during Disney's film presentation. Yet just last month, the exec appeared in Essen, Germany, giving keynotes and interviews at the Star Wars Celebration Europe event. Over the weekend at D23, she was the only major studio executive to not take the D23 stage the way animation chief John Lasseter, Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige and Walt Disney Studios president Sean Bailey did.

Kennedy wouldn't have had to say much, just that the franchise is in good hands. The ever-amiable Horn took care of that instead.



To be fair, Disney was right not to force Abrams to present anything.

Disney hired him for his filmmaking talents and creativity, not his showmanship. And when you hire Abrams you also get a lot of secrecy, something Lucasfilm is very good at. So is Marvel, by the way.

Abrams likes to talk about his films when he's ready. And right now, he's just not. He doesn't have a cast to reveal; the script is still being worked on, designs of everything from characters to sets being finalized. It's the same way he worked on two "Star Trek" films, also with a major fanbase to keep happy.

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