Life On Mars Part 4: The Juggernaut Panel and Marvel’s Big Day

Steven Panzarella breaks down the announcements and footage brought to Comic Con on saturday july 14th, and explains why it was the biggest day of this years comic con.

 It is tough to write a blog post when you have no words! Saturday I was left speechless by Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers. In a panel hosted by Talking Dead host and Nerdist Chris Hardwick, the panel began with epic music and the expansion of the main screen in Hall H into three screens.

Then as soon as that occured, Hardwick asked Thomas Tull to the stage, (Tull is the Cheif at Legendary pictures)  to talk Pacific Rim, the mysterious monster movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro and written by Clash of The Titans writer Travis Beacham. Hardwick Introduced the Panel which consisted of   Tull, Del Toro and cast members Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi. After introducing the cast Del Toro introduced the footage for the film and after the footage showed and earned a huge response from the crowd, the director admitted that this was the only footage anyone would see. Due to the fact the film wrapped 12 weeks ago, they are going on self imposed “radio silence” until a trailer is released in January. January will be the time when the whole marketing campaign kicks in and not until then. In my opinion Pacific Rim was a show stealer, the footage was grand and impressive, with amazing robots and monsters that would make any fan grin ear to ear. The monsters were amazingly detailed, beasts the director designed from the inside out, he said he did not want it to look like they were “Dancing around” he wanted them to look like real monsters. Del Toro admitted this movie was “The Christmas present he needed”, the director is known for working near 24 hour days on his films and was asked by legendary to make the film after leaving a troubled The Hobbit set(before it started filming The Hobbit was marred in problems on set with unions in New Zealand and off set ownership issues). The footage blew everyone away including the cast who had never seen it before, including lead Charlie Hunnam who as soon as the footage wrapped yelled out “HOLY CRAP”. Del Toro, who is known for expletive rants at these panels was on top of his game, being asked questions by fans who wanted to know about the robots and the monsters, including one boy who asked the acclaimed director whether or not the robots would have “Rocket Punches”, a question that sparked a smile from Del Toro and the response of ” F*** Yea”. By the end of the panel there was a buzz in the room, the same buzz you hear in a movie theater before a midnight release.

So Hardwick and Thomas Tull had some time to kill, Tull introduced a secret video which was soon to be revealed as Godzilla. The crowd went absolutely insane for the teaser which was quickly made by Gareth Edwards weeks prior to the event. Edwards who directed a small indie sci-fi flick called Monster, the movie that got excellent reviews on a tiny budget. Edwards came on stage with plenty of emotion, after getting a rousing cheer from the crowd he admitted he was so pleased with the response to the footage that it was one of the best moments of his life. To the crowd, this was the start of something beautiful, with Godzilla being announced and a script being written by The Dark Knight trilogy writer and Christopher Nolan Disciple David S. Goyer and Newcomer Max Borenstein the film has what looks to be a fast track to a 2014 release. Tull and Edwards both promised real footage for next years comic con which created more of an incentive for Legendary to get the ball rolling. It also gives plenty for people to talk about, such as plot and casting. Edwards said the film will be less sci-fi and more grounded in reality, yet neither commented on whether the teaser played during the panel will appear infront of any recent Legendary/Warner Bros films, like for instance The Dark Knight Rises.

The next panel was for the long awaited Man Of Steel, Directed by 300‘s Zach Snyder, written and produced by Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer and starring Henry Cavill(Immortals) as the most famous of superhero’s. Snyder and Cavill joined Chris Hardwick on stage. Before Cavill joined the dais, Snyder introduced a Trailer, which he said was very different from the teaser they would show in front of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday. Snyder said “We have a teaser for The Dark Knight Rises but i was told when you come to comic con you come with more so instead of the teaser here is a trailer we made special for you”. The trailer began almost exactly like Batman Begins, Russell Crowe’s voice over almost the whole thing we a quick shot of Michael Shannon as the villain General Zod.  The trailer earned a rousing ovation from fans and caused some fans to tears, including one man who failed to compose himself before trying to ask a question. The trailer was great and showed a very different story then we are used to seeing that includes Clark Kent working in Smallville prior to his employment at the Daily Planet and a look at his special childhood including saving a bus filled with students. The trailer was very promising representation of the best of both Nolan the producer and Snyder the director but it will look very different then a normal Snyder film.

In between Man Of Steel and the final panel of the day, Hardwick invited out Zach Galifinakis and Will Ferrell to talk about their new movie The Campaign. About two bumbling men battling for a seat in congress. Both Farrell and Galifinakis played off each others qualities and the fact that  Galifinakis is somewhat awkward in public was a point of emphasis. The short panel included questions to them and one fan asking them to speak to the crowd in character, both men obliged reluctantly. They showed an extended trailer of the film which included a laugh out loud moment when Farrells character punches a baby. The panel was very funny but just a little break until the grand finale.

