I am here only to talk about the top 10 panels I attended at the convention.
Late in the day Thursday I jumped into Hall H (as it wasn’t full) and caught most of the Robert Rodriguez panel. He talked about his new Quick Draw Productions, which he’ll use as a way to produce more films. Rodriguez also mentioned his upcoming projects, the first being a remake of the 1980’s fantasy film Fire and Ice and the second a collaboration with magazine Heavy Metal to make a series of films.
9. Further Over The Rainbow: A First Look at Dorothy of Oz
Dorothy of Oz is a new animated film which extends the story of Dorothy Gale as she returns to the land of Oz. The film is going to be very musical, and includes a cast of experienced singers and stage performers (Sir Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammer, Martin Short, Lea Michele of Glee and Megan Hilty of Wicked to name a few). Sir Patrick Stewart and Megan Hilty were sitting in on the panel, and the entire 6000-seat hall sang happy birthday to Sir Patrick Stewart. We also got to watch a scene from the upcoming film.
8. Can DIY Filmmaking Replace Hollywood? Selling Your Own Damn Movie Without Selling Your Soul
This 9pm panel featured Lloyd Kaufman (founder of Troma and creator of The Toxic Avenger), his wife Pat (New York film commissioner), Brian Taylor (director of Crank, Gamer), Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The Terminator), Adam Green (Hatchet) and Scott McKinlay (Creep Van). Each person talked about their views on independent filmmaking, which sparked a heated debate about piracy and film sharing. It was great listening to people who started at the bottom and what they’ve done since.
7. Relativity Media: Immortals
Immortals is a film based around Greek mythology regarding the battle between the Gods and the Titans. This is a film that intrigues me, but the main reason I attended this panel is because my girlfriend is in love with Henry Cavill. The panel was made up of good looking young actors like Cavill (The Tudors), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Kellan Lutz (Twilight), Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans) and Stephen Dorff (Blade), as well as director Tarsem Singh (The Cell). The film footage was the best part of the panel.
6. Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries: A discussion with Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro on the Future of Pup Culture
This panel brings two directors together to talk to each other and share experiences in the film industry. Favreau was promoting Cowboys & Aliens and Del Toro was promoting Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Besides watching exclusive footage from each film, we got to listen to the two directors handle questions from the audience. Del Toro dropped many f-bombs that got the crowd laughing.
Hall H, the largest panel room at Comic-Con (6000+ capacity) is usually the place where movie stars come out to talk about an upcoming film. This year the organizers tried something different by having evening programming involving some little indy films. The At the Drive In panel was in multiple parts, giving fair time to each film. The two main ones were Grave Encounters and Tucker & Dale vs Evil. Grave Encounters is about a ghost hunter television crew that ends up actually finding something that torments them. Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a film I’ve been anticipating for several months now (maybe longer). It is like the redneck horror films in which teenagers go to the woods and get killed by crazy rednecks. The difference however is that we see the events from the eyes of the rednecks, two bumbling innocent mountain men who can’t understand why teenagers are killing themselves all over their property. The rednecks are played by Tyler Labine (Reaper) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly).
Interestingly, the next three panels were all back-to-back of each other in the same room. This was a block of all Adult Swim shows.
Paul Scheer (The League) has created a series for Adult Swim that spoofs crime procedural TV shows (CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, etc). This is the perfect complement to its time slot neighbor Childrens Hospital, which spoofs medical shows. At the panel, a new episode was shown in its entirety. Then the cast came out to tell us they would be going right back stage to get into costume to film a scene for an upcoming episode right in the room we were sitting in! While they got ready, stand in panelist Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager, Stargate Atlantis) took questions from the audience. Then we got to watch as they filmed a scene. They only did one take so hopefully it’ll work out.
The creator/star of the modern cult classic Black Dynamite is bringing the titular character back in animated form. Michael Jai White, along with co-stars Byron Minns and Kym Whitley, director Scott Sanders and writer Carl Jones presented the pilot episode of the new animated series Black Dynamite. I was a bit weary of whether the show could live up to the high standards of the film, but it definitely delivered. I cannot wait for 2012 to get this new show on Adult Swim.
Just like the NTSF:SD:SUV panel right before it, we got to watch a new episode of Childrens Hospital before the cast came out. Series creator Rob Corddry was joined by Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Ken Marino and Megan Mullally. There were many funny people on stage, and the Q&A was the best of any panel I went to. A couple lucky people from the crowd got to go up on stage and get served water and massages from Megan Mullally and Ken Marino. The highlight however was when someone asked Ken Marino if he could say his trademark line from The State, “I want to dip my balls in it!” He delivered flawlessly.
As Comic-Con was getting near its end on Sunday afternoon, the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia took the stage in Hall H. First they showed a new episode from the upcoming seventh season. Then the cast came out dressed in character from “The Nightman Cometh” to a 5000 person strong standing ovation. The Q&A was fun, and the final question from the audience prompted the cast to lead a sing-a-long of “Dayman” with the crowd.
I didn't really want to rank this panel with the others as technically it wasn't part of Comic-Con programming. Zachary Levi (Chuck) founded a company call The Nerd Machine and they set up Nerd HQ in a bar downtown this year during the convention. They scheduled special programming that cost money, but all money raised was for Operation Smile. These panels only had about 200 seats each and took place in the upstairs of Nerd HQ. Panels included the cast of Firefly, the two lead actors from Psych, Scott Bakula, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, Dominic Monaghan, Felicia Day and Friends of the Nerdolution.
This panel consisted of people Zachary Levi called up and asked to join him to help raise money. The panelists included himself, Jorge Garcia (Lost), Joshua Gomez (Chuck), Danny Pudi (Community), Alessandra Torresani (Caprica), Olivia Munn (Attack of the Show) and Alison Haislip (Attack of the Show). The entire hour was devoted to a Q&A with the audience, which was great. We could ask anyone anything. Afterwards everyone on the panel signed autographs. Below are a few pictures from the event.