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San Diego Comic-Con 2014: 11 Things You Need to Know

by | Jul 29, 2014

© Marvel / Paramount

Our friend Jason Krell is back to the Animation Mentor blog to give us his recap from this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Whether you were there, or spent the weekend not surrounded by 100,000 fellow fans, we have the top 11 things you need to know. Be sure to comment & let us know what we missed!

– The Animation Mentor Crew


It is impossible to see everything at the San Diego Comic Con. In fact, it’s also impossible to see more than a fraction of everything that happened at Comic Con. But that, my friends, is why the Internet was invented (probably). So, for those who aren’t capable of being everywhere at once, here’s a round-up of the most important happenings at SDCC.


The second Avengers movie might just have been the most exciting thing at Comic Con, and expectant fans weren’t disappointed by all the new info. The picture above was released piece-meal throughout the weekend and is a glorious look at what’s to come. New footage was shown to those at the panel, and io9 has a fantastic recap of everything shown.

The cliff-notes version involves typical light-hearted Avengers-fare, with Tony Stark being cheeky. Soon the fun is broken up by Ultron who breaks onto the scene with a horde of robot allies. The team butts heads, the mutants and magic-folk show up, and everything looks like complete chaos. Tony Stark fights the Hulk in his Hulkbuster armor, Cap’s shield is shattered, and everyone is blown away. Fade to black.

As for the panel part, the cast danced on stage and answered a handful of questions from the audience. Also Josh Brolin (who will play Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy) strolled on stage wearing the infamous Infinity Gauntlet.

That made for a nice transition into Guardians of the Galaxy, which we all know is coming out this weekend. Well, a faux-live-feed of director James Gunn and star (lord) Chris Pratt brought the fantastic announcement that Marvel already has a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 — July 18, 2017. Oh yeah, there’s also going to be an animated Guardians of the Galaxy show in the near future.

To top it all off, there was also plenty of new Ant-Man material. Though they haven’t started filming, there were visual effects tests and voice-work from Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and Paul Rudd (Scott Lang). Douglas explained the plot was centered around a heist and retaking his company after the evil Darren Cross (aka Yellowjacket) takes it in a dark direction.

© Marvel / Disney

Big Hero 6

On a slightly tangential Marvel-note, the upcoming animated movie Big Hero 6 had its own showing. The panel mostly focused on art, with the team discussing their decision to blend San Francisco with Tokyo for the setting and what went into designing Baymax and Hiro. On top of that, two new clips were displayed — one showing some physical humor and a brief lesson on puberty with the other gave attendees a glimpse of the duo suited-up and out on the town. As if we weren’t already excited, this panel just made the three month wait until the movie’s release that much harder.

© DC / Warner Bros.


On the DC side of comic-book movies things weren’t quite as exciting. The panel for Batman v. Superman did bring together Henry Cavil (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and we finally got a chance to what Gadot looks like in full costume. There was a lot of concept art shown off and even a little footage, but the consensus seems to be the BvS didn’t match up well with Marvel’s offering.

DC fared much better outside of the movie-realm, though, with their TV lineup making a real impact. New trailers were shown off for The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, and the new season of Arrow. All shows also announced/confirmed a slew of villains on the horizon, with Ra’s al Ghul for Arrow, Papa Midnite and Jim Corrigan for Constantine, and Firestorm and Captain Cold for The Flash. Apparently, Gotham decided to play coy, though, preferring to teases its villains out through the season.

Cross-overs were also discussed, and since The Flash spun out of Arrow, those two are certain to cross paths on a few occasions. Things are little murkier with Gotham and Constantine, though, if only because the timelines aren’t in sync. Gotham Executive Producer Bruno Heller did say “never say never,” though, which gives us hope.

© Weta / New Line

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies

Despite the fact that The Hobbit trilogy continues to not be as ground-breaking as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there was at least plenty of fun to be had at the Battle of Five Armies panel. Stephen Colbert, in his full costume from the movie, moderated the panel, basically guaranteeing it was the most fun event at Comic Con. The trailer for the movie premiered and it was pretty intense. And since that kind of conflicts with the tone of the panel, they livened things back up again with a blooper reel that had best find its way to the Internet stat.

When it came to the Q&A, the world learned a number of interesting and hilarious things. Benedict Cumberbatch talked about the difference between voicing Smaug and Sauron, co-writer Philippa Boyens is still bummed that Tom Bombadil never made it into the LotR, Cate Blanchett (who plays Galadriel) didn’t wear underwear on set because elves don’t, and Legolas and Bard laid some real heavy innuendo on their archery practice.

Probably the most intriguing thing to come out of the panel though is director Peter Jackson’s admission that there is Lord of the Rings footage we still haven’t seen. He did note they could put the footage back in but it does have its issues. Also it’s in a vault in Arizona so they’d have to go get it. Fortunately for the crew, I’m conveniently located in the state and would be happy to pick it up. Call me, Pete.

