Whether you're braving San Diego or following all the action from home, here are the events that no movie-loving geek should miss.
The Truth About ‘The Hobbit’ by TheOneRing.net
10:15am – Room 6DE
Big movie coming. Looking for Hobbit scoop that doesn’t filter down through Hollywood’s corporate fingers? TheOneRing.net presents this hour-long look at the production from the sidelines, filled with Q&A, on-set visits, and loads more. Bonus: Weta Workshop will be on hand for a special visual presentation.
Disney presents Frankenweenie, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Wreck-It Ralph
2:05pm – Hall H
Tim Burton will talk his new animated film Frankenweenie, Sam Raimi will premiere the first footage from Oz the Great and Powerful, and the cast and director will show off the highly-anticipated Wreck-It Ralph (stars John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman should keep things interesting, to put it mildly). Expect a packed house for this one, though there’s sure to be a mass exodus immediately prior, when the Twihards give Hall H back to the rest of us. Sadly, there’s nothing from Pixar slated for Comic-Con this year — but Monsters University could show up and surprise the crowd, anyway. (Studios know the best way to create buzz is to surprise attendees at Comic-Con.)
3:05pm – Hilton Bayfront: Indigo Ballroom
If you don’t know the name Genndy Tartakovsky, then deduct 20 points from your geek cred score. Maybe you’ll recognize these names instead: Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Sym-Biotic Titan. Or how about the original Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon — you know, those hand-drawn shorts that were done before Lucas decided to make a CGI series? Tartakovsky created them all, and this year he’s making his directorial debut with Hotel Transylvania, a comedy about a resort owned and operated by Dracula, where the world’s most famous monsters like Frankenstein’s monster and the Mummy are free to be themselves.
Jackie Chan’s CZ12 (Chinese Zodiac)
3:25pm – Hall H
Jackie Chan is 58 years old, and he’s decided it’s time for his last action movie. Later this year, he’s releasing CZ12 (aka, Chinese Zodiac), which Chan stars in and directed himself. For the last time, he’s reprising his character Asian Hawk (from Armour of God and Operation: Condor) on a quest to collect 12 ancient artifacts themed around the Chinese Zodiac animals. It sounds for all the world like a proper classic action/adventure, instead of Chan’s usual action/comedy hybrid. (Then again, Kenny G is listed among the film’s cast, so…) Regardless, Chan’s energy and enthusiasm are always entertaining, and his impending retirement gives this one special value.
The Expendables 2
4:45pm – Hall H
Who cares about the movie — Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean CLaude Van Damme are going to share a single stage at Comic-Con! Some of action cinema’s biggest names are appearing at the Con for the very first time, and the fact that they’re doing it together makes this one a must-see. And who knows: Stallone could even surprise the crowd with more of the film’s legendary cast.
10:45am – Hall H
Laika’s latest film — produced entirely in stop-motion animation — boasts an impressive cast. The whole group will be on stage in Hall H to discuss this promising-looking horror/comedy mashup.
Industrial Light & Magic: From Imagination to Screen
1:00pm – Room 7AB
Students of visual effects cinema: don’t you dare miss this one. ILM’s art department is considered the best in the world at what they do. Art directors from films such as The Avengers, Pacific Rim, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel, and more, will be on stage to dish about their company’s 35-year history, including the legacy of Ralph McQuarrie.
Wreck-It Ralph: The Art of Story
3:00pm – Room 6DE
An animated film’s story and script are rarely the work of a single individual. Most of the time, the plot, characters, and dialogue are the product of an entire department of story artists, who ensure that every beat passes muster and is the very best it can possibly be. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about how this process works, seven of Walt Disney Animation’s story artists will tell you everything you need to know, while explaining the art of story in Wreck-It Ralph.
