The Warner Bros./Legendary panels took place on Saturday afternoon in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con. And it was the highlight of the whole weekend at SDCC! It first took the Hall H audience by surprise when two additional screens, one on each side, appeared with the WB and Legendary logos. It was at that moment we knew we were about to experience something epic. And we did. The first part of the panel showcased upcoming Legendary films like Pacific Rim, Godzilla and Man of Steel. The final part was for the Warner Bros films The Campaign and The Hobbit. The entire panel was moderated by Chris Hardwick.
Last year, I attended Legendary’s panel for Pacific Rim, and the biggest reveal for it then was just the Pacific Rim emblem. Sure, director Guillermo del Toro talked a bit about it, but was still rather vague. This year was very different. We finally got a look at the film, and it’s incredible! Del Toro said that he cut some footage specifically for Comic Con and that after this, they’re going on “radio silence” for Pacific Rim for the rest of the year. Entertainment Weekly gives a great rundown of the footage (it’s been about a week since I saw it, so I’m a little rusty on details):
The footage starts with two people hunting for treasure on a wintry beach staring gobsmacked as a giant multi-story robot stumbles from the ocean, missing an arm, and collapses on the beach. The attention to detail in this small sequence was impressive: the robot (or Jaeger, in the film’s parlance) shuddered with every step, and the ground rumbled as it plodded along, while the camera struggled to even fit the entire thing within the frame.
The rest of the footage was an extended sizzle reel, featuring shots of ginormous monsters ripping into the landscape (like the poor Golden Gate Bridge) as we caught glimpses of stars Charlie Hunnam suiting up in a metal uniform to pilot one of the Jaegers (which require two pilots, one for each hemisphere, since they’re too gargantuan for just one person to control). We also caught shots of Ron Perlman and Charlie Day in civilian clothes staring agape at something towering above them, as well as Jaegers wading through the ocean or being dropped from the sky into battle with the monsters (or kaiju) below. At the end of the footage, Idris Elba delivered this rousing speech: “Today, at the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we’ve chosen to turn to each other! Today, we face the monsters that are at our door! Today we are canceling the apocalypse!” FOGHORN! FIN!
The size and scope of Pacific Rim is huge and phenomenal. When talking about making big films, del Toro exclaims that “you can either get lazy or crazy. I chose crazy.” He totally did. In addition to great battles between robots and monsters, it was important for there to be a big emphasis on emotion and how as humans, it would really feel to be in that kind of situation. Back to the non-humans, del Toro said he didn’t use motion capture for the robots. He didn’t want them to move like human beings. As for monsters, he says to expect all kinds of them and for them to be original. They actually designed the monsters from the inside out, in order to make them as unique as possible.
With del Toro was the some of the Pacific Rim cast: Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi. Hunnam said that working with del Toro is a privilege. From everything that del Toro and cast said and showed about the film, it’s easy to discern that Pacific Rim will be one of the most epic movies to premiere next year. Del Toro said that this film saved his life. “This movie came to me like a big, fat, obscene Christmas gift at a time that I needed it very much.” When someone as talented as del Toro shows such an emotional connection to his work, you know to expect something great.
Pacific Rim hits theaters July 13, 2013. Check out a few pictures from the Pacific Rim panel on our Facebook page.
Next, Legendary surprised us with an announcement of sorts. Rumors leading to Comic Con said that Legendary will be unveiling their Godzilla movie. Some even said that it was going to be Pacific Rim. Well, Thomas Tull, founder of Legendary Pictures, announced that they wanted to show the crowd some special footage. JoBlo.com gives a great detailed rundown of what was shown:
- There are images of a city devastated. Bodies lie on the ground in the hundreds. It looks like a nuclear bomb has laid waste to a metropolis, and it’s actually quite eerie and intense.
- One interesting shot shows a building toppled over, and you can barely glimpse a man standing on top of it, surveying the wreckage. Another building has a massive hole smack in the middle of it.
- To further hammer home the A-bomb parallel, a voice-over of Robert Oppenheimer’s famous speech about seeing the atomic blast for the first time plays over the footage: “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, Vishnu takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’”
- We see, amid the rest of the carnage, what appears to be the huge, crumpled body of a monster laying in the debris.
- The sound of stomping can be heard.