The finale for the “Juggernaut” panel was Peter Jackson and crew to talk The Hobbit, after 266 days of filming both parts of The Hobbit jackson brought along a few friends and 12 and a half min of footage for the 6500 people who waited all day to see it. The footage was unfinished because Howard Shore has yet to record a score for the film and not all the special effects were done but the footage we did see impressed. There were plenty of excellent scenes that included characters that included the group of dwarves that accompany Bilbo(Martin Freeman) and Gandalf(Sir Ian McKellen).  Joining the Oscar winning director on the panel, Were Martin Freeman(Sherlock), Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage(Captain America), Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, and writer/producer Phillipa Boyens. Prior to the cast taking the stage Boyens and Jackson showed an 8 minute video of the final days of filming which included speeches by Jackson and a post production party. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters December 14th, 2012 and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, will be out a year later on December 13th, 2013. There have been rumors that Jackson wants to divide the movies up into a Trilogy, but that was not something that Jackson spoke about. The other 800 pound elephant in the room was the fact that scenes were filmed at a higher Frames per second rate, 48 frames per second rather then the normal 24 frames per second(if this is confusing it’s because it is). Something that, according to those  who saw the footage at CinemaCon made The Hobbit look like a sitcom. A change of frame rate in movies would be related to Major league baseball wanting to add 2 extra innings to regulation play. The 24 frames per second has been around for as long as we have had film, a change this huge makes things feel almost too life like.  One scene did have the remnants of the 48 frames per second but according to Jackson none of the scenes were brought to Comic Con.

After The Hobbit, came Marvels massive panel. With announcements and footage galore in the prior panel, Marvel had to step there game up and they did. After Introducing Marvels President Kevin Feige and showing a video summarizing every trip Marvel has made to Comic Con since 2006, Feige took the stage to make some huge announcements. These announcements included the next 3 films after Iron Man 3, something feige reffered to as “Phase 2”. In Phase 2 after Iron Man 3 next summer, the sequel to Thor, entitled Thor 2: The Dark World was announced a given a November 3rd, 2013 release date. Following Thor is the sequel to Captian America, called Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this earned a loud cheer from the fans due to the fact that the “Winter Soldier” story arc is one of the most popular in the Captain America lexicon. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will hit theaters on April 4th, 2014.  After that and the crowd settled down, Marvel made two more big announcement, in addition to the three sequels as part of Phase 2, they have added more, in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Guardians confirms that The Avengers 2 will have a much larger universe to use and sets Marvel up with a huge 2013-2014 slate. Guardians of The Galaxy will hit theaters August 1st, 2014.  Finally it has been rumored since 2009 that director Edgar Wright will be working on an Ant-Man movie, originally trying to get an appearance by The Avengers. Ant-Man has been in development for years and we saw test footage created by Wright which was impressive even not finished test footage. Then Feige and Wright said Wright should be back at Comic Con next year with an actual film to talk about. Wright would not reveal who he wants for Ant-Man even though a fan favorite has become Nathan Fillion(Firefly and ABC’s Castle). No release date has been set for Ant-Man, but rumor is the film could get a set up in Iron Man 3.

After the Announcements and Edgar Wrights appearance, Robert Downy Jr Made a grand entrance dancing and with an Iron Man glove on one of his hands. Downey Jr grabbed a microphone and turned to crowd saying “Three questions, How much do i love you? How Much Do You Love Me? and Why aren’t we watching any footage yet?” the grand entrance by Tony Stark himself began the trailer for the film. The trailer which revealed Sir Ben Kingsley as the villain “The Mandarin”, and even included the amazing voice change Kingsley did for the role. The footage impressed fans and showed new characters including Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall. While Marvel was not able to top the hooplah created by Warner Bros and Legendary they had fans counting down the seconds. After the footage Downey Jr helped bring out director Shane Black, Iron Man 2 Director and now a full on supporting cast member Jon Favreau, as well as Don Cheadle who returns as Iron Man’s partner in crime James Rhodes and War Machine. The panel was great fun with the personalities answering some pretty silly questions, one interesting part is when a young girl who announced she was from Guam, a place that was obsessed with the Iron Man films and emotionally asked if they could have a premier in Guam. Favreau jokingly asked “is that in encino?”, leave it up to Downey Jr to bring a smile to that fans face saying, “you heard it here first, Iron Man 3 Premier will be in guam.” It would be cool if that actually happened, yet i do not think it will.

All in all this was the most overwhelming day of the con, with so much footage revealed and so many excellent panels even Comic Con vets dubbed Saturday July 14th, 2012 as one of the greatest days in the history of the event. Crazy to think but at the same time, the studios brought out the big gun’s for and for 3 1/2 hours Comic Con got treated to a spectacle. A show with fireworks, and all the stars you would need.

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