Dork Storm 2010
Written by Sarah
It’s July. You know what that means. Thousands of geeks, nerds, dweebs, and dorks descending on San Diego for the annual Comic Con. Built by the love of comic book nerds, sci-fi dorks, and fantasy freaks, Comic Con has become a huge film and TV industry event. Still, at its heart, it’s a four-day celebration of geekdom.
One of the best illustrations of who is attending Comic Con comes from my friend A, an annual visitor to the convention herself. Once she saw a woman with pointy ears and a long beautiful cape. She complimented the woman on her excellent Vulcan costume, but the woman was upset and stormed off. Turns out, she was supposed to be an elf of the Lord of the Rings variety. These are the people at Comic Con. Well, these people, and the industry folk from LA.
Comic Con was conceived as a place for the sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book fandoms to throw in together and have a giant party. These genre interests are the bread and butter of the convention, but it’s the mainstream Hollywood influence that has made Comic Con the beast it is today. So of course there is tension. With the major movie presentations taking place in the biggest function space, Hall H, the television panels have been pushed to Ballroom 20, a slightly smaller space, which in turn has pushed many of the genre panels into still smaller venues around the complex. Genre/mainstream tensions escalate every year and every year renews the discussion of whether or not Comic Con should be moved to Anaheim or Los Angeles, a move that would largely be done to accommodate industry execs that don’t like remembering that no, LA is not the center of the universe.
Still, the presentations and panels in Hall H will start building buzz for some of the biggest movies of the next year. Here’s a look at the Hall H activities for 2010, and some of the other interesting goings-on during this year’s Comic Con.
Megamind (Dreamworks Animation)
This is Will Ferrell’s first of two panels. Also in the lineup are Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, and the film’s director, Tom McGrath. Megamind is about a supervillain who loses his mojo after killing his nemesis. Not a terrible idea, but The Incredibles comparisons are obvious. I could care less about this movie, but I bet it’s a fun panel to watch and, on a gossipy note, there are unconfirmed whispers that Brad Pitt might pop in as a surprise guest.
Tron: Legacy (Disney)
This is the second year Disney has pimped Tron in Hall H, but this time it is the star of Friday. I am not a fan of the original (I think I may have seen it once in 1989), but Michael Sheen is on this panel, so yes, I’d vote it worth it. Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund--they’re just gravy. Sheen is the main draw to me. Did you see him on 30 Rock? Charming.
Battle: Los Angeles & Salt (Sony)
Sony is promoting next March’s Battle: Los Angeles as well as this summer’s Salt, which actually opens the next day after this panel. Battle is a classic Comic Con piggy-backer, a movie that inspires indifference at best (Marines fight aliens in LA), but Salt promises “very special guests”. Apparently Angelina Jolie is rumoured to stop by and promote like Johnny Depp did for Alice In Wonderland last year. Angelina has done Comic Con before so she should know what to expect, but I doubt she takes questions. The presence of both Jolie and Pitt however will send this event into even more chaos.
Red (Summit Entertainment)
No one is confirmed for this panel, it just says, “the cast”. Here’s hoping Helen Mirren is there, because otherwise, I have little interest in this movie.
Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries with JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon
It’s a total geekgasm, but these are two of the cleverest filmmakers working today chatting it up for an hour in Hall H. Also, a HUGE amount of business gets done at Comic Con. Makes you wonder what guys like Abrams and Whedon talk about backstage…
The Expendables (Lionsgate)
Have you seen the new trailer for The Expendables? This movie looks terrible, and that trailer is sexist, but damn if that isn’t the most honest piece of marketing I’ve seen in a while. Stallone is sitting on the panel. Someone tell me what his face looks like in person. In my head, it’s the consistency of Play-Doh.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Universal Pictures)
Universal is throwing everything they have behind Scott Pilgrim, hoping for a surprise hit in August. The panel features Edgar Wright, the director behind Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, the graphic novel author, and an impossibly large number of the cast. Real life couple spotting with Wright and Anna Kendrick. Ten bucks they don’t sit next to each other on the panel.
Other interesting panels:
Burn Notice & White Collar (USA)
Burn Notice’s panel is just a couple of the producers and Bruce Campbell. Worth it just for Campbell. At this point, he should just be getting his own hour-long panel to talk about whatever. Bruce Campbell is awesome. White Collar is USA’s new short-season hit, and while it is certainly slick, I don’t think it’s the greatest thing on TV. However, the leads, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, make the show with their chemistry. They’re both on the panel. I’d be interested to see the real-life interplay (and no, I don’t mean anything about anyone’s orientation, I just mean I like to see how actors get along in real life).
I’m not sure any of the TV panels on Friday are worth passing up the Hall H activities for, but putting Dexter on Friday makes a case for being in Ballroom 20 instead. Michael C. Hall is on the panel.
Friday -- Star Wars Day
It’s Star Wars Day! There will be lots of people dressed up. I think Lainey should get a Leia costume together, don’t you?
