It's a good time for monsters and superheroes right now, if the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures panel at Comic-Con 2012 have anything to do with it. Inside a packed Hall H with moderator Chris Hardwick, fans were treated to a first look at films like The Hobbit, Pacific Rim, Godzilla and Man of Steel, along with surprise appearances for The Campaign.
The invading monsters came first with director Guillermo Del Toro and the cast of Pacific Rim, including Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi. The exclusive footage from Pacific Rim shown was jam packed with enormous robots fighting kaiju monsters in the sea, with Del Toro explaining how the Jaegers worked with two humans each controlling the left and right brain of the robot to function as a single entity. We saw how suited characters stood side by side and swung their arms in synchronized movements to move the Jaegers around. As Chris Hardwick said after the footage was shown, "#holyshit!"
Del Toro explained how this project came to him "like a big, fat, obscene Christmas gift at a time when I needed it." He was inspired by the setting of monsters and robots the size of skyscrapers, and "the speculation of what would happen in the real world if they were there."
Other details revealed about the kaiju was that they had originally designed 40 monsters and through an American Idol-esque competition, pared them down to a final nine. Like the six or seven Jaegers in the film, each creature has a unique ability. But don't expect to see any familiar faces: "Every monster was created for the movie and we designed them from the inside out, to feel like physical entities." No motion capture was used to create the movements of the robots because he wanted them to move as if they were real, built with shock absorbers and gears. So what happens if one of the two humans controlling the Jaegers dies? You'll just have to see what happens!
Don't forget the other monster. The lights of Hall H were dimmed again for a mysterious, dusty look at one creature's path of destruction. Crushed skyscrapers. A flatten train with bodies scattered across the ground. A long tail. Godzilla! Director Gareth Edwards joined the stage with Legendary's Thomas Tull to explain how they were going forward with the Godzilla remake.
Tull said, "I've loved Godzilla since I was a kid and we just wanted to see a kick-ass Godzilla movie." Fair enough. As for Edwards, he promises that they are taking this film "really seriously" and that "there's nothing sci-fi about this movie. It's very grounded and realistic." He was so close to tears from seeing the fan reaction that he admitted, "I've never worked so long and so hard and been invested emotionally in something like this." And for that, Hardwick gave him a hug.
Man Of Steel
So what's Superman been up to? With director Zach Snyder and star Henry Cavill, we were finally given the chance to see exclusive trailer from Man of Steel, with glimpses of Clark Kent as a teenager during a school bus disaster, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Amy Adams as Lois Lane--as well as a look inside the Daily Planet lobby. All the classic Superman elements were there but with a different take. Snyder said, "I felt like Superman needed to be re-introduced to a generation and thought this was a great opportunity. "Superman was always put on a pedestal so the challenge was to answer the question, "What would you do if you were Superman? How would you feel?"
This means the reboot will be starting fresh, so don't look for any familiar details like the iconic theme song. "We had to act as if no film had been made, even though we loved the films that had been made. When we approached it, we had to say 'This is a superman movie for the first time.'"
But no, Snyder would not reveal who the villain was. Boo.
To lighten things up a bit, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis appeared on stage to surprise the crowd. A teaser trailer explained the premise of their new comedy, The Campaign, where the two fight to win a seat in the Senate. Ferrell explained that this was a comedy about "how crazy politics can be today." He plays Cam Brady, "the lazy incumbent and Zach [as Marty Huggins] is outside-the-beltway candidate who's running against me." Also, The Campaign is "only 22 minutes long, it's really short, so you can go and see it 9 times in a day, and not feel exhausted." Ha! Expect characters reminiscent of Ferrell's Bush impersonation and Galifianakis' brother, Seth...along with some baby punching.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Finally! It's time for some Middle-earth action. Peter Jackson joined the stage (with his camera to shoot the crowd for a new production vlog) and after writer Philippa Boyens and cast members like Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage (and Elijah Wood!) joined the stage, we were finally given over 12 and a half minutes of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The compilation of scenes provided solid looks at the various characters and lands from the movie, including Bilbo Baggins dealing with a table of dwarves and Gandalf, the return of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Legolas, as well as the first meeting between Bilbo and Gollum in the cave where he discovers the infamous Ring. The footage was both exciting and comforting in that fans were assured they were back in good hands with Peter Jackson, that no detail was ignored and that our return to Middle-earth would be just as fun as it was in Lord of the Rings. And who can resist a brand new adventure?
In the Q&A portion, we learned a few new details about The Hobbit:
- Boyens and Jackson did notice the lack of strong female characters, which is why they brought Galadriel into the story, as well as created Tauriel, a new Elf portrayed by Evangline Lilly.
- Peter Jackson will be shooting his cameo in the film after Comic-Con 2012, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
- Armitage described the challenges of wearing prosthetics for his role as Thorin. He said, "You have to work your face harder. On day one, I didn't think I was going to make it but by the end of the journey, I couldn't work without it. I didn't recognize the person underneath it."
- They won't be adapting The Silmarillion anytime soon. Jackson explained that the book is owned by the Tolkien estate: " I don't think they like the movies at all. I don't think that's going to happen for a long time." Sad face.
- Andy Serkis, who not only plays Gollum but also directed the second unit, treated the fans to Gollum's voice. It was definitely creepy.
The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey opens in December, 2012.