The Avatar panel just ended and the consensus on Twitter is that the footage was pretty breathtaking. Perhaps the biggest announcement for you folks who didn't get a chance to attend today's panel was that on August 21st, James Cameron will screen 15 minutes of Avatar in 3D at IMAX theaters worldwide ... for free. Yup, we'll all get a chance to see what all the hype is about a few months prior to the film's official release date of December 18th.

Off the top of my head, I don't know if anything like this has ever been done before. Sure there's the occasional press event where footage will be screened and we'll write it up afterwards (Watchmen and Star Trek both did this), but 20th Century Fox must have tons upon tons of faith in this film to go ahead and splurge on a worldwide screening of only 15 minutes of footage four and a half months prior to release. Whatever the case may be, I think it's pretty awesome that we'll get to taste this bad boy ahead of time -- though on the other hand, part of me would rather wait to experience it as a whole.

What do you think? Will you be seeing the 15-minute preview or waiting for the official release?

We'll have more from the Avatar panel later; in the meantime, check out the rest of our Comic Con coverage.