Game of Thrones

Everyone’s favorite medieval death-fest also had a strong showing at Comic Con, with a lively panel full of much-awaited announcements. The new actors/characters for season 5 were introduced, and they all seem to be perfect matches once again. Fans of the book series will notice the glaring omissions of many Greyjoys and a little someone named Arianne Martel, but only time will tell whether any more characters will be revealed. The best news about season 5, though, is that George R. R. Martin won’t be writing an episode. Why is that good news, you ask? Because he said he has a book to write! Praise the seven.

You can watch the whole panel in two parts thanks to the YouTube channel Emergency Awesome. Also, don’t miss the season 4 blooper reel! There were some pretty great moments.

© Legendary / Warner Bros.

Kaijus and Kong

Humanity wasn’t the only star of Comic Con, though, as plenty of big, beloved creatures are coming to the silver screen, too. First off, Legendary Pictures dropped a bomb on everyone by teasing the previously unannounced King Kong movie: Skull Island. On top of that, Gareth Edwards confirmed that he’ll be back to direct the Godzilla sequel once he’s finished with his Star Wars movie. Even better, the Godzilla sequel will see some familiar Kaiju-faces in the form of Rodan, Mothra, and King Gidorah. If you’re not excited by that foursome, I’m not sure what can make you happy.

Guillermo Del Toro is a boss

Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, who you may remember has been behind films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim, had a great Comic Con. For one, his new movie, Crimson Peak, sounds creepy as all hell. It’s his long awaited return to the horror genre, and it finally shows us what happens when an old house goes crazy: lots of blood and death. Del Toro talked about how great his experience making this movie was, but he also dropped another bomb at the end of the panel that almost eclipsed whole Crimson Peak part. Before things wrapped up, he asked the audience to cheer if they wanted him to make Hellboy 3 and At The Mountains of Madness. Of course everyone showed their support, and Legendary Pictures Thomas Tull later responded saying they’d talk about it after Del Toro finished the Pacific Rim sequel.

© Reel FX / 20th Century Fox

On top of that, another film Del Toro is attached to (this time as producer) made quite the splash at SDCC. The Book of Life, which is the gorgeous Day of the Dead tale that stays true to the holiday’s spirit, reaffirmed its status as one of the best upcoming movies of the year. Not only is it stylistically stunning, but the passion behind the project shows through. Both Del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez are so obviously enthusiastic about this movie that it’s infectious.

Space-age exploration is alive and well

After a long sojourn in fantasy worlds, science fiction only really been back-in-action for a few years — but this year’s Comic Con brought us two movies that will take the genre to the next level. First up is Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, that movie starring Matthew McConaughey you’ve probably seen the trailer for. And even though that trailer doesn’t show off much of space at all, but Comic Con crowds finally saw that change. In a trailer shown during the movie’s panel, the audience finally got to see where exactly the movie is headed: a rocky world with water and a seemingly hostile x-shaped object. That’s not much to go off of, but it’s enough to keep stringing the public along.

© Warner Bros.

Then there’s the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending, which has proven to be a crazy ride through its multiple trailers. But at Comic Con, it finally found some grounding that proves it will have some substance to go along with the insane action. Only Channing Tatum, who plays one of the leads, was there, but he did his best to assure the audience that this movie would be a game-changer. No one can say whether that’s anything more than an attempt to hype the movie up, but Jupiter Ascending definitely has the potential to be more than a spectacle.

© Blizzard

World of Warcraft finally shows up

While the movie has just finished filming, it apparently needs at least a year in post-production before it’s ready for the silver screen. However, fans at Comic Con got to see some of the intense action the movie is packing. Orcs and Humans were on center stage, musing about the role of over the chaos of battle. Armies clash and people die in gorgeous animated violence. They also, thankfully, didn’t try to tone down all the fantasy either. Magic showed up in full force, devastating the battlefield with energy blasts and bolts of lightning. Warriors ride giant birds while wearing absurd armor and it all works. I can’t wait until some footage is released to the public.

© Lucasfilm / Disney

Star Wars rebels against Comic Con

One of the biggest bummers of this year’s Con is that there was no presence from the live action Star Wars movie. However, there was a panel on the upcoming animated series, Star Wars: Rebels. At the panel, producers Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni had a chance to explain what Rebels’ role would be in the larger Star Wars continuity.

In addition to showing the birth of the rebel alliance, Rebels will also show the beginning of the Empire. The show will also be, tonally, much closer to the original trilogy, guaranteeing a more adventurous story. It’s also interesting to note that, according to the Kingberg and Filoni, this Empire is slightly different than the one we all learned to hate. People are grateful for the stability it brings, and plenty view the Jedi as traitors and failures for their hand in the Clone Wars. All of that will make for an interesting dynamic once the show finally premieres.

Mad Max looks crazy-good

Holy insanity, the new trailer for Mad Max looks nuts. Full of the gritty post-apocalypse we remember from the original movies, this movie proves it isn’t just meant to pander to old fans. It could be a legitimate revival of the series. And if you haven’t seen the trailer yourself, here it is. Watch it and be awed.

And that, my friends, is all the big news from SDCC. While this isn’t a substitute for actually being there, hopefully this recap filled you in on all the big happenings. In the end, while this was far from Comic Con’s best outing, it was full of sneak peeks and fun panels that gave the world plenty to look forward to in the next year.

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