Sony presents Total Recall, Looper, and Elysium
4:35pm – Hall H
Serious science fiction fans: all hands on deck! Three of the biggest upcoming scifi films are sharing one killer panel in Hall H, and it sounds terrific. Director Len Wiseman will present Total Recall alongside big-name stars (and Comic-Con favorites) Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. Next up, time travel thriller Looper has got huge underground buzz. So expect big reactions to footage and cast members Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, who’ll be joined by writer/director Rian Johnson. Finally, the panel’s grand finale will feature the first real publicity push from a film that’s been kept under a huge top secret shroud: Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. Blomkamp was a major Comic-Con winner a few years back with his debut flick District 9, a movie that garnered enough critical acclaim to attract A-list stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster for Blomkamp’s follow-up. The director and stars will talk up the movie and premiere the first footage ever from the movie (drool!).
10:00am – Room 6A
It may not be getting a big-name headliner event in Hall H, but After Earth still sounds pretty cool to me. Director M. Night Shyamalan (yeah, his last few films sucked, but I believe he’s still got some good movies in him) and stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith are sitting out this Comic-Con, but the film’s screenwriter and director of photography will talk up this fascinating story of an estranged father and son trapped on a post-apocalyptic Earth. No idea if any footage from the movie will be shown, but filming has ended, so it’s possible. After Earth is more than a movie, though; it’s an entire universe, with a comic book and prequel novel also in production. The creators of these supplemental materials will also be on hand.
11:30am – Hall H
Quentin Tarantino at Comic-Con. What more do you need to know? Okay, how about this: the cast of Django Unchained — the story of a freed slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a vicious plantation owner, and if the fantastic trailer is any indication, Tarantino’s brought his A-game to this one — will be there, too. Nobody’s saying which cast members will be included, but I’d count on appearances by Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, at the very least. Maybe Tarantino will even convince Leonardo DiCaprio (who stars as the film’s deliciously wicked villain) to make his first-ever Comic-Con appearance.
Warner Bros. & Legendary Pictures
2:30pm – Hall H
If Comic-Con 2012 had a headlining event, this would be it. The number one, unquestionable, you-must-not-miss event at Comic-Con is this two-and-a-half hour mega panel, guaranteed. First, director Guillermo del Toro will bring the first-ever footage from his epic science fiction adventure, Pacific Rim. It’s about a future where giant creatures rise from the seas and decimate mankind, forcing the survivors to build massive robots to defend themselves — robots driven by human minds. Next, Warner Bros. takes over the stage to premiere the first-ever footage from Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. WB is staying mum on who will be there to promote it, but they’d be crazy not to bring out Snyder and stars Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), and Michael Shannon (General Zod). It’s a big moment for the Superman reboot, and WB will get its first indication of whether or not audiences will embrace this vision by how the Con crowd reacts. Lastly, probably the most-anticipated film of the year for geeks — The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — is being presented by Peter Jackson himself. Will any of his cast show up? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can’t imagine Jackson wouldn’t want them there. He could get some serious bonus points for trotting out members of The Lord of the Rings‘ cast who are returning for The Hobbit. Elijah Wood, for example, is already attending Comic-Con to promote his FX show Wilfred, so there’s no way he won’t show up here.
6:00pm – Hall H
Marvel’s keeping mum on details for this one. All we know for sure is that Iron Man 3 will be presented, along with some “special guests.” (You can bet your shrapnel-protected butt that Robert Downey Jr. will be there.) But the real question is, what about the rest of Marvel’s production slate? News on The Avengers 2, perhaps, or Thor 2 and Captain America 2? If they really want to whip the geeks into a frenzy, they’ll finally announce some action on Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster
3:45pm – Room 5AB
Drew Struzan, as you probably know, is the man behind some of the world’s most famous movie posters. He’s made memorable ones for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Back to the Future, and many more. A documentary is in the works to honor Struzan’s contributions to modern film, and this panel will premiere the first footage from the movie. Afterwards, stay for a Q&A with Struzan himself, along with several special guests.