The popularity of the superhero movie, mega celebrities and fan service has moved the once “nerds-only” convention from relative obscurity to the front and centre of mainstream pop culture. I was not amongst those lucky souls who attended the convention this year (…*sigh*…maybe next year…), but, this year’s San Diego Comic Con (#SDCC) drew a record number of attendees and gave everyone major #FOMO.
Twitter was all “atwitter” with excited fans sharing the latest and greatest in fandom footage and information. It’s no secret that rival superhero factories DC and Marvel have an impressive, if not overwhelming number of movies coming out in the next few years. In the interest of front line marketing and fan frenzy, panels hosted big name stars and excellent footage to thrill even the most skeptical of fans. Here’s what we learned, what was trending and what I’m most excited about:
- Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman v. Superman topped social media mentions over all other SDCC events and panels on the strength of its trailer release on Saturday. As of Monday morning, the trailer had generated 18.6 million views on YouTube and 17.7 million views on Facebook. The panel featured the Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams, (Lois Lane), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) and BATFLECK! The trailer gives us a ton of destruction, brooding and finally – some context and story!
I’ve been very vocal about my apprehension regarding Batman VS Superman, mainly, my issues with one Zack Snyder – and the much too recent “reboot” of a very well executed Batman franchise. All arguments aside, the trailer looks really great, and has actually amped up the excitement for a lot of naysayers. I’m actually quite curious to see Ben Affleck’s portrayal of a hardened Batman. Mind you… the critical failure Man of Steel (also helmed by Zack Snyder) had an excellent trailer, but left us with a mess of a movie.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
No other panel paid as much respect or fan service as the Star Wars panel at SDCC. Star Wars is going to be a juggernaut at the box office. Admittedly, minimal information or footage of the new installment of the Star Wars series would have pleased fans and dominated social media. I was surprised and unbelievely pleased to see the consideration and love that the cast and crew gave back to the fans. The panel event went above and beyond everyone’s expectations, featuring the new cast members (Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma), writer/director J.J. Abrams, and the original Star Wars trifecta: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford! We also got a sneak peak at some behind the scenes footage in the making of the new film!
And even with all that…there was more…they threw a free concert for 6,000 fans who had already seen a kick-ass presentation. Flanked by Storm Troopers, fans were marched to a marina where the San Diego Symphony played John Williams’ score accompanied by fireworks. *SLOW. CLAP.* With so much enthusiasm from the cast, crew and crowd, everyone is definitely looking forward to the new Star Wars film.
- Fantastic Four
Marvel Studios has dominated Comic Con in recent years, with back to back releases of some huge films. This year, Marvel Studios wasn’t present for any of its upcoming titles featuring the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – instead, 20th Century Fox showed up with its own onslaught of Marvel characters.
Despite a cool cast, and an August release date, there’s not really a lot of hype for the Fantastic Four reboot. The trailer looks a lot better than what we’ve seen so far….but the studio has already scrapped plans for a 3D release. “Fantastic Four”?…. maybe we’ll stick with “Adequate Four”.
- X-Men: Apocalypse
It’s the 80’s and the X-Men are back to battle the most powerful mutant in existence – Apocalypse. Introduced by Hugh “The Wolverine” Jackman, the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse surprised fans at SDCC.
The panel included First Class alumni James McAvoy (Professor Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto) (*fans self*), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Lucas Til (Havok), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), and Nicholas Hoult (Beast), director Bryan Singer, and the “new” members of the X-Men family, Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), Olivia Munn (Psylocke), Ben Hardy (Angel), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Lana Condor (Jubilee). That’s a HUGE cast…and also a lot of really talented actors. The X-Men franchise is one of my favorites from the Marvel catalogue. The official trailer is still on its way, but from what’s leaked, we’ll be introduced to our “original” X-Men – and McAvoy’s Professor X will finally go full Patrick Stewart levels of bald! I cannot wait for this installment.
The panel also included appearances by Channing Tatum, who’ll be taking on the role of Gambit in a stand-alone film, and Stan Lee!
Ryan Reynolds has been obsessed with getting a Deadpool movie made for quite some time. He’s invested so much into the character that it seems he and Deadpool may have become one and the same (as evidenced by his awesome twitter feed).
Deadpool, in comic book form, is a crass, hilarious and absolutely badass anti-hero. Based on the reactions from SDCC, it seems that they got it right. The trailer has been leaked online (still waiting on an official release) and shows some over-the-top action, meta-humor and R-Rated violence…everything that fans are looking for. Also…Reynolds will finally be able to make amends for The Green Lantern.
- Suicide Squad
While heroes may be all the rage, DC and Warner Bros are making way for the bad guys. The much anticipated Suicide Squad trailer was unveiled…and it’s pretty damn great.
For those who don’t know, the premise for the film (based on comics) involves the recruitment of some of the deadliest villains in DC Comics lore to embark on dangerous missions for a government agency. The gang of baddies features Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Adewale Akinnuouye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, and Jared Leto as a stellar looking Joker.
This film will exist in the same universe as Batman v. Superman – expanding DC Comics’ cinematic universe.
…. There was, of course, a lot more to see at SDCC, including panels for Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight starring Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak starring Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and many, many more. As always, fandom reigns supreme at Comic Con.