Comic – Con 2014 Highlights & Observations

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This year’s Comic-Con didn’t have any big, surprise revelations that brought down the convention halls, like last year’s announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nonetheless, there were many scintillating news that came out of the convention that made many drool and envious that they weren’t there to witness the announcements…or see the exclusive trailers and footage.

Dawn Of The Justice League

It’s funny how pumped up people are for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and it’s not coming out next year! Warner Bros. and DC Comics may want to reconsider their release schedule of May 2016 and put this film out sooner. While next summer and December are already covered by guaranteed blockbusters, there are plenty of other months where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will completely dominate the box office like Captain America: The Winter Soldier did this past April.

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What brings out this feeling with us here at Starloggers is that based on the fact that there is footage out about the movie, it seems as if it’s close to being complete. Those shots of Batman on the rainy rooftop decked out in full armor and a visibly angry Superman up in the sky facing him were just electrifying. Apparently, director Zack Snyder took the essence of Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns and translated it to screen. As a bonus, the reveal of Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman outfit was just a perfect bonus; an Amazonian warrior brought to life!

Avengers: Age Of Ultron & The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Unlike Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there hasn’t been any photos or footage leaked over next summer’s eagerly awaited sequel to The Avengers. The same went for Ant-Man. Reportedly, the crowd predictably went bonkers over the exclusive footage shown for Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the clips shown, the attendees saw Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor, footage of the heroes fighting Ultron and a haunting image of Captain America’s broken shield.

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What helped whet the appetites for fans around the Internet and at Comic-Con were the beautiful posters showcasing each individual Avenger fighting Ultron and his android army. The full poster that has all of them put together is sure to be a sought-after item.

The news that actor Patrick Wilson dropped out of Ant-Man may have reminded some of the behind-the-scenes production headaches plaguing this film. Still, the production is pushing on with their promotion and hopefully Marvel Studios will have another winner in their hands.

The film studio is so confident about Guardians of the Galaxy, that they announced that the film’s director James Gunn will return to direct the sequel, which has a firm release date in July 2017.

The Absentees

While Marvel Studios confidently showcased their upcoming films, it was noticeable that Twentieth Century Fox didn’t have anything to show for next summer’s Fantastic Four reboot. It’s obvious that the studio and the production team behind the much-maligned reboot is feeling sensitive and protective over the film in response to the negative feedback from many fans. No matter how you look at the situation, it doesn’t bode well for the film. But it may wind up winning over fans in the end.

There were other films being released next year that weren’t represented as well. The biggest one was Star Wars Episode VII, which if something was shown might’ve eclipsed the Marvel and DC presentations. Also MIA was Brad Bird’s highly anticipated and mysterious Tomorrowland . Not seeing anything from Star Wars wasn’t a surprise since the film is still early in production, but it’s a missed opportunity for Tomorrowland because there is a lot of curiosity over the film. But Star Wars fans didn’t walk away empty handed: the full-length trailer for the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels made its debut at Comic-Con and it looks terrific.

Other News

Despite the lack of big, headline-making announcements, there were some that had merit. Take for example the news that Legendary Pictures plans to release a prequel to King Kong that takes place on the mighty ape’s homeland, the dinosaur-packed Skull Island. Then there was the pleasant surprise for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when it was announced that Alexander Siddig (Doctor Bashir) is joining the cast of Game of Thrones. Also noteworthy were the news that the Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul will be a major nemesis for the next season of Arrow and Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird will be part of the returning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Of the many trailers for movies and TV shows, one that caught everyone’s attention was that of next year’s Mad Max: Fury Road. From looking at the footage, it seems clear that director George Miller has returned to the high-octane roots of the Mad Max franchise. It’s a welcome thought since that futuristic anti-hero has been absent from the screens for too long.

That wraps up what we thought of Comic-Con 2014. We already cannot wait for next year’s convention. BTW, check our Background Noise and Facebook pages for any links (once we find them) to leaked footage or photos themselves of Avengers: Age of Ultron and any other highly anticipated film.

Comic-Con 2013 Highlights

Another Comic-Con at San Diego has come and gone, leaving many fans whetting their appetites over upcoming film releases, TV show premieres, comic books, etc. While the convention is supposed to be about comic books and related matter, the biggest news had to do with pending films and TV shows.

