Story highlights

The new "Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens" trailer is released

A fan gathering in Los Angeles featured the cast and a droid

The movie comes out December 18

CNN  — 

Here you go, galaxy. The Force is back.

At an emotional event in Anaheim, California, director J.J. Abrams and the “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” cast showed off for the audience and then capped the presentation with the trailer for the new film.

The audience gasped, cheered and applauded.

The cast was appreciative of the welcome.

“You’re more than fans. You’re family,” Mark Hamill told the crowd.

Carrie Fisher was also there, though without her trademark Princess Leia hair buns.

They’re “retired,” she said.

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Also introduced: “Star Wars” emoji, some new Stormtroopers and the BB8, the soccer-ball-like droid that rolled around the stage, to the delight of the audience.

It wasn’t CGI, either, as much of the movie, Abrams said, was filmed on actual sets.

Twitter erupted with near-instantaneous reaction, most of it enthusiastic.

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The new “Star Wars” is due out December 18.

CNN’s Henry Hanks was in the audience. Here are his five top takeaways from the event:

1. Han flies again

The trailer ended in a big way, with Han Solo and Chewbacca having apparently arrived after a flight on the Millennium Falcon.

The reaction in the room of fans was nothing short of rapturous upon seeing Harrison Ford back in character as Han. A few burst into tears at the end of the the 110-second teaser.

2. That’s not Tatooine

Abrams revealed that their shooting location was not meant to represent the Skywalker ancestral home of Tatooine, as many believed.

Instead, it’s a planet called Jakku, where much of the early action of the movie takes place. Daisy Ridley’s Rey meets up with a stromtrooper, Finn (John Boyega) and that’s where the adventure begins.

3. Hints of Luke and Leia

Oscar Isaac dropped a major hint that his pilot character of Poe is sent on a mission by “a princess,” and we’re fairly certain which one he meant.

Leia and Luke aren’t seen in the trailer, but we hear Luke’s unmistakable voice as he passes along a lightsaber, presumably to other Skywalker family members.

Carrie Fisher also teased her new wardrobe, and promised no metal bikini.

4. There’s less CGI than in the prequels

Abrams said he was proud that “you can watch the movie and see what it is” before the effects wizards at Industrial Light and Magic did their work.

And yes, the new droid BB-8 (who was a fan favorite at the panel) is not CGI.

5. The ruins of the Empire are all around

A crashed Star Destroyer can be seen at the opening of the trailer, as well as a look at Vader’s charred helmet. Chills.

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CNN’s Henry Hanks contributed to this story.