This was one of the panels I was most looking forward to because I desperately wanted to walk away from it with even more good vibes than I already had. Though I still chuckled every time someone prefaced a question with "This is for McG ...," the guy definitely "brought it" to Comic Con. You could tell this dude really wanted to sell the audience; he wanted to sell them on another Terminator flick, he wanted to sell them on it being directed by a dude named McG and he wanted to bottle up his enormous energy and sell that too. The guy was amped up to a level just beneath "Okay this is uncomfortable," and the panel audience was virtually high-fiving him the entire time.

The Footage

I wasn't sure what we'd be seeing as far as footage from the film went, since they were still right in the middle of shooting and, well, you wouldn't expect anything too polished. But to my surprise they managed to throw together an enticing little two-or-so-minute teaser that was gritty, grimy, familiar and --pardon the language -- pretty f**king rad. I was too engulfed to write down every second of the thing, but it basically consisted of a number of quick snippets of gunfire, Anton Yelchin (as a young Kyle Reese) saying stuff like, "Come with me if you want to live," a little of Sam Worthington (who seems like the kind of guy that'd clock you for staring at him for more than three seconds), Moon Bloodgood (hot name for a hottie actress), Common (who I assume plays the obligatory post-apocalyptic black dude) and, of course, those T-600 robots (the film takes place in 2018, 11 years before Arnold's T-800 existed).

Gallery of panel below; more after the jump ...

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Not much robot footage, but there was this awesome shot of a giant robot claw smashing down through a roof in order to pick up a human. McG later explained that these were called Harvesters; that they purposely went around harvesting humans. Bale looks perfect in the role of John Connor, who, here, is married to Kate Connor (Bryce Dallas Howard), and the two -- according to McG -- play a sort of Bonnie and Clyde pair of tough-as-nails mercenaries. This film takes place at the beginning of the resistance, when the Skynet technology wasn't exactly perfected (unlike the T-800, the T-600 robots are easy to spot) and groups of individuals were holed up in desolate areas fighting to stay alive.

The Panel/Press Conference

Here are some highlights from the panel and subsequent press conference with the cast (everyone minus Bale, who was promoting Dark Knight in Hong Kong):

  • McG said the studio is aware that the film might turn out to be R-rated, and that no matter what they will not kill crucial elements in order to fit a PG-13. Buuut, it there was a problem area and it didn't royally mess with the story, then they'd most likely trim it to get the lower rating. McG: "I'm not afraid of PG-13."
  • This film will end on a cliffhanger, and regarding "those highly-spoilerish ending rumors" from a few months back, McG says they are completely false. Word is the script is constantly being tightened and worked on as we speak and as they continue to shoot in New Mexico.
  • McG says this film will show us the "becoming of Skynet."
  • Sam Worthington said the film will "grab you by the balls" and that, at first, it was a little intimidating because he was "asked to go toe to toe with f**king Batman."
  • Anton Yelchin (Kyle Reese) said that the film begins to show how his character (just a teen here) got to the point where "someone like Sarah Connor would sleep with him."
  • The T-600 robot (pictured above) was described as sort of a used automobile, with skin stretched over; rusted, weathered, etc ...
  • Jonah Nolan (The Dark Knight) was the only name that surfaced with regards to the script, and McG said that Jonah is the man who deserves the most credit for it. Considering you have Bale and Nolan involved, you better believe they worked in Dark Knight plugs a whole lot to remind folks that these were the people who made that film such a success.
  • The next trailer will apparently be attached to Quantum of Solace.
  • McG said he was very influenced by Children of Men when it came to designing this post-apocalyptic environment.
  • A very funny part in the panel came when McG asked a Sarah Connor in costume, an Asian Arnold in costume (hysterical impression; the place was in stitches) and a Robert Patrick as the T-1000 impersonator on stage to chill with the cast. Cute, definitely helped "make" the panel.
In case you're wondering, after all that Terminator stuff, I'm still stoked to see the flick and I have faith that McG will deliver quality product. Dude is committed, no doubt about that.

Terminator: Salvation hits theaters on May 22.