Simon Pegg has a different kind of supporting role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Out of all the behind-the-scenes peeks and first-look images unveiled in Lucasfilm's special Comic-Con reel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one shot in particular stirred up chatter: Star Wars and Mission: Impossible actor Simon Pegg's cameo. He's definitely in the film, but J.J. Abrams went on the record to confirm that we're not likely to spot him. Pegg, said Abrams, had a different kind of supporting role.

“I will say this in terms of Simon," Abrams told Entertainment Weekly, "while he won’t be recognizable in the movie, in all honesty, his role in this – not the performance or the character – but his support and friendship has been massively important and helpful in the process. He was a wonderful partner in crime to kick the story around and ask questions and come up with ideas, and he was an incredibly helpful part of the process for all of us. I’m very grateful.”

Despite certain fans taking umbrage with Pegg's appearance - after he publicly denounced George Lucas' prequels - his geek credentials and genuine love of the movies cannot be denied. What comes next is somewhat of a revelatory insight, detailing just how involved in the creative process Pegg truly was.

“He was a sounding board," Abrams continued. "He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive."

Abrams says Pegg was valued as "an honest, critical friend" with a usefully distant perspective than others involved in the huge project. "He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless," said Abrams.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 17th.

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