This year’s Comic-Con is off to a sad start as a Twilight fan who was camping outside of Hall H was struck by a car and killed on Tuesday morning. That’s not the note on which you want to start the annual celebration of nerdery. It’s sure to put a damper on the Twilight panel being held on Thursday.

As per usual, I’m focusing on the industry events in Hall H and Ballroom 20.

PS: There are like nine events a day revolving around Joss Whedon and his work. He’s King of the Con before it even starts.

PPS: Warner Brothers is staging an outdoor exhibit of six Batmobiles, including the newest model from The Dark Knight Rises, outside Hall H. The last couple years have seen a sharp rise in studio stunts during the convention to promote upcoming films. I’m half-fascinated, half-frightened of where this trend will go in future. I mean, how do you top fifty years’ worth of Batmobiles? Fly in Robert Downey Jr. in an actual Iron Man suit? (OMG that would be AWESOME.)


Finally figuring out how to handle the toxic mix of Twihards and comic geeks, the convention organizers scheduled Twilight first on Thursday in Hall H at 12:45pm. There will be footage from Breaking Dawn Part 2 and a “cast and filmmaker” Q&A. They’re being cute sitting on the panel roster but come on. It’s the last year for what’s been a very successful franchise. Everyone is showing up for this one.

Next up at 2:05pm is the Disney panel, featuring Tim Burton presenting Frankenweenie, Sam Raimi and The Great and Powerful Oz and the cast of Wreck It Ralph, which looks awesome. I’m most stoked for Ralph, which is like an 80’s baby’s dream movie. And it should be an entertaining panel with John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and director Rich Moore (alumnus of Futurama). I’m really curious to see how Silverman handles the Comic Con stage, especially when on Disney’s leash. I’m kind of hoping for a train wreck. Is that mean?

Hall H wraps up with The Expendables 2, which I can’t even talk about. The panel, to include Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, should be similarly unintelligible.

The best of Ballroom 20 on Thursday are the panels for the CBS US adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, with stars Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, and the Dexter panel closing out the day. Dexter is going to tease season 2 of Homeland, too. I’m curious to see the Sherlock footage. I’m not super stoked for that show, but I do really, really love Lucy Liu. I want it to be good for her sake.

Other fun Thursday happenings: The “Indigo Ballroom” at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is hosting panels for Wilfred and Archer, two shows I adore, and you should, too. Do you watch Wilfred? It’s so weird and dark and terrific. And at 8:30pm, Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog Sing Along is having its annual screening. If you haven’t seen Dr. Horrible, DO (last I saw, it was on Netflix Instant). And if you’re at Comic-Con now or ever, that event is worth doing at least once. It’s really fun.


Friday is a big day for TV. Ballroom 20 kicks off with Community at 10 AM, and that won’t be awkward at all, after series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon’s sacking just a couple months ago. At 12:30 Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity cast reunites for their 10 year anniversary—that panel will be NUTS. That’s a passionate fan base to begin with and this year Whedon arrives as a conquering hero, so I’m kind of expecting pandemonium. At 3 PM, the CW is going to try and keep a straight face as they hype their new superhero show Arrow (basically, DC’s answer to Hawkeye), which is f*cking ridiculous but that network kept Smallville going for ten seasons longer than necessary, so I guess I’m not surprised. And the day ends at 6:45 with Breaking Bad, which is always a good panel, with the principal cast in attendance.

Meanwhile over in Hall H, the panels start with the animated ParaNorman, and then go TV with Big Bang Theory (gross). After Theory, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones will hold their panels in the big room, too. The lines for those two panels in Ballroom 20 last year were like, ninth circle of hell territory, and they should have no problem filling Hall H. The film industry has overtaken Comic Con over the last 10 years, but film panels can be wildly erratic in quality and interest, while the TV panels deliver consistently every year. It’s about f*cking time the biggest TV panels were put in Hall H.

Hall H switches back to film for a half hour panel for Resident Evil: Who Is Still Watching This Crap, but it’s Sony’s two hour block featuring Total Recall, Looper and Elysium. Bryan Cranston is doing double duty on Friday, going from Breaking Bad to Total Recall, and Colin Farrell will also be on hand—Lainey, you’re missing him! Looper is one of the more intriguing movies being presented—it’s a high concept time travel/hit man story starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis. Director Rian Johnson is an interesting filmmaker (have you seen Brick?), and Looper has been exciting the sci-fi fans all year. Johnson, JGL and Blunt will be on the panel. Meanwhile, Elysium may be the weirdest panel of the long weekend, since Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller will bring Matt Damon and JODIE FOSTER to Comic Con.


What is this crazy world?


If Friday is all about TV, Saturday is when all the major movie stuff is going down. Hall H opens at 12:45pm with Open Road Films’ presentations of End of Watch and Silent Hill: Revelations 3D. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena will be on hand for End of Watch panel, which may be the second weirdest line up, behind JODIE FOSTER. At 2:30pm Warner Brothers is staging a monster set of panels with Guillermo del Toro’s long-awaited Pacific Rim, the Superman reboot Man of Steel, and, in what is sure to be pure geek chaos, The Hobbit. The Hobbit is easily going to be one of the biggest, craziest panels of the convention. Peter Jackson is expected (geek cage match: Jackson v. Whedon!), and I’m thinking that Hobbit panel will be a straight-up show, not unlike…

Iron Man 3. It closes out the slate of panels on Saturday at 6 PM and Marvel is keeping a lid on what, exactly, they’ll be doing. The film is in production now, though, so maybe some footage? A lot of folks are also expecting some confirmations regarding upcoming Avengers-adjacent properties like Guardians of the Galaxy (totally happening, probably in 2014) and any combination of Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and/or Black Panther. At any rate, RDJ will likely be on hand, since Iron Man 3 is looking like his solo swan song as Tony Stark. There’s a very quiet discussion starting up about how to transition RDJ out of the role in the next five years or so, and to whom he’ll pass the Suit. This is his, well, Stark Expo, if you will. Should be a good show.

Oh yeah, Kevin Smith is going to run his mouth for a minimum two hours in Hall H Saturday night.


There are no movie panels on Sunday, as is usual, but Sunday has some more big draw TV shows in Hall H, including Dr. Who, Supernatural and Sons of Anarchy. At 2 PM in room 7AB, Max Brooks is giving his annual zombie survival course which if you have any hope of surviving the inevitable rise of the dead, you should really think about attending. Also, someone ask him about the clusterf*ck movie they’re re-shooting. Maybe we can measure the precise amount of heartbreak in his eyes.

Comic-Con closes as it always does, with a sing-along of Buffy episode “Once More with Feeling”. Like the Dr. Horrible sing-along, it’s always a good time.

With TV moving into Hall H and some monster film properties vying for fan interest, 2012 should be an exciting year for dorks and even non-dorks.