It’s on my bucket list of things to do before I die: to visit the hallowed grounds of the San Diego Comic-Con, the place where nerd dreams are made. While this summer has had some amazing films (and some that are going to be premiering soon…aka The Dark Knight Rises), there is always room to look towards the future of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been longingly looking at the website, wishing that I had the time and money to devote to the 4-day showing of informative panels and exciting new previews. If you’re a movie buff like me, you also have dreams of one day being in the room when they announce something like The Avengers. Since all I can do is imagine, I went through the list of panels and picked out the ones that I would be waiting in line for if I actually had a pass. Hopefully some of the lucky fans that are attending will be kind enough to post their experiences (and let us know all the new info on our favorite movies). All the information about the 2012 panels and their descriptions can be found on www.comic-con.org.
1. Oz The Great and Powerful
I may not have mentioned this before, but my mom is a HUGE Wizard of Oz fan. I’m not kidding, the woman painted a room bright green and filled it with all her memorabilia (which should give you some idea about how much she has collected). I suppose my fondness for the series stems from having to buy her a new Wizard of Oz ornament and calendar every Christmas, but I’m also a really big fan of the musical Wicked. So it’s no great leap to be enthusiastic about the upcoming “prequel” Oz the Great and Powerful. It’s got an all-star cast of James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz. Sam Raimi (from Spider-Man and The Evil Dead) is the director, and he will be on hand at Comic-Con to deliver a special look at the film. He is joined by other Disney film-makers, such as Rich Moore (for Wreck-It Ralph) and my personal favorite Tim Burton (for Frankenweenie). I’m hoping that we finally get a trailer for the film which, judging by the poster to the left, should be absolutely beautiful. – Thursday, July 12 at 2:05.
2. The Expendables 2
Growing up, it was always a feat if my father could stay awake during a movie. The only ones that do it? Those action packed muscle man movies that have zero plot, terrible acting, and lots of explosions to keep your eyes open. Which is why The Expendables appeals to me, after having to watch so many of those movies as a kid. It’s a good action movie that has a huge cast of those guys that made those kinds of movies popular. And the panel for the preview is filled with them: Sylvester Stallone, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar. It’s the first time the Governator (Schwarzeneggar) himself will be making an appearance at Comic-Con, and I’m sure he’ll be a big hit. Everyone must be looking forward to seeing all the guns firing and the ass-kicking that is sure to be the focus. – Thursday, July 12 at 4:45
For the 10 year anniversary, the Science Channel is bringing together the cast of the hit (but short-lived) series Firefly. The cast will reunite for the first time since the 2005 movie Serenity for a panel discussion with fans. This includes the creator (a man who I seriously love) Joss Whedon, who is fresh from his massive win with The Avengers. He will be joined by the rest of the cast, including Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau. They will apparently be debuting some unseen footage from the show, along with answering questions from the audience. I certainly wish that I could be sitting in this room. – Friday, July 13 at 12:30.
4. Total Recall
I have to admit, the first time I saw that they were re-making this Sylvester Stallone movie, I got it confused with Demolition Man – another so-bad-it’s-good action movie. But after seeing the preview, I’m forced to remember the correct Stallone picture and admit that it looks like the Total Recall re-make will surpass the original. Especially since Len Wiseman is directing it and I happen to be a fan of his previous work, such as Underworld. He will be on the panel along with members of the cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. Discussion of the movie is part of one big Sony panel, which includes the next two items on my list. There’s already a trailer out for the film, so I’m just hoping for some behind the scenes information. – Friday, July 13 at 4:35.
Being a big fan of the Die Hard movies (and of Bruce Willis), this movie intrigues me. The premise is that in the future, the mob hires assassins called Loopers to kill the targets that they send back to the past through time travel. When hit man Joe is suddenly confronted by his older self, things start to get complicated. The younger version of Joe is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, while the older version is Bruce Willis. Gordon-Levitt had to go through extensive make-up and prosthetics in order to make himself look more like a young Bruce Willis (seen in the above photo from Die Hard, next to a picture of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper). I think they did a pretty good job, and it will be interesting to hear what other things Gordon-Levitt had to do to become Mr. Willis. The panel includes director Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. – Friday, July 13 at 4:35.
Not a lot is known about this film, except that it is directed by District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp. If you haven’t seen District 9 you need to put it on your list – there’s a reason why Peter Jackson helped produce it. Elysium is set in the year 2159, where the world has been divided into the rich people who live in space stations and the poor people who are stuck on the ruined Earth. Matt Damon is sent on a mission that could bridge the huge gap between them (according to the imdb.com description). The latest photo (on the left) shows Mr. Damon without his hair, carrying an awesome looking gun. The Comic-Con description teases that the audience will be the first to see footage from the movie, as well as talk to the panel including Damon, Jodie Foster, Neill Blomkamp, and executive producer Simon Kinberg. – Friday, July 13 at 4:35.
7. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino’s latest mash-up, Django Unchained, promises to be another awesome blood bath. The story of the slave Django who becomes an assassin on a mission to save his wife from a villainous plantation owner is sure to be another awesome notch in Tarantino’s kick ass belt. The panel promises special footage with Quentin Tarantino and the cast, but it doesn’t say who exactly from the cast will be there. Keeping a little bit of a surprise in the discussion of the film is all right by me. Any member of the cast would be awesome to see, whether it’s Jaime Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, or Samuel L. Jackson. We still don’t know what the recent addition Jonah Hill’s role will be, so perhaps that is what the “special discussion” will be about. – Saturday, July 14th at 11:30.
8. The Hobbit
To the right is the special The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey poster that was created for Comic-Con. Since filming has wrapped on the project, I’ve been getting into fits of nervous joy that make it hard to wait for the premiere on December 14th. If it proves to be everything I hope for, then it will be a fun and by-the-book adventure tale with sweeping landscapes and silly dwarves who can wield a sword. Peter Jackson has certainly been keeping fans happy with several production videos and a very cool new “scroll” that was just released by Entertainment Weekly (see it here). The scroll shows several different scenes combined into one long picture, and a few of them will look very familiar to fans of the book. My hope is that Jackson will keep up the momentum and deliver some more tidbits of information on what is sure to be a great movie. Nothing is stated specifically in regards to the Comic-Con panel, so we don’t know if Jackson or any of the other ensemble cast will be showing up or what will be shown. We’re simply given a description of the film as a tale 60 years before The Lord of the Rings trilogy that features Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and a company of 13 dwarves going on quest to reclaim a lost city from a dragon. I’m hoping that even with the stingy description, The Hobbit won’t dissapoint. – Saturday, July 14th at 2:30.
9. Man of Steel
For some strange reason, the Zack Snyder re-boot of Superman has been kind of swept under the rug. There’s no description of Man of Steel on the Comic-Con website though it was listed under the Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures panel (along with The Hobbit and Pacific Rim). Since a picture and a logo was released some months ago, there hasn’t been much more information besides on-set photo leaks. But now we do have some indication that the film will be shown in IMAX 3D, even though it wasn’t shot in the format (it will be converted during post-production). There’s also now an official description, one that is incredibly vague on any details. It really just says what we all already know about Clark Kent/Superman (played by Henry Cavill): he was transported to Earth from the planet Krypton, taken in by Martha (Diane Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and raised as their son despite his extraordinary powers that would one day enable him to become Superman. It’s an origin story that we’ve all heard, but hopefully Man of Steel will turn out to be a movie that we all want to see. Perhaps they’ll prove that by showing us some footage at Comic-Con. – Saturday, July 14 at 2:30.
10. Pacific Rim
If you look at the new Comic-Con poster to the left, you can probably already see that Pacific Rim is going to be visually stunning. I mean, what movie that features giant robots beating the crap out of giant aliens wouldn’t look cool? But when you add Guillermo Del Toro into the mix (who’s previously directed other spectacular visual films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy) you’ve got a recipe for greatness. I’m also on the lookout for Idris Elba, whose name has been attached to some of my favorite things such as Thor and Prometheus. On the Comic-Con site it simply lists a description and a promise of a “preview”, whatever that may mean. It could mean an actual trailer or simply some footage. We also don’t know who will be giving us this preview, whether it will be Del Toro or some other member from the cast. But seeing anything from this film will be exciting, especially when one picture speaks so loudly of awesome things to come. – Saturday, July 14th at 2:30.
11. Iron Man 3
The photo above is the concept art that has recently been released for Iron Man 3. We’re not given any background info on what is happening in the scene, but it looks like Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role) might be in trouble when he’s surrounded by guys with guns with only half his suit on. Hopefully we’ll get a little bit more to go on than just a picture when Kevin Feige (the Marvel producer) speaks at Comic-Con. We still don’t know who Ben Kingsley will be playing, though there is speculation that he will be playing a version of the villain The Mandarin. And recent hire William Sadler has an unknown character as well. Perhaps we’ll be told about where they fit into the story. With Iron Man 3 currently in production, it might be a possibility that some of the actors could take a moment to talk about the film in person. Since it just says that “special guests” will be joining Feige, there’s no telling who might show up. – Saturday, July 14th at 6:00.
12. Thor 2 and Captain America 2
In the same panel for Iron Man 3, Kevin Feige is supposed to talk about “the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe”. I’m taking that as a hint that other films in the Marvel canon will be discussed, such as the upcoming Thor and Captain America sequels. I think I’m most excited about what will happen next for Thor, which has grabbed a Game of Thrones director (Alan Taylor) and will be next in line for production once Iron Man 3 wraps. There’s also no official word yet that Anthony Hopkins will be returning as Odin. But the good Captain and the Norse God are not the only heroes with a future. With The Avengers being such a huge hit (it’s now in the number three spot for highest grossing box office behind Avatar and Titanic), everyone wants to know Marvel’s next move. Rumors have been floating around the Internet about the many different directions they might go in: a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, an Ant-Man project, or a solo Hulk film are among the top contenders. Nothing has been confirmed, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll finally get some concrete facts about the next crop of superheroes during the panel. – Saturday, July 14th at 6:00.
What exhibits are you excited about during this year’s Comic-Con? Is anyone lucky enough to be going? If not, you can join me in my imaginary line for panels!