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Godzilla

Stealing the thunder in the early days of the convention was the immersive Godzilla Experience exhibit that gave convention goers a chance to see what the aftermath of a Godzilla rampage is like. Also, fans got a look at the new design of the famous Kaiju for next year’s Godzilla. Film director Gareth Edwards promises to deliver a true Godzilla movie unlike the abomination that came out in 1998. Reports are that the footage shown at Comic-Con allegedly captured the mood of the early Godzilla films.

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

This anticipated sequel to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, 2011’s successful reboot of the Apes franchise, looks mighty interesting. A special teaser was put together for Comic-Con that showed an older and angrier Caesar (mo-capped again by Andy Serkis) in his ape camp meeting with human resistance fighters. Many were excited by the tease, which presented even more realistically rendered CG apes.

The Walking Dead

The people behind the very successful TV show The Walking Dead seem to have outdone themselves. At least, that is what it looks like with the riveting trailer for the show’s fourth season. We find Rick Grimes and his group of survivors dealing with the nitty gritty of life in a post-apocalyptic world. As usual with The Walking Dead, characters apparently die as shown in the trailer and the tension and thrills seem to be in overdrive.

Gravity

Many curious fans got a gripping look at thrilling and captivating clips from Alonso Cuarón’s Gravity movie. Featuring endangered astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the movie looks incredible. Thanks to the clips, which showcase the director’s masterful long takes, anticipation has greatly grown for Gravity. This film was delayed from last year, but based on the clips, the wait may have been worth the delay.

Almost Human

J.J. Abrams’ Lost and Fringe may no longer be on the air, but his new TV offerings may make up for that. The most promising "Almost Human" Season 1TV show seems to be Almost Human, which had its pilot screened at Comic-Con. It stars Karl Urban as a cop whose partner is an artificial being in the near future. While the premise sounds formulaic, the pilot was very well received by those who viewed it.

Marvel & DC Movies

The biggest news and reactions were generated by the Marvel and DC movie announcements and previews. Arguably, the most intense and joyous reaction was from the announcement that the next Superman movie will team him up with DC’s other iconic superhero, Batman.

mutantsNot to be outdone, Marvel previewed footage, props and concept art from an impressive lineup of films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Along with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, two other Marvel films generated a lot of buzz. One was the sequel to The Avengers with the announcement that the evil android Ultron will be the villain. The other film is the eagerly awaited X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Aside from shown footage and anti-mutant posters plastered all over the place, the spectacle of the entire cast appearing to promote next year’s film was noteworthy.

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Many comic book fans lament about the way that Comic-Con lost its focus on being about comic books. But at least, the films generating the most talk out of the convention are based on comic book properties. This illustrates how the characters in those comics have evolved past their traditional trappings into something larger.

Reactions To Some Comic-Con News

None of us here went to the San Diego Comic-Con, but we learned about the announcements made there and even saw some bootleg footage from the presentations (we won’t bother to post the links to them, they’ll probably be disabled before long). This piece is basically our reactions to what was revealed about certain films and shows for the coming months and 2013.

Elysium

Director Neill Blomkamp previewed footage from his next sci-fi epic which stars Matt Damon. It showed Earth as a futuristic, debris-filled wasteland and what was surprising was that Blomkamp didn’t need to do any special effects since he filmed these scenes in the slums of Mexico City. To some of us it felt like Blomkamp’s previous District 9 (but with a more naturalistic feel since there weren’t any shaky cam shots) and that’s a good thing. The viral campaigns touting the futuristic utopian city of Elysium were well done and whetted our appetites.

Fringe, The Final Season

The Fringe team appeared for the final time at Comic-Con and actor John Noble teased about the possibility of a Fringe movie. While enticing and unlikely if it happens let’s hope it doesn’t wind up like The X-Files films. They premiered a special trailer for the final season of Fringe which takes place primarily in the future. In that time period our heroes are trying to overthrow the enigmatic Observers who’ve taken over the world. Plus, it seems as if William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) will appear again. Sweet!

