While fans were allowed to ask questions to the string of talent from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, The Maze Runner and DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2 at 20th Century Fox’s WonderCon panel, the one creative talent not fielding questions from the crowd was X-Men: Days Of Future Past writer and producer Simon Kinberg. While a “no questions” policy wasn’t blatantly announced, Fox gracefully saved its X-Men presentation for the final portion of its nearly two-hour panel. And it was brief next to the half-hour-plus devoted to Planet Of The Apes. Kinberg stepped in at the last minute after the studio pulled Bryan Singer in the wake of the director being slammed with a sexual abuse civil lawsuit. Kinberg promised the crowd that he had footage that was never seen before, but that wasn’t the case: He showed the same clip that was on the MTV Movie Awards last weekend with the young X-Men including Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Iceman fighting a rather large latex figure who absorbs their powers. When Singer’s name appeared onscreen in the trailer that was shown at WonderCon today, the crowd was unfazed.
What Fox did test before the crowd with solid results, earning applause and laughs, was a clip from Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming October comic book adaptation The Secret Service. In the sequence, Colin Firth’s character, the head of a rogue spy org, tries to recruit a young lad in a British pub and winds up singlehandedly beating up a gang at the bar with his umbrella — a total homage to John Steed in the ’60s TV series The Avengers.
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The studio offered up the trailer to its September 19 release The Maze Runner based on James Dashner’s bestseller, including a gripping chase scene with actor Dylan O’Brien running through a closing wall-maze and slipping through cracks to avoid becoming a pancake. Dashner, who was present along with director Wes Ball and actors O’Brien and Will Poulter, gave full props to his inspirations for the story of boys marooned on a maze-ridden island: Lord Of The Flies, Lost and Ender’s Game.
Fox made sure that the headliners from its summer/fall slate showed up at its WonderCon panel including Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes), Jay Baruchel (How To Train Your Dragon 2) as well as O’Brien and Poulter (The Maze Runner). Deep discussions about apes, dragons and mazes abounded, topped off with an extra shrill from the girls in the crowd for Maze Runner thesp (and Teen Wolf actor) O’Brien.