Let's not forget that this is the year (or was it last year, or will it be next year, or did it actually happen in 2000) that we finally admit that San Diego ComicCon isn't really about comics anymore, but about Hollywood and video game developers. That's not meant to be as snarky as it may sound. Those of us who descend on roundtables and panels know we're part of the problem. I lament it every time I go combing the longboxes for old comics, and there's nary a Bat Lash collection to be found.
Every year at ComicCon is a big year, but 2010 promises to be a really big year. It's the year Morgan Spurlock will be filming it. One franchise (Harry Potter) is winding down, while Marvel and DC are revving up big time. There's blasts from the genre past like Tron: Legacy (a film that's virally lurked for two con years) and The Green Hornet, and sci-fi wildcards like Sucker Punch and Battle: Los Angeles. Here's what we know is set to make an appearance, what we guess might be there, and what we wish would be there.
Let's start with Warner Bros, who generally brings good stuff to SDCC. (Even when the movies end up flops, the panels are excellent!) In years past, they've teased us with promises to bring the entire cast of Harry Potter to the convention. It's been one of those unspoken suggestions that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would be that long awaited moment. Deathly Hallows is booked to have an appearance, though it remains to be seen if it will get its own standalone panel, or if it'll be part of a larger studio presentation. But this will be the last chance the cast could appear in one place for fans. Will 2010 be the year? I bet it will be. (Please let Jason Isaacs be among them. Please. We need a Death Eater to represent.)
According to The New York Times, we'll also get a glimpse at Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, a film that has remained under tight, tight wraps. My secret wish? They would also bring Hereafter. Clint Eastwood doesn't need ComicCon or its geeky crowd, but I'd love a glimpse of his ghost movie to appear there anyway. It would feel so right.
Obviously, that's the DC end of things. What will Marvel bring to the table? Those hoping for a glimpse of Captain America: The First Avenger will undoubtedly go home disappointed as it hasn't even started filming. But you're definitely going to get your first proper look at Thor. Should we pray Natalie Portman doesn't show up so that we stand an easier chance of getting in Hall H? Or should we just be grateful she isn't Megan Fox? The rumor mill has continued to insist that we'll hear something about Ant-Man, but since Edgar Wright swears on Twitter that he's not done with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I think you can stop holding your breath. (I will, however, eat the first volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's series if I'm wrong. I swear it. We can even tape it, as long as you promise I can have ketchup to dip it in.)
We may finally have an official confirmation that Joss Whedon is directing The Avengers, though. Maybe he will even talk about it on a panel, since he's a con staple. You and I won't get in, though. Whedonites camp out from press night on for his stuff, which means if Jeremy Renner shows up to talk about Hawkeye, only Buffy and Browncoat fans will be there. (No slam. You know that. I am a Browncoat.)
But don't despair. You're going to see Wright. It will just be with Universal and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, not in Ant-Man or Avengers announcements. Fans were bitterly disappointed that there wasn't a Scott Pilgrim panel last year -- they were too busy filming to do one -- but this year they can't help but have their wishes fulfilled. The movie opens August 13 (and is whispered to have some kind of preview screening at SDCC), but fans know that having an early taste makes the wait go even faster. We might get a hilarious one-two punch if they bring Your Highness and Paul, too.
Another August movie will be making an appearance, as The Expendables will be the subject of a panel. You know what that means -- a Q&A with more testosterone than Hall H can handle. If Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Jason Statham aren't there, I will be incredibly shocked and crushed. I've never seen Statham in person, so I'm crossing my fingers he's going to sit there scowling, and make my con dreams come true.
But all that manpower will have a tough time competing with Tron: Legacy, which has already taken over San Diego streets? (Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, and Garret Hedlund are festooning the downtown as we speak.) This will actually be the third time Tron: Legacy has graced the convention. It first appeared in a teaser slipped in a late afternoon panel in 2008, and had a panel and some viral marketing in 2009. It also made a splashy presentation at WonderCon. But this will be our first big, big, big look at the movie and I expect an Avatar frenzy to follow.
Disney / Pixar usually brings something animated to tease fans with. Monsters Inc. 2? Or the long gestating Brave, (aka The Bear and the Bow)? Most likely, Tangled be the only animation preview from the Mouse House this year. However, I'm going to hope for a teaser from John Carter of Mars. I suspect it is too far away, but maybe we'll see some teaser posters. After their long Tron tease, I wouldn't be surprised how early they started with John Carter.
Sony will be bringing Battle: Los Angeles and The Green Hornet. Last year, they had a booth with the Black Beauty to rev up fans, though a single frame had yet to be shot on the film. Will the footage and stars Sony brings be able to tilt the lukewarm buzz into something positive? Or are we in for a snowball effect of negativity? Rumor has it they will also be bringing Beastly, in the hopes of attracting some of those Twilight fans who will have no Edward Cullen to gaze at. Priest is a possibility, too. Die hard fans can hope for some kind of Spider-Man presentation with Andrew Garfield, though a meet and greet this early in the game could just be awkward for all involved.
Finally, we have some studio dark horses. We know DreamWorks is bringing Megamind, but many of their 2011 genre films (Real Steel, Cowboys & Aliens, I Am Number Four, Fright Night) just started shooting or were cast this summer, so they won't be appearing at the convention except through limited marketing such as posters or t-shirts. Jon Favreau can do some amazing things in a pinch -- remember the quick Iron Man 2 presentation last year? -- so he might send something along from Cowboys & Aliens to tease his loyal fanbase.
Paramount is even more of a mystery. Star Trek 2 is still a deep dark secret, but there may be something Super 8 related, but I doubt it. J.J. Abrams has blown off SDCC many times before. Dark Fields and James Cameron's Sanctum are better shots for an appearance, Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom seems likely, as does Rango to follow up on its trailer premiere. Nothing has been announced, though, so they could end up being a no-show as they were in 2008.
Fox is in an awkward spot of having a big geek property that will miss this ComicCon and the next in X-Men: First Class. I could actually see them bringing Matthew Vaughn for an awkward "final cast announcement" like Zack Snyder did for Watchmen in 2007, and maybe trot out a cast member or two for a Q&A. While Never Let Me Go has enough sci-fi to qualify, I fear their biggest presentation may be Gulliver's Travels. Try to contain your excitement for that!
There's three weeks to go, and there will be a lot of official announcements to come. When we get an official schedule, we'll be sure to post the highlights here on Cinematical. In the meantime, tell us what you're looking forward to, and what you hope to see there.