The Fringe panel at Comic-Con Saturday ended up being far more noteworthy for what it didn’t have rather than for what it did offer: a half-full ballroom of lookee-loos and no footage from Star Trek.

For days, there had been lots of buzz that executive producers J.J. Abrams (pictured), Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman were going to use the panel to debut a few minutes from Trek (which was directed by Abrams and written by Orci and Kurtzman, and is set for release next May). Zachary Quinto, who plays a young Spock in the new movie was even in attendance. But almost 40 minutes into the session, it seemed certain that Abrams had no intention of unveiling the much-anticipated footage, despite comments from insiders around him who said he actually had three minutes from Trek ready to debut. (When asked on the panel about the progress of Trek, Abrams said that most of the special effects work hadn’t been completed, which is why he couldn’t show anything at Comic-Con).

So what happened? One key source says Fox, the network that will air Fringe, may have nixed Abrams’ plan at the very last minute (a Fox spokesman could not be reached late Saturday). Then again, Abrams may have also given the stunt a second thought out of respect for the movie’s studio, Paramount, which had no presence at Comic-Con this year.

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Curiously, the turnout for Fringe — arguably the mosttalked-about, if not the most expensive, show debuting this fall — was not very substantial, given who’s behind the series. Themassive room that once served as the home for Lost and Heroespanels (they’ve now moved up to the hall that holds 6,500 people) wasnowhere near capacity, and there was no long line of people waiting togo in before the session started. Too bad, because Abrams had animportant promise for potential viewers: This show won’t be as dense asAlias or Lost. “I got sick of hearing people say they gotconfused when watching those shows,” he explained. “We will do theshow in a way that if you miss an episode and come back a week later,you won’t feel confused.” Abrams didn’t rule out the possibility that Fringe, like his movie Cloverfield, will pay some sort of homage to Lost someday. Though he’s kind of done it already: Actor Lance Reddick, who recurs as Matthew Abaddon on Lost, plays an FBI man in Fringe.

Speaking of Cloverfield,Abrams said he’s already huddled with the movie’s creative team andthey’ve got an idea for a sequel, though nothing’s been set in stone.

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