Iron Man 3

A mixed bag here, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley) will be the villain in Iron Man 3 instead of another armored villain. However, we were less than enthused with the look of Iron Man’s new armor which is mostly gold with red highlights. It’s not known if this is to be his main armor but why not just stick with the suit he wore in The Avengers?

The Man Of Steel

Sadly what was learned about Zack Snyder’s reboot of Superman wasn’t very inspiring. The footage shown had Snyder’s typical empty but flashy filmmaking style. If you’ve seen Watchmen and Sucker Punch then you can imagine how The Man Of Steel footage appeared. At the same time the scenes from The Man Of Steel looked like they were desperately trying to emulate Christopher Nolan’s look for the Batman films. It just didn’t look right and in light of the recent X-Men and Spider-Man reimaginings it screamed “Me too!” The worst news came when Snyder revealed that John Williams’ iconic Superman score will not be used. That is a huge mistake since that score has become so ingrained with Superman it’s almost as bad as radically changing his costume. We feel that if they could get away with getting rid of the cape and S shield Snyder and Nolan would’ve done so just to be different. Let’s hope DC has better luck with their Lobo movie.

Miscellaneous Marvel Movies

The official titles for Marvel Studios’ next sequels were revealed. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, who has one of our staff members very excited since it seems to indicate the movie will cover one of his favorite Captain America storylines. The other title is Thor: The Dark World, and little else was revealed about the thunder god’s further escapades. But the most interesting announcement was that a film based on the Guardians Of The Galaxy is coming in 2014. Based on the artwork released, this team will not be the classic version featuring Vance Astro but rather one that has Starlord, Gamora and Rocket Raccoon (!). It’s a big risk since the team isn’t as well known or popular as the Avengers and the movie will probably be a big budget epic. The last space-based superhero film Green Lantern proved to be a dud (many blamed the aliens-filled space scenes which lacked a human touch, frankly those were the highlights for the dull, Earth-bound film), let’s hope Guardians Of The Galaxy doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Oz, The Great And Powerful

It seems as if Sam Raimi has moved beyond the Spider-Man movies with this astonishing prequel to the classic Wizard Of Oz. The transition from a small black and white screen to a gorgeous, colorful, widescreen Oz is stunning and rivals Tim Burton’s work. In addition to Oz (portrayed by James Franco who is a great casting choice), other characters appear like Glinda, and the flying monkeys. Oz, The Great And Powerful could be a new fantasy classic.

Pacific Rim

Guillermo Del Toro supposedly blew the audience away with footage from next year’s Pacific Rim. Actually it’s the only film that can compete with Godzilla due to its epic scope and level of destruction. In the film, giant monsters have overrun the Earth and humanity’s last hope lies with human operators of gigantic robots that can go head to head with the monsters. Bottom line: Pacific Rim sounds terrific just based on the talent behind it and can be described as a love letter to kaiju movies and fans of that Japanese genre.

The Walking Dead Season Three

Our resident fan of The Walking Dead is very psyched up for the upcoming third season of the show. We saw the prison our heroes occupy, the evil Governor and badass zombie killer MIchonne, who looks like her comic book counterpart. What was shown looks exciting, suspenseful and harrowing (especially with the scenes featuring the sadistic Governor). Honestly, October can’t come here soon enough.

Star Trek Sequel and Proof Of Concept

There isn’t anything to report about the still untitled Star Trek sequel by J.J. Abrams because the filmmakers decided not to present anything at the Comic-Con. This is just baffling.  Maybe they’re saving the big guns for a Trek convention. Regardless, in a crowded marketplace where films are vying for business and word-of-mouth the people behind Star Trek should’ve had at least a bone to throw to the fans. The film comes out next May and attendees got more info about films set to debut further ahead in time. We hope this isn’t a bad harbinger for the movie. Being that the last film left Star Trek fans divided over its quality, Abrams and company need to hit this one out of the ballpark and they can start by wowing fans now.

There were proof-of-concept footage shown of Ant-Man, Godzilla and Thomas Jane returning as The Punisher at the convention. While they’re cool (esp. seeing Punisher in R-rated action), until there is an actual project being produced they won’t amount to much unless something concrete comes out of showing the footage. However they seem more promising than some of the actual films being promoted.