- Finally, a big old foot comes down in a cloud of dust. We pan up, see the scales, and he turns around and oh my word it’s Godzilla and he lets loose with his famous roar. He’s not seen completely clearly (what fun would that be?) but we can tell that it looks like the classic Toho incarnation, just not a man in a suit, but a well-realized CG creation.
- Title card comes up: GODZILLA. The place goes nuts…
That last statement saying “the place goes nuts” is a bit of an understatement. My brother, who was with me, almost had a heart attack from shock and awe. Once the crowd calmed down, Tull introduced the director of Godzilla, Gareth Edwards. Edwards was overwhelmed by the Hall H audience response and said that he wanted to cry. He then went on to talk about what we should expect from this new Godzilla film. ”We’re going to take it seriously. If this really happened, what would it really be like? There’s nothing sci-fi about this movie, it’s very grounded, realistic,” said Edwards. Not much else is known about Godzilla. The panel was short because this movie is still in early development. Yet, without a doubt, it has made a very good first impression.
It was at this point that the crowd was ready and waiting for either Man of Steel or The Hobbit, but what we got was far more surprising. Images of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanikis from The Campaign lit up the screens, followed by the two comedians coming up onstage. The two took questions from the audience and showed an extended trailer of The Campaign. The trailer may have given the entire movie away, but it can’t say that it wasn’t entertaining and pretty funny. Here’s a short clip from the panel here:
While The Campaign didn’t offer anything spectacular, it was a funny break between panels and definitely helped spread the word about the film. The Campaign releases into theaters on August 10th.
I think my life changed after watching that trailer. Everything about Man of Steel looks fantastic. It’s highly reminiscent of Batman Begins and looks/feels phenomenal. This is my second year of Comic Con, and I spent most of my time there at movie panels. This was really the first time that I had almost been brought to tears by any footage shown there. So what did we see? Well, a HELL of a lot more than what the new teaser gives you. Thanks to JoBlo.com, here’s a detailed rundown:
- …It’s a moody piece, set to Hans Zimmer’s THE THIN RED LINE score, accentuating drama and conflict. This definitely does not make being Superman look fun; at one point we even see him wandering a lonely highway, Bruce Banner-style. Other times he’s bearded, working on a dock of some kind, slumming it…
- The money shot is Superman bending down, putting his fist on the ground, then zooming upward majestically. Looks wonderful. Another moment of note is of an unbelievable explosion, cars and buildings and everything else flying upward in the air. Not sure what the context of the destruction was, but it was pretty jaw-dropping.
- There are several shots of Superman either being escorted somewhere by the military – and not in a “good” way (you get a quick peek at Christopher Meloni’s general character) – or surrendering to them. There is undoubtedly a theme of “the U.S. versus Superman” in this movie. That Superman is not necessarily seen as a hero by the government is really obvious…
- We have a few quick shots of Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as the villain… A fantastic shot shows Cavill’s Superman and Shannon’s “villain” flying toward each other vertically along a skyscraper.
- Russell Crowe has a few quotes at the front of the trailer; playing Jor-El, we see Crowe wearing a black “S” on his chest at one point, and we hear him say: “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society intended… What if a child aspired to something greater?”
- We see a bus crash into a lake, and a young Superman (as Clark Kent) saves a child’s life.
- Kevin Costner as Pa Kent is also revealed; in one shot he shows Clark what appears to be the spaceship from Krypton in a barn. “It’s not from this world, Clark,” Kent says. “Neither are you.”
- Pa Kent also says, “People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” … He also says, “You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whether that man has good character or bad, he’s going to change the world.”
- Towards the end of the teaser, you get a very brief shot of Superman putting on those famed glasses and walking in the Daily Planet lobby.
As you can see, there is a lot that the newly released trailer didn’t show. So if you aren’t impressed now, just wait. After the footage, Snyder introduced Superman himself to stage. The dashing Henry Cavill said that “this is all a dream come true.” I was able to record some moments from the panel, and you can watch them below:
This video begins with Snyder answering a fan question about a possible Justice League movie.