Drive Angry 3D (Summit Entertainment)
The title pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Summit’s second panel of Comic Con and once again, no specific cast are confirmed. It’s almost like Summit has a hard time handling their talent or something…
Skyline (Universal Pictures)
Yet another “aliens descend on Los Angeles” flick. Why do aliens hate LA so much? Best claim to fame for this movie are the directors, the Strause brothers. They’re most famous for their effects company Hydraulx. I hope this movie actually has a plot, but my expectations are low.
Super (No representation)
I’d be willing to wager this movie leaves the convention with a distribution deal, or at least in negotiations for a deal. James Gunn, the writer/director behind campy horror send-up Slither riffs on superhero movies. Rainn Wilson is a cuckolded guy who tries to win his wife back by becoming a superhero, aided by a crazy teen, played by Ellen Page. Wilson, Gunn, Liv Tyler, and Comic Con favorite Nathan Fillion (plus a couple producers) are on the panel. Page is unavailable because of Inception press. Still, it should be a solid panel and this movie sounds cool.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Miramax)
Another favorite of the geek chic is Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy), who is presenting this with director Troy Nixey, but neither of the stars, Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes. Missed opportunity. I know she’s working on that Kennedy biopic, but I would love to see Holmes try to handle Hall H. The movie is standard horror—kid moves into creepy old house with her estranged dad his live-in, and monsters try to eat them. But del Toro is expected to announce his next project, so the fanboys will be on the edge of their seats.
The Other Guys, The Green Hornet & Priest 3D (Sony)
The Other Guys is Will Ferrell’s second panel, this time with costars Mark Wahlberg and Eva Mendes, plus Ferrell’s creative partner Adam McKay. After the MTV Movie Awards, I feel a lot better about Ferrell and Wahlberg’s chemistry, and Mendes should be a big hit with the crowd. Priest 3D is another “Paul Bettany lost a bet” movie. A post-apocalyptic future has humans living in a new-Old West and being massacred by vampires. Can we please save Bettany from trash like this?
And then there’s The Green Hornet. Sony is sandwiching Seth Rogen’s baby in between two much-less-buzzed-about films, probably hoping to diffuse the controversy around Hornet, which Sony is rumored to not be confident in. At all. The late development with The Avengers has taken some of the heat off of Hornet, but interest is still very high. This is a straight up fanboy fantasy, Rogen being the ultimate fanboy who gets to bring his favorite comic book character to life. The trailer doesn’t look awful, but I’m worried for Hornet. Sony pushed it to early 2011 so they could retrofit Michael Gondry’s cut for 3D. The Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans have shown us that these slapdash 3D retrofits never do anyone any favors, and rumors of Sony’s displeasure continue to swirl, as do doubts over Rogen’s ability to carry an action movie, even if it is being billed as an “action-comedy”. One hates to bet against Gondry and Rogen, though, so don’t. Bet on being favorably surprised instead.
Other interesting panels:
“State of the Animation Industry”
There is no one from Pixar on this panel. So the state of animation is: Pixar and everyone else.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Surefire crowd pleaser with all the show’s stars on a panel being moderated by Wil Wheaton. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll get why that’s cool. If you’re not, move along.
“SHIFTing Gears with Tim Kring and Zachary Quinto”
I only mention this because I know many of you quiver for Quinto, and he is participating in what is being billed as an “intimate” Q&A with Heroes creator Kring.
“Spotlight on Stan Lee”
It’s STAN LEE. He’s the creator of many of the most indelible comic book characters ever. Marvel IS Stan Lee. Bow before the master.
“The Joss Whedon Experience”
This is Whedon’s annual panel where he talks about what he’s working on (this year, his talk should be Avengers heavy). Whatever Whedon is talking about now, everyone else will be doing in three years. It’s like a look into the future.
“Entertainment Weekly presents Women Who Kick Ass: A new generation of heroine”
I’m all for the new trend to ass-kicking girls in movies and TV lately. EW is presenting a panel featuring some of these new leadings ladies, Sucker Punch’s Jena Malone and Scott Pilgrim’s Ellen Wony and Mary Elizabeth Winstead included. However, Hit Girl herself, Chloe Grace Moretz, has been dropped from the panel. Boo.
True Blood (HBO)
The only cast members not on this panel are Evan Rachel Wood and Ryan Kwanten. Everyone else will be there, plus Alan Ball and Charlaine Harris. More real life couple spotting: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer. I bet they do sit next to each other. And I am prepared to hate Moyer’s hair. Lainey is preparing for sightings of Kate Bosworth clinging to Alex Skarsgard.
“TV Guide Magazine: The 2010 Hot List”
The who’s who in genre television stars, mostly worth it just because of Chuck’s Zachary Levi. Don’t know who he is? One, WATCH CHUCK. Two, everyone loves Zach Levi. Comic Con is big business and this guy is waiting to break out in movies. Get to know Zach Levi. He will be everywhere.
The Green Lantern, Sucker Punch & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Warner Brothers)
Warner Brothers has arguably the biggest panel of the whole weekend. Sure everyone wants to see the lineup for The Avengers, but there will be a clip from Deathly Hallows and WB is keeping the list of panel participants very hush-hush, which usually means big stars. In fact, everything about the Deathly Hallows panel is a mystery, so I’m kind of expecting a real dragon at this point. At the very least, I’m hoping for the Holy Trinity, Snape, Dumbledore, and McGonagall.
As for the others, The Green Lantern is battling for the Greenest Award against The Green Hornet, and people are very curious about Ryan Reynolds’ all-CGI superhero suit, so this panel is also generating a lot of buzz. The Green Lantern is hardcore sci-fi stuff, and as such, I have little interest in it since I have, you know, ovaries. Sucker Punch is being presented by another perennial Comic Con favorite, Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen). There’s no panel list, but star Jena Malone is already on hand, so it’s safe to assume she’ll be there, and let’s hope Jon Hamm has another reason to be in Hall H on Saturday…
Let Me In (Overture Films)
The totally unnecessary remake of an excellent Swedish vampire flick, Let Me In is being presented by its director, Matt Reeves (Cloverfield). Chloe Grace Moretz stars, but since she’s already been dropped from an ancillary panel, I wonder if she’ll be in Hall H at all. I am wholly unexcited for this movie. Just rent the original Let The Right One In.
Paul & Cowboys and Aliens (Universal Pictures)
Jon Favreau is on hand to present his current project, which is still in production, Cowboys & Aliens. No mention if stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford will be attending, but given the shyness of one and the crankiness of the other, I doubt it. Have you ever seen Dinner for Five? Favreau is a great moderator. Too bad he doesn’t have a panel to moderate. Paul is the ultimate Comic Con meta-moment, a movie about a trip to Comic Con resulting in a UFO adventure, starring fanboy favorites Seth Rogen, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg and directed by Greg Mottola (Adventureland). Everyone is on hand for the panel, as well as Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Sigourney Weaver. Sure to be a hit with the crowd.
Thor & Captain America: The First Avenger (Marvel Studios)
The last panel in Hall H is the one that has also become the most interesting. Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige will be talking up next summer’s superhero movies. There will also be “special guests”, which will be The Avengers cast. This panel has become a lot more interesting since they’re searching for a new Bruce Banner/Hulk.
Other interesting panels:
Don’t miss this panel. Last year, everyone left Comic Con talking about Chuck’s amazing panel. If it’s at all possible to go (it’s at 10 AM), GO. This is a bubble show that is routinely saved by the very same fans who attend Comic Con, and everyone involved with Chuck knows it. They treat their panel like a big love-in, giving back to their fans—last year there was a live Jeffster performance—and generally being everything good about the star/fan relationship. Also, Zachary Levi won’t always be this accessible. See him while he’s still approachable.
“Reading with brains: the rise and unrelenting stamina of zombie fiction”
We are woefully unprepared for the rise of the living dead. Zombie experts Max Brooks (World War Z) and Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) are on the panel, along with many others, and Max Brooks is also giving a zombie survival talk at the Avatar Press panel later in the day. I’m serious. Zombies are no joke.
This underappreciated sitcom is bringing the entire principal cast (Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover). This panel will be a riot. Community lives and dies by the comic chemistry of its ensemble, and the chance to see it in person shouldn’t be missed.
Sunday -- Kids Day
There are no Hall H presentations on Sunday.
Other interesting panels:
Do you know who Nathan Fillion is? No? He’s a rockstar at Comic Con. This panel will be PACKED.
“The women of Marvel”
The comic book industry is widely perceived as being nothing but geeky guys, but Marvel is using a panel to highlight the women who contribute to their company, from writers and artists to editors and executives. I support anything that encourages girls and women to pursue their interests, especially in a male-dominated field.
Though Fox is having a panel, none of the topline stars are attending. That’s fine with me, because if you’re like me, you get more out of Kurt (Chris Colfer) and dim-bulb cheerleader Brittany (Heather Morris) than anyone else on the show. Both Colfer and Morris will be on the panel, as well as Kevin McHale (Artie), another of my under-used favorites from the show.
Sons of Anarchy & It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
I have never gotten into Anarchy or Philadelphia, but Philadelphia producer Danny DeVito will be on that panel; he was big hit last year. Totally worth it just for him.
Buffy the Musical
Sing-a-long to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode “Once More With Feeling”. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show, except a Buffy episode and everyone dressed like Spike and Willow. At least they’re closing Comic Con with something the people who have spent so much money over the last four days will really enjoy. There’s something to be said for knowing your audience.
Every year Comic Con finds a way to get even bigger than the year before. 2010 is no exception, with Harry Potter making its first convention appearance, the Battle of the Greens (Hornet and Lantern), and The Avengers cast announcement expected. It’s shaping up to be an excellent four days in San Diego and I can’t wait for the smutty goodness to go down.
We’ll discuss Comic-Con during the Live Blog later today!
Written by Sarah