Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his preview:
THURSDAY, JULY 24th
Masters of the Web, 10 a.m., Room 32 AB
Webmasters from all those geek movie sites you read get together for a panel discussion moderated, oddly enough, by CRANK co-directors Neveldine and Taylor (They have first names, but no longer use them). See if talk-backers have the balls to talks crap to the likes of Brad Miska, Garth Franklin, “Quint,” and Devin Faraci face to face! (Answer: Probably. These guys aren’t all that intimidating. Now, if we could get Nikki on there, that’d be another story!).
Stan Lee and Grant Morrison, 10:45 a.m., Ballroom 20.
The founder of Marvel comics and one of today’s most acclaimed writers – fans are sure to have lots of questions. Too bad these heavyweights are here mainly to pimp Virgin Comics, which nobody really cares about.
G.I. Joe, 11:30 a.m., Room 7AB
Since Paramount is giving the Con a miss altogether this year, it’s up to Hasbro to promote the upcoming G.I. JOE: RISE OF COBRA movie as part of a panel that will also reveal new action figures and toys (most of which, if history is any indication, will be re-painted vehicles from the ’80s). Hasbro’s design team are the only advertised guests, but some surprise are expected, possibly including some of the movie cast. (I wouldn’t expect Dennis Quaid, though.)
20th Century Fox, 11:30 a.m., Hall H
Curiously, nothing about the new live-action anime adaptation DRAGONBALL has been announced. But we will get panels for the sci-fi remake THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, with Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly; and the video-game adaptation MAX PAYNE, with Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Ludacris in attendance. Neither one strikes me as particularly exciting, but hey, maybe there’ll be surprises.
Doctor Who, 12 p.m., Ballroom 20.
Writers Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffatt show some exclusive clips and take fan questions about television’s timeless Time Lord. Will the Doctor’s new companion be a reprogrammed Cyberman? If you know what that even means, this is a panel not to be missed.
The Greatest American Hero, 12:30 p.m., Room 7AB
“Believe it or not, William Katt’s still around, you never thought he could be still he-ee-ere…” Yep, TV’s original subversive superhero is in the house, to promote a new line of comic books starring his hapless alter-ego.
Activision with Stan Lee, 1 p.m., Room 6A
Stan Lee again, this time talking video games. At least at this panel you don’t have to pretend to be interested in Virgin Comics.
Torchwood, 1 p.m., Ballroom 20
A panel for the Doctor Who spin-off features Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffatt again, but for this one they’ll also have some actual cast members with them.
Summit Pictures, 1:15 p.m., Hall H
Paul McGuigan’s PUSH deals with a team of American psychics in Hong Kong trying to escape from a clandestine government agency. Blah, blah, blah, but Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, and Djimon Hounsou will be there to try to sell us on it. Alex Proyas has a lot of goodwill with this crowd due to THE CROW and DARK CITY; I, ROBOT is a tad more iffy. But he’ll be here to talk about his latest movie, KNOWING, about a time capsule that contains prophecies that either came true or are just about to. Lifelong comic fan Nicolas Cage stars, but he’s not expected to show up. But the main event of the panel is TWILIGHT; if you’re a teenage girl, no doubt you’re already a fan of this series of vampire novels. I’m not, and am not…but guys, if you want to find your best shot at meeting single goth chicks, this is it. Director Catherine Hardwicke (THIRTEEN) will present, alongside stars Kristen Stewart (PANIC ROOM, ZATHURA) and a bunch of other young actors I’ve never heard of.
Red Sonja, 2 p.m., Room 6CDEF
It won’t start filming till October, but Robert Rodriguez and main squeeze Rose McGowan are starting the promotion early (and indirectly shaming J.J. Abrams – tell us again how STAR TREK “isn’t ready yet”?) by discussing their newest sword and sorcery project based on the writings of Conan creator Robert E. Howard. I was hoping they’d remake BARBARELLA first, but what the hell – remaking a Brigitte Nielsen vehicle can’t possibly be a bad thing, can it? Rodriguez is only producing; HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME helmer Doug Aarniokoski is the director, which doesn’t inspire confidence.
Anchor Bay, 2:15 p.m., Ballroom 20
The premiere horror DVD distributor promotes upcoming releases with the likes of HEATHERS/BATMAN RETURNS screenwriter Daniel Waters, Oscar-nominated A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE scribe Josh Olson, and horror icon Robert “Freddy” Englund.
Wizard’s First Rule, 3 p.m., Room 6B
Hercules and Xena producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert present their latest fantasy series, based on the books by Terry Goodkind. Here’s hoping the CGI has improved.
Race to Witch Mountain, 3 p.m., Hall H
Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino, faves with this crowd for winning WWE wrestling championships and getting naked in SIN CITY, respectively, will be onhand to tell us about Disney’s latest big-budget remake. A warning: Johnson has a track record of attending highly entertaining Comic-Con panels for movies that turned out to be really “meh” – specifically DOOM and GET SMART, the former being one that even he now disowns.
Afro Samurai, 4:15 p.m., room 6B
There is a muthafuckin’ afro on this muthafuckin’ samurai! Samuel L. Jackson makes his first appearance of the week to offer a sneak peek at the new season of his superhero cartoon. Alongside Sam the Man will be composer The RZA, and original Afro Samurai creator Takahashi Okazaki. You’ll also get a first look at the tie-in video game. Ever wanted to actually be Sam Jackson? Now you can, sort of.
Scream Like A Girl, 4:45 p.m., Ballroom 20
In the first of his many appearances this weekend, Kevin Smith moderates an otherwise all-female panel of actresses, producers, artists, and directors in the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy fields. No word of who these women actually are as of yet.
Dark Castle, 5:30 p.m., Hall H
Joel Silver’s horror label that has mostly produced total crap (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, GHOST SHIP, THE REAPING) presents its newest projects, with 300 star Gerard Butler and Brit-crime-spoof/ex-Mister Madonna director Guy Ritchie onhand to present their new crime thriller ROCKNROLLA. After that, Korean pop star and Stephen Colbert nemesis Rain will offer a first look at the Wachowski brothers-produced NINJA ASSASSIN, a martial arts epic directed by V FOR VENDETTA‘s James McTeigue. WHITEOUT, starring Kate Beckinsale, was already given a big rollout last year, but Joel Silver will likely remind you that it’s still coming soon.
DC Nation, 6 p.m., Room 6A
Got a question for DC Comics president Dan Didio? Ask it here.
Bill Plympton, 6 p.m., Room 7 AB
The acclaimed animator will screen the first 20 minutes of his newest independent feature, IDIOTS AND ANGELS. As one of the few who saw his MUTANT ALIENS theatrically, I recommend paying attention.
Lionsgate, 8 p.m., Room 6B
In recent years, there have been more and more evening panels, but this may be the first time that a major movie panel has happened “after hours.” First up is a look at the third cinematic adaptation of THE PUNISHER, this time starring ROME‘s Ray Stevenson, who succeeds Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren. Next, director David Hackl and star Tobin Bell will continue the tradition of previewing the latest SAW sequel. Finally, Darren Lynn Bousman will give a look at his oddball horror-musical REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, with a possible appearance from costar Paris Hilton.
Lost Boys II: The Tribe, 10 p.m., Ballroom 20
It’ll be coming out direct-to-DVD a few days later, but if you can’t wait for the sequel to Joel Schumacher’s youth-vampire cult hit, see it now. Both Coreys return as the vampire-hunting Frog brothers; Kiefer Sutherland’s character may have died, but his brother Angus shows up in this one. Corey Feldman will be in attendance to take your questions.