Seven Things To Be Excited About at SDCC

It is that time of year where the internet virtually catches fire with breaking news and can-you-believe-it announcements from the greatest place on earth. San Diego Comic Con has become the go-to for promoting new films, television series, and multi-media projects. What was once an esoteric (maybe even arcane) event, SDCC is now the biggest mainstream promotional event in the world. New York and Seattle are great events but there is an aura surrounding SDCC (known simply as “comic con”) because SDCC is the place where fans are whipped into a frenzy panel after panel by teasing producers who have learned that the way to create a buzz is good old-fashioned word of mouth. So long as it’s done at comic con. Then word of mouth becomes internet chatter. You get the point.

With literally dozens of projects being announced this weekend, listing them all is a Herculean effort. One site, theverge.com, has done a terrific job of highlighting just about everything to watch for and was my chief source in selecting which information to deliver to you. Here are a handful of things that you should be excited for – some announced earlier this week, some rumored for today, Saturday, which is the day at SDCC. While Marvel has stolen the show in recent years…correction: Marvel films have stolen the show in recent years (somewhere along the lines the “comic” part of “comic con” fell by the wayside), much of what-to-look-for this year comes not from Marvel but from other giants in the industry.

 7. Ridley Scott’s “Halo: Nightfall”

halo nightfall If you attended college (or sat on a couch anywhere) in the past 20 years, you played Halo. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter: you played Halo. Or you sat on a couch while your boyfriend played, wondering if your friend’s boyfriends wasted their time like this. They did, sorry. As long as Master Chief has been blasting his way through our X-Boxes, there has been talk of bringing Halo to another medium. Microsoft has finally unveiled the trailer for a live-action Halo series, executive produced by Ridley Scott. Notice that Scott aesthetic?

6. Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”

interstellar-christopher-nolan-poster-1 Hilarious because, five years ago, if I said that I was excited for an upcoming Matthew McConaughey space movie you’d probably be closing your browser right about now. McConaughey has shown us that he is capable of magic recently in Mud, Killer Joe, Dallas Buyers Club, and the unmatched True Detective. So we are right to be excited for his upcoming turn in a film that Nolan has called his “largest” in scope. Pretty strong choice of words considering this is the man who gave us Inception and made it easily digestible. Plot details are very scarce but we know that in addition to McConaughey, Anne Hathaway (I know, I know but she was good as Catwoman), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, and Matt Damon also star. Nolan made a surprise appearance at SDCC yesterday to discuss just how big this film will be. Check out the trailer.

5. DC Comics with the 1-2-3 Small-screen punch

 Gotham-TV-Show-Fox-Logo constantine-banner-1280jpg-a2a402_1280wthe flash

(Photo credits: screenrant.com, ign.com, dailymail.uk.net)

DC films – Batman trilogy aside – have ranged from visually stunning but hollow (Man of Steel) to flat out steaming garbage one would find behind a Chinese restaurant (Green Lantern). Yet they have had success on the small-screen with Arrow on CW. They are returning to the small screen with three new series: The Flash and Constantine, both airing in October and Gotham airing in September. The Flash will premiere on the CW and will tie into Arrow and it looks very much like an earnest adaptation of the comic. Constantine is very interesