Highlights from Comic-Con 2015
Comic-Con has been the go-to event for comic book, sci-fi and fantasy genre enthusiasts since it was founded in 1970. It is a 4-day event held in San Diego, California from a Thursday to a Sunday each year. This year it was held from 9 to 12 July. There are also preview events held on the Wednesday evening for professionals, exhibitors and selected guests. In recent years it has attracted around 130,000 attendees and is currently the largest of its kind in the world.
Here are the top four trailers and reveals that caught the attention of the media at this year’s Comic-Con:
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
This may be one of the most anticipated panels to be held at Comic-Con 2015. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is directed by J.J. Abrams (known for shows like Alias and Lost, and the new-generation Star Trek movies) and will be released on 18 December 2015. There was no new trailer shown this time around as two have already been released earlier this year. Instead, fans were treated to exciting and insightful behind-the-scenes footage of the film being made.
Actors of the original Star Wars franchise, including Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fischer (Leia), will be returning to the big screen alongside a host of new faces. Fans are also delighted that the new Star Wars movie will feature a lot of practical effects (puppetry and real-life sets), and steer away from using too much CGI. According to J.J. Abrams, it is a way of paying respect to the fans, the original source material and the characters that so many people consider as being part of the family.
The panel at Comic-Con had a surprise ending when J.J. Abrams handed out lanyards to all 6,500 attendees to go to a concert by the San Diego Symphony. The lucky attendees were led out by Stormtroopers and John Williams, the composer who created the famous Imperial March theme song, greeted them as they entered the concert area.
Any regular gamer will no doubt be familiar with World of Warcraft (WoW), a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that has been in existence since 2004. In 2006 a full-length live-action film about the game was announced and fans were obviously extremely excited. However, that excitement soon started to wane when many problems prevented the start of production and people believed that the project was dead before it even got off the ground.
In 2014 production of Warcraft finally commenced under the direction of Duncan Jones (known for films Source Code and Moon) and was wrapped later that same year. The plot of the movie is said to be the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with emphasis placed on both the Alliance’s and the Horde’s sides of their conflict.
Duncan Jones has been going to Comic-Con events with the Warcraft movie for three consecutive years, but in that time not much about the movie has been shown aside from concept art. This time a visual teaser trailer was shown. It was not released to the public, but shortly after its debut it was leaked online. The trailer was praised for its stunning visual effects, although many have said that the plot seems confusing and convoluted in a way that only true fans of the game will likely understand. This may make it a hard sell for those not familiar with WoW.
It was at first set to be released in December 2015, but since it was going to clash with the release of Star Wars it was moved to June 2016.
Deadpool is a beloved Marvel Comics anti-hero that is known for being one of the few characters to break the fourth wall — where a character speaks directly to the audience or reader. Deadpool’s back-story is known to be vague and subject to changes due to gaps in the character’s memory. The main character is former Special Forces operator Wade Wilson who was subjected to a rogue experiment that gave him accelerated healing powers (think Wolverine but even better). He then adopted the alter-ego Deadpool as part of a quest to hunt down the man who almost destroyed his life.
Deadpool is most well-known for having a very twisted and dark sense of humour, something that fans were scared would be lost if a film was to be made. However, that fear was quelled when it was announced that the movie would be R-rated. Some would think this is an odd thing to be excited about but the character of Deadpool is nothing without his vulgar motor mouth.
It was very obvious from the Comic-Con panel for Deadpool that fans would not be let down. First-time director Tim Miller was clearly very emotional about the script, the cast was full of jokes that fit perfectly in with the Deadpool characters and the trailer got an encore from the audience, something not often seen.
Deadpool fans will have to wait until February 2016 for the film’s official release. And don’t think you’ll be seeing a good quality trailer any time soon as the panel trailer was not released online (although it will probably be leaked at some point).
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman and Superman are two of DC Comics’ most well-known and revered superheroes. This movie will be a follow-up to Man of Steel as part of DC Comics’ shared universe films. In this much-anticipated movie release Batman and Superman will clash for the first time ever in a live-action film.
Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel, 300 and Watchmen) will be heading up the production of the film and it stars Ben Affleck as Batman (a casting choice that was not welcomed by fans) and the return of Henry Cavill as Superman.
The film’s plot revolves around Batman travelling from Gotham City to Metropolis (the home of Superman) to keep an eye on the flying superhero, fearing that he has gotten out-of-control. While the two powers fight, a new threat arrives that they have to confront together.
During Comic-Con it was revealed that Gotham City and Metropolis will be placed right next to each other with Metropolis being the wealthy city and Gotham being the home of the downtrodden. Also Batman is seen wearing a metal suit (called a “mech suit”) that in essence doesn’t enhance his powers but is rather a way of him protecting himself and buying him time when fighting.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice panel showed a trailer that featured the corpse of General Zod (a fellow Kryptonian said to be Superman’s greatest enemy), a vandalised Robin suit hinting that Joker may have killed him, and a first glimpse of Wonder Woman creating a shockwave with her wrist guards. The trailer also showed Lex Luthor to be in possession of a shard of Kryptonite — Superman’s only weakness.
Fans will have to wait until 25 March 2016 to get a view of the full-length feature film.
Other Comic-Con 2015 highlights:
- Suicide Squad – this is the third installment in DC Comics’ shared-universe films and is essentially an anti-hero film. Not much is known about the plot but it will follow members of the Suicide Squad (Joker, Harley Quinn, Boomerang, Deadshot and others) when they are hired by the government for a dangerous mission. If they succeed, their criminal records will be wiped clean.
- Ash vs Evil Dead – Ash Williams, the lead character from the lauded Evil Dead franchise, makes his return more than 30 years after the first film was released. In this horror sitcom by Sam Riami and Bruce Campbell, Ash is still the trash-talking know-it-all that fans have grown to love and will be making mince meat of zombies while struggling with post-traumatic stress caused by his previous zombie encounters.
- The Hateful Eight – the praised cult director Quentin Tarantino (from Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs fame) is releasing a new film in December 2015. The plot revolves around bounty hunters trying to survive a blizzard and is set a few years after the American Civil War. It is said to be an homage to the golden era of film. The release will be like a roadshow and will be screened in 70mm film.
- Walking Dead – a trailer for this popular zombie television show was released at Comic-Con. The new season will feature more zombies than ever before alongside a showdown between the main protagonist Rick Grimes and Morgan Jones, a former ally of Rick’s group. Season 6 will be released on 11 October 2015.