Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage. This year’s event runs July 12-15.
Jodie Foster at Comic-Con? Absolutely believe it. She and Matt Damon will be part of a panel that day for Elysium, Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9, which launched its initial ad campaign at Comic-Con (“this restroom is for humans only”) a year before actually showing footage there that really hyped things up. This is the biggest unknown quantity announced so far, the “we didn’t even know to be excited about it yet” item that could end up being the big-buzz item a la 300 (or, ahem, Sucker Punch). This news emerged today as Comic-Con continued its day-by-day rollout of what’s in store this year, releasing its schedule for Friday July 13. Elysium is surrounded on the Sony panel by Total Recall (they gave that a big push last year, and movies about to open seem less interesting to Con-goers) and Looper, which got a great reaction at Wondercon. Screen Gems’ latest Resident Evil sequel, which shared space with Looper and The Amazing Spider-Man at Wondercon, gets a panel all to itself, featuring all the usual regulars from the movies plus Michelle Rodriguez, somehow returning despite being killed in the first film.
The Friday schedule primarily illustrates the tension between TV and movies that has become increasingly apparent at Comic-Con and in fanboys’ hearts. For the past few years, the major TV panels were held upstairs in Ballroom 20, with movies all in Hall H. Last year, TV took over Hall H on Sunday, a day the space traditionally had gone unused. This year, Friday has both movie and TV panels, with The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones invading the prime real estate. Sunday apparently has Doctor Who still. Could we see movies relegated upstairs in future years if this trend continues?
The other big movie panel in Hall H on Friday is the 3D stop-motion film ParaNorman, which we can only hope is as much fun as Coraline. Certainly it appears to be trading on that movie’s style and acclaim with fans, though we’ll see how much of that was the Neil Gaiman name attached.
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph actually gets a second panel in addition to Thursday’s, this one in the smaller room 6DE and featuring the artists and writers. In other interesting possible duplication news, there’s a panel upstairs celebrating Judge Dredd’s 35th anniversary in comics that will feature concept art from the new movie. While a Lionsgate film, it has not been announced as part of that studio’s Thursday Expendables 2 panel, because there’s that whole issue of Stallone having played Dredd in a previous movie that’s generally derided nowadays. They’d be crazy not to show new Dredd footage somewhere, but possibly crazier to remind attendees of the Stallone movie they don’t like in front of the man himself.
Joss Whedon in previous years would have mostly drawn rabid Buffy and Firefly cultists, but as the director of The Avengers he’ll fill Ballroom 20 for sure. And in Friday’s biggest WTF moment, Peter Cullen, voice of Optimus Prime in most Transformers iterations including the movies, will be interviewed by none other than Larry King. Yes really, Larry King, who despite having no prior connection to Comic-Con it turns out was available and cheap. The original choice, Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton was asking $70,000, according to the New York Times. In Room 23 ABC, which is to say three rooms with their partitions removed.