The third day of Comic Con’s panels was probably the biggest of the weekend. Between Hall H and Ballroom 20, the lines ran out the backside of the convention center and down to the beach shore; at one point the backs of the line bumped into each other. Fortunately, Con Safety Buddies, Guy and Paul, were able to get in line early and get us great seats for the Hall H’s day of big programming. Hall H hosted Django Unchained, Warner Bros. and Legendary Studios films, and Marvel’s Phase 2 of films. Read on for details for some of the biggest films coming our way in the next year (and then some).
After five hours in line, the doors opened and more than 6000 butts took their seats. Quentin Taratino returned to Comic Con to bring his next film, Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson and more. Two minutes in it was clear that this was a “mature-rated” panel and the crowd expected no less from QT (except for a few parents who I saw cover their kids’ eyes and ears). The footage shown was a longer edition of the trailer already in theaters showing more gore and introductions of the cast. Don Johnson is portraying a plantation owner called Big Daddy and he nails the part (and the white suit, go figure). Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz play well with the subtle humor, action, and drama of the pre-civil war, slave story. Foxx and Tarantino touched onthe difficulty of bringing Django to life (the D is silent by the way) because it could be hard to imagine what it was like to be a slave in those days, but Tarantino said Foxx nailed it. Look for Django Unchained hitting theaters on Christmas Day 2012.
Next up was a three hour block of Warner Bros. and Legendary Studios films. As the lights went down in Hall H, the curtains around the stage opened up to make a semi-circle like projection screen; it almost looked like the audience was peering out of a cockpit or bay window. And that was just the effect wanted for the first film shared, Pacific Rim. From Guillermo Del Toro, Pacific Rim is a R0bots (human controlled) versus Giant Monsters movie. Del Toro brought out Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Ron Perlman to screen some of the footage. They have created “approximately nine” original monsters; some fly, some swim, and some walk. On the other side of the battle are six gigantic robots controlled by two humans (each handling one half of the robot, right or left) in the helmet/cockpit (thus the stage set up) of the mechanical soldier. The director added that they had a sort of “American Idol like” competition to see which monsters and robots would make it into the film and narrowed it down to the armies we will see on the big screen. This definitely looks like a film to see in 3D and/or IMAX. Visually amazing and the bits of monsters and robots we saw looking phenomenal. I’m sure there’s some human acting involved (Idris Elba was on screen giving a big inspirational speech at one point) but I think the robots and monsters will definitely steal the show. The uber-exclusive footage screened at Comic Con was the only publicity the film will see until the end of 2012, before starting a massive marketing campaign in the new year leading up to what will hopefully be a summer blockbuster.
From one monster film to the next, Legendary made a surprise announcement that they are working on a new Godzilla movie that will return the king of monsters back to the top (you know, if Pacific Rim’s beasts don’t kick his ass first). A small teaser showing complete destruction in a large urban city that only the giant lizard can create, leading up to the debut of the beast! This Godzilla, although only on screen for a brief moment, looks like a cross between the 1998 movie monster and the originals from the black & white films. And just before cutting away it looks like Godzilla was breathing fire, but I could be mistaken, there was a lot of dust and smoke surrounding his appearance. Look for more news and details on this film emerge.
There was a quick interlude after Godzilla to bring out Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis to promote their next comedic romp, The Campaign. The panel went almost immediately to questions after airing the trailer that has been everywhere for weeks now. Ferrell seemed on his game and out to cause the crowd to laugh their asses off. Galifianakis seemed a little bothered to be there or at least pretending like that to get a laugh. I have to note, that Zach had a new style when he was on stage, looking a lot like Bradley Cooper (and Hangover 3 is in production, coincidence?). The movie opens on August 10th and will surely produce many jokes for the upcoming Fall elections.
Easily following the comedy break was the triumphant return of Superman to Hall H and Comic Con. Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman) came to the stage with new footage for the upcoming film and a Q&A with fans. The footage looked great, Superman has a new look (similar to his new DC 52 comic book counterpart) and tougher than ever. In the footage we saw a bearded Clark walking toward what looked like the Fortress of Solitude to get answers from a voice from beyond (presumably Russel Crowe playing the late Kryptonian father-ghost, Jor-El). Superman then emerges from the cave, suited up and takes flight. The effects of the hero’s takeoff and gliding through the air look great and very detailed (showing the airstream coming from the flight before breaking the sound barrier). And there was a quick glimpse at Zod (played by Michael Shannon) who is said to be a villain in the story. During the Q&A portion of the panel, Snyder was mum on many details as to who or what the villains would be like and that he hoped to keep this film as secret as possible until it opens so that fans will be surprised at the theaters instead of spoiled on the internet. Henry Cavill talked about how he read the Death and Return of Superman as well as the Red Son story arc to get inspiration for the character. I am a lifelong Superman fan and am excited to see this new take on the story. The footage looks great so far and should be showing in front of the Dark Knight Rises this coming weekend.
Closing out the Warner Bros. panel was Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit including appearances by Jackson, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis and even Elijah Wood (who happened to be backstage) among others. The fans were treated to twelve and half minutes of the film and a behind the scenes video of the production. It was great to see the behind the scenes footage of showing sets being built and cast being made up into their characters. The film footage was amazing. The great visual landscapes that we all loved in the Lord of the Rings is still there. The acting is just as amazing as the first series. The Hobbit will be broken up into two films over the course of a year and Jackson said they will still not be able to get everything they wanted into the movie. Everyone involved is excited for fans to get to see the final product which is still in production; Jackson was leaving the convention on Sunday to go film his part and the score for the film will be recorded in the early fall. So start getting ready because this will be a film you won’t want to miss.
That will conclude Part 1 of the Day 3 coverage of Comic Con, check out Part 2 for all the details on the upcoming Marvel Studios films.