The chances that there might be a Justice League movie in the works is pretty exciting! With the exception of Green Lantern, WB looks like its bringing great superhero films to the big screen. Many interesting things were revealed during the Q&A. Snyder emphasizes that this Superman will be different from the previous Superman films. “How would you feel if you were Superman?” said Snyder, explaining that this film will have some depth and emotion. It was also important for him to show a more modern take on Superman and that it will be something engaging for all audiences, including those who aren’t too familiar with this particular superhero. He also confirmed that Hans Zimmer is working on the score for Man of Steel (yes!). However, Snyder was hesitant give or confirm other details. One crying fan, as you saw in the video above, asked who the villian is. Snyder refused to answer, but rectified the situation by showing the footage again (yay!). We do get a glimpse of Michael Shannon as the villain in the trailer. My best guess would be that he is General Zod, but don’t hold me to that!
Man of Steel was the biggest surprise at Comic Con, and I truly can’t wait until next summer to see it. Check out some photos from the panel on our Facebook page. Man of Steel hits theaters June 14, 2013.
The final panel of the WB line-up and probably the most eagerly anticipated of all was The Hobbit. Luckily for fans, the panel began with some behind-the-scenes footage from the set. We got interviews from actors Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom and Stephen Fry. We also got a look at the final day of production and Andy Serkis directing second unit. At the end of that particular footage, Peter Jackson came on stage and did an introduction to the panel and more movie footage. You watch his introduction below:
Sorry to cut it off short! But it kills the spirit of Comic Con when someone records footage that they are not supposed to record. Anyway, what we saw was 12.5 minutes from not just An Unexpected Journey but bits from There And Back Again. Entertainment Weekly gives a great summary of all the footage seen:
Scene 1: Gandalf and the 13 dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), debate whether Bilbo should be allowed to join their quest to reclaim their treasure from Smaug, since it’s not clear if he is clever and sneaky enough to help them break into his secret lair. Eventually, Gandalf stands firm, and Bilbo reads over the “standard” contract to join their quest, which includes clauses noting that “laceration, evisceration, [and] incineration” are possible fates for him. Bilbo faints.
Scene 2: Bilbo meets Gollum (Andy Serkis), looking (slightly) younger than he did in The Lord of the Rings but still very much gripped by his Smeagol/Gollum split personality — they debate whether to eat Bilbo, or play word games with him. Bilbo realizes his best chance of escaping the goblin tunnels alive is to play along with Gollum, so he proposes a game of riddles. If he wins, Gollum helps him out. If he loses, says Gollum, “we eats it whole.”
Scene 3: Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) asks Gandalf why he brought “the halfling” on this most unexpected journey, prompting one of Gandalf’s soul-stirring speeches about how it’s “the small deeds by ordinary folk” that best hold evil at bay. It ends with what I perceived as quite a tender moment between Galadriel and Gandalf, hinting at an unspoken ache in Gandalf’s heart for the attentions of this celestial being standing before him.
Scene 4: We see Bilbo find the fateful One Ring, and then cut to a later scene where Bilbo almost confesses to Gandalf about the new item he’s picked up on his way. “I found something in the goblin tunnels,” says Bilbo.
“What did you find?” says Gandalf, clearly concerned.
That final scene really resonated with the audience. It’s hard not to be excited for The Hobbit. Jackson introduced the rest of panelists on stage, which included producer Philippa Boyens, and stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and surprise guest Elijah Wood! As Jackson said earlier, “This is a film made by fans for fans.” That was definitely evident by the footage and all the guests in attendance. Jackson talked about how there will likely be extended cuts for the films. ”We’re not good at making short films, unfortunately,” said Jackson. Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, also served as second-unit director. He said originally he was only to work on The Hobbit for two weeks, but once Jackson asked him to direct second unit, those two weeks turned into one and half years. Yet, Serkis, like everyone else, looks very proud and excited by all the work done for The Hobbit. New to the Lord of the Rings franchise, Martin Freeman was asked if he felt intimidated by the cast and/or crew. Freeman responded by saying that he never felt intimidated, and if he did, that wouldn’t have helped his work. Despite how talented the cast and crew is, I’m not surprised when Freeman describes them as welcoming.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out on December 14, 2012. Check out photos from the panel on our Facebook page!
And that is a wrap on the epic Warner Bros./Legendary panel! Overall, one of the best panels presented at Comic Con, definitely the best one of SDCC 2012. It was obvious that these were the two studios that cared the most about Comic Con and gave us something worth lining up hours before to see. Here’s to hoping there’s another presentation as fantastic as this next year!
Which of these films are you most excited for? Leave a comment or tweet me (@GabrielleAdelle)!