Comic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)
Of course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.
10 AM – Ballroom 20
Four years after the 24 series ended, Jack Bauer was back this spring with the limited event series 24: Live Another Day on Fox. Now Kiefer Sutherland is returning to Comic-Con with one of the first panels of the 2014 confab to talk about the old series, the just-finished 24: Live Another Day and the upcoming home entertainment release of the limited event series with executive producer/director Jon Cassar. However, with exec producer Howard Gordon in town for a panel on his new TNT series,Legends and a sneak peek at the featurette Worlds Collide on the offering, don’t be shocked if there are some surprises in store from the Con-beloved show.
Penguins Of Madagascar – AKA The Benedict Of Cumberbatch
11:30 AM – Hall H
DreamWorks’ Thursday panel isn’t just the first event of the day in Comic-Con’s massive main venue. It also marks Brit actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s virgin trip to the convention. Cue the deafening screams of thousands of Hall H-ers. Cumberbatch, who’s got a huge geek fan following (Google “Sherlock slashfic” if you dare) will be officially appearing to pimp November’s Penguins Of Madagascar with co-stars John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, and the animated sequel’s directors Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell. Fans of his sleuthing BBC/PBS series, though, will be waiting with baited breath for any mention of Sherlock, Watson, or the word “shipping” (Google that, too).
George R.R. Martin Discusses In The House Of The Worm
4 PM – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
As the title says, the panel is meant to be about Martin’s new comic series, but the loquacious author of the novels on which Game Of Thrones is based almost never doesn’t respond to a question. GoT’s panel with a swath of cast members is scheduled for 1:40 on Friday, but Martin’s appearance today could make a very strong companion.
Mike Tyson Mysteries
2:30 PM – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
The former heavyweight champ is the perfect example of just how wrong F. Scott Fitzgerald was when he said there were no second acts in American life. And to truly TKO that point, Tyson is at Comic-Con talking about his upcoming Adult Swim animated comedy series that sees the man once known as Iron Mike sleuthing around. Tyson will be there in person along with Rachel Ramras, Community’s Jim Rash and producer Hugh Davidson to give fans a first look at the show.
3 PM – Hall H
It’s crazy to think that after all those Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe has never been to Comic-Con. That changes today as the actor joins Horns co-star Juno Temple, director Alexandre Aja and novelist Joe Hill, who wrote the book on which the paranormal pic is based. Expect the place to go nuts when Radcliffe walks out for the Radius-TWC panel. Also expect the premiere of a new trailer for Horn ahead of its October 31 premiere, Salma Hayek and her Everly movie, and more Radius-TWC announcements.
The Maze Runner
4:20 PM – Hall H
20th Century Fox hits Hall H with its upcoming sci-fier adapted from James Dashner’s 2009 novel, and with no Hunger Games or Divergent sequels doing panels this year, Fox is looking to suck up all the YA blockbuster buzz here. Stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Will Poulter — along with Dashner and director Wes Ball — will be on hand to introduce the September 19 release to audiences.
Book Of Life
4:20 PM – Hall H
Fox’s panel for the anticipated animation Book Of Life brings geek-pop powerhouse producer Guillermo del Toro to Hall H along with 22 Jump Street‘s Channing Tatum, frequent geek fave Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, and writer-director Jorge Gutierrez. Del Toro also treated Preview Night press to a preview of his pic Crimson Peak, which has its own panel Saturday, and he will stay through Sunday to promote his FX series The Strain.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
4:20 PM – Hall H
Yes, we’re talking a lot of Fox here but this baby from Matthew Vaughn is Comic-Con from birth to big screen culmination. The Kingsman: The Secret Service, pic is based on the 2012 UK spy comic series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The much buzzed about movie reunites the Kick-Ass team in many ways, which came from a Miller comic and was adapted by Vaughn and Jane Goldman with MV directing. Plus let’s be honest, it has Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong and Michael Caine among its cast and the first two are going to be there in the flesh, say no more.
SATURDAY – JULY 26
Warner Bros: The Hobbit, Jupiter Ascending, Mad Max
10 AM – Hall H
Warners kicks off the day with a two-block panel sure to have fans lining up overnight. On the docket is the final installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, plus Andy and Lana Wachowski’s delayed Jupiter Ascending and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. All three will be exercises in delayed gratification for attending superfans, who’ve had to endure delays or just plain looooong waits to see the anticipated sci-fi/fantasy tentpoles. Mad Max, which has been test-screening around Hollywood, should have considerable footage at the ready despite its May 2015 release date.
Spotlight On Jim Steranko
1 PM – Room 9
There are lots of spotlights each year here on lots of comic legends, but few come with the sheer disruption and poignant legacy of Steranko. For one thing, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was dedicated to him. For another, his wildly innovative artwork and storytelling starting with the Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. series in the 1960s was truly the start of what we call today the graphic novel. He also was the one behind the look of Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The Will Eisner Comic Book Hall Of Famer is a true raconteur, which means you should be there to hear the real story of the Silver Age.
Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
2:50 PM – Hall H
Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller and cast members return nearly a decade to the day when they first introduced the original Sin City pic with a teaser for the Hall H crowd.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
5:30 PM – Hall H
This is the biggie this year at Comic-Con: The Marvel film panel. So far Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is the only guest officially announced, but Ant-Man and director Peyton Reed are expected to make a showing. That’ll be one of the evening’s curiosities, particularly in light of original helmer Edgar Wright’s very public exit from the project. Marvel could have waited a day to announce a third feature will be released in 2018, bumping its 2017-2019 slate considerably. Marvel’s also expected to make its upcoming Doctor Strange lineup official, following director Scott Derrickson’s Twitter announcement in June.
American Horror Story: Coven
7 PM – Room 6DE
You’d think AHS would be a Comic-Con vet but in fact this is its first time here. While executive producer Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange aren’t scheduled to be there, the Emmy nomination FX miniseries is bringing out some of its brightest stars with Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Michael Chiklis and Sarah Paulson among those on the panel joining EP Tim Minear. They will be revealing a look at the upcoming AHS: Freak Show.
The Annual Jack Kirby Tribune Panel
10 AM – Room 5AB
The comic legend was Comic-Con’s first big-name guest many years ago and the confab remembers the now-deceased co-creator of Captain America, The X-Men, Fantastic Four and many more every year in homage. This year’s Jack Kirby Tribute finds the heirs of the King Of Comics in the midst of a petition to the Supreme Court for a hearing to get back certain rights from Marvel and Disney. Bet they talk about that.
Sons Of Anarchy
12:30 PM – Hall H
For years Kurt Sutter’s FX biker drama has essentially closed out Comic-Con — usually with a choice word or two from its creator. This year, SOA isn’t the last act of the last day, but it will likely be the show’s last run here with the final season set to start in September. Expect this visit by Sutter, executive producer Paris Barclay and stars Charlie Hunnam, Katey Segal, Jimmy Smits and more to be explosive and heartfelt to say the least. And maybe, just maybe, there might be more info on where that prequel is at.
2:15 PM – 6BCF
Ostensibly Quentin Tarantino is joining Dynamite Entertainment’s 10th Anniversary panel to discuss the comic book sequel to his 2012 pic Django Unchained, but with the Oscar winner no topic is off limits. Which means QT could bring up his shelved, live performed, maybe not shelved The Hateful Eight and what exactly is going on with it. Tarantino will be appearing with his Django comic co-plotter Matt Wagner as well as producer/comic co-editor Reginald Hudlin, Dynamite CEO and publisher Nick Barrucci and Dynamite senior editor Joseph Rybandt.