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Despite warning, fans' hopes for D23 'Star Wars' news dashed

At Disney's massive fan-fest in Anaheim, 'Star Wars' fans held out hope for big news on 'Episode VII.' But Disney's warning that none was forthcoming proved true.

Though Disney touted the next 'Star Wars' at its D23 Expo Saturday, it didn't reveal anything new about 'Episode VII.' Disney

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Give "Star Wars" fans this: They're nothing if not hopeful.

In the days leading up to Disney's massive D23 Expo fan-fest here this weekend, the entertainment giant tried to tamp down expectations that it would real new details about 2015's "Star Wars: Episode VII."

But short of CEO Bob Iger having a press conference to declare that the company wouldn't announce anything new about the highly-anticipated next film in the series, fans came to D23 holding out hope that Disney just might still drop a hint or two about something significant. Some, for example, had predicted that the main cast of the film would be formally revealed, while others no doubt thought that Disney might talk a little about the plot.

In the end, there was no news at all, leading some in the standing-room only audience for Disney's Saturday presentation of its forthcoming live-action film slate to jeer studio Chairman Alan Horn when he said he had nothing new to share.

The speculation, in fact, reached such a fever pitch that Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo, who gave a very well received talk about the history of the "Star Wars" franchise, to tweet beforehand that not only would he not have any new news to share about "Episode VII," but that Disney would also not be unveiling anything about the film at an upcoming dental convention in San Francisco.

On the other hand, Hidalgo also tweeted that the air conditioning in the Anaheim Convention Center worked fine, a nod to the fact that the recent "Star Wars" Celebration convention in Europe had not had any A/C, while 2015's Celebration, which will be held at the convention center in Anaheim, should have satisfactory climate control.

While there was no "Star Wars" news worth reporting, Disney did throw a star-studded party to celebrate its remaining slate of live-action films coming between now and early 2015.

During the presentation before thousands of Disney fans, Horn, president of motion picture production Sean Bailey, and Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige introduced a long series of forthcoming films, including "Thor: The Dark World;" "Captain America: The Winter Soldier;" "Guardians of the Galaxy;" "Cinderella;" "Maleficent;" "Muppets Most Wanted;" "Avengers: The Age of Ultron;" "Bears;" "Into the Woods;" "Tomorrowland;" and "Saving Mr. Banks."

Among the stars that turned up to help promote the various films Saturday were Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Mackie, Tom Hiddleston, Ty Burrell, Chris Evans, and more.

The live-action presentation followed Friday's presentation of Disney's forthcoming slate of animated films, which includes three new Pixar movies, "The Good Dinosaur," "Inside Out," and "Finding Dory," among others.