Comic-Con 2012 Highlights: Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Hobbit, and Glee Make the Rounds at SDCC


Pacific Rim:

• Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s LabyrinthHellboy) showcased Pacific Rim, the upcoming film by Legendary Pictures starring Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (PrometheusThor) and Ron Perlman (HellboySons of Anarchy). The basic premise of the film is humans taking control of gigantic robots to fight equally gigantic sea creatures. In short, the movie is as ridiculous as it is awesome.  Del Toro screened, for the first time, several minutes’ worth of footage, containing battles between skyscraper-sized machines and beasts. The director has stated that he did not want to forget how unique a movie such as this could, describing, “I wanted to make the movie not a war movie but an adventure movie.” Travis Beacham, whose experience with Clash of the Titans means he is no stranger to the world of gigantic battles, has written the screenplay. Del Toro described his initial reaction to the project as “a big fat, obscene Christmas gift when I needed it the most” and went on to state, “I assembled and disassembled it twenty times before it was perfect.” The director also revealed that everyone hired was a Kaiju fan, a term used in Japanese filmmaking to describe monsters, (with the most famous being the “daikaiju” Gojira), meaning that fans of the classic fights between Godzilla and Mothra will have plenty to look forward to. The film is expecting release in July 2013.

Man Of Steel:

• If the demonstration at Comic-Con is any indication, the new movie based on the Superman franchise by Zack Snyder (300Watchmen) is going to be darker than any other version presented on film. Snyder has stated that his Superman will not be some kind of Boy Scout unwilling to hurt criminals. Instead, the Man of Steel, played by Henry Cavill (The Tudors) will be darker, much like Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batman franchise. Snyder then went on to introduce several clips in a teaser trailer, including shots of Smallville (Clark Kent’s home), a conversation with Jor-El (the hero’s father from Krypton, portrayed by A Beautiful Mind’s Russel Crowe), and an ominous warning about the world fearing what it doesn’t understand from Papa Kent (Clark’s earth father, Kevin Costner from Dancing With the Wolves). Other sightings included Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as General Zod, although Snyder has not confirmed whether the latter will be the main antagonist of the film. Snyder confirmed that the movie would take several of Kal-El’s comic book storylines into account while Cavill confirmed that “Death of Superman” and “Red Son” were his favorite arcs. Finally, when asked whether the film will set off a sequence of DC movies, ending in an ensemble collection akin to Marvel’s The Avengers, Snyder simply stated that Superman is the crown jewel in the DC Universe’s crown and “What we're trying to do is to get his house in order, and then we'll see what happens.” The film has completed principal photography and is currently in post-production with an anticipated release in June 2013. Perhaps the biggest indication of this being a different take on Superman is the fact that one scene highlights the Man of Steel emerging from a pile of skulls.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

• When Peter Jackson and his colleagues revealed twelve minutes from the upcoming The Hobbit, the crowd was pleased, to say the least. Broken into two movies, An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again, the series of films works as a sequel to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the third of which was the most critically acclaimed of the three. An Unexpected Journey will arrive in theaters this December while the next part will arrive a year later. The films, based on the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, star Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyLove Actually) as the main protagonist, Bilbo Baggins. Other members of the cast that were present at the panel included Ian McKellen (Gandalf from the original films), Andy Serkis (Gollum from the original film) and Richard Armitage (who will play Thorin Oakenshield). Also present at the panel was Elijah Wood (Wilfred), who played Frodo Baggins in the original films. The twelve minutes of footage unveiled showcased numerous scenes including an exchange between Gandalf and Galadriel, played by series veteran Cate Blanchet. The footage was shown in 24 frames per second, the standard in films since the 1920’s, whereas the film was famously shot in 48. However, on a previous occasion when the much-hyped footage was revealed, some fans criticized the effect that the extra frames had on the overall quality of the image, causing it to seem “too realistic.” Jackson has still defended his decision and explained his willingness to show the excerpts in a lower frame rate, arguing that the effect only works well when the entire film, not just an excerpt, is seen in 48 frames per second.

True Blood:

• The HBO drama True Blood, recently picked up for its sixth season, was at Comic-Con and its panel was just as energetic as the show itself. Executive producer Alan Ball confirmed that the show’s cast would become even more promiscuous than in previous seasons, something that he claimed would satiate “all tastes.” As a testament to the increasing insanity of the show, newly appointed cast member Christopher Meloni (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) expressed surprise at how much more there was to behold on his new assignment, even when compared to his already unpredictable previous show. Ball stated that he enjoys working with new combinations of characters and pairings in the show, some of which include Rutina Wesley and Deborah Ann Woll or Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard, the latter being described as a “Butch Cassidy/ Sundance Kid thing.” Ball also revealed that, as the season progresses, fans will learn more about Sookie and Jason’s parents, something that fans of Anna Paquin and Ryan Kwanten will no doubt appreciate. In a pre-panel interview, Joe Manganiello and Kristin Bauer van Straten also made some statements, with the latter promising more promiscuity on the behalf of his character while the latter stated that her character would be far more deeply developed this season.


• The cast and crew of Glee were present at Comic-Con, revealing several scoops about the upcoming season. The biggest news for Season 4, despite the saddening note that the previous season ended on, is still the expected guest role by Kate Hudson, who was not present at the panel. Executive producer Brad Falchuk stated, “It’s a really fun character. It’s the difference between the Will version of teaching and more negative reinforcement.” The cast also discussed several details regarding plot, although fans might want to stay away from searching such spoilers before the hotly anticipated season. Falchuk also confirmed that everyone who was a season regular last time would return to the show, although it is probable that no one will be in every episode, given the show’s expanded setting. As for the music, Falchuk revealed that the season would contain a very wide variety, including classic rock and stuff so modern even he hasn’t heard some of it. As for other projects the cast is working on, Naya Rivera revealed her new dance-pop single My Heart while Darren Criss talked about his role in How To Succeed in Business Without Really TryingGlee will return to Fox this fall, Thursdays at 9pm. Finally, in related news, Archie Comics recently confirmed a crossover with Glee, a story arc that will run next year in the publisher’s Archie lineup. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa stated that he felt the two properties will work together really well because “they’re both set in high schools, they’re both optimistic, they both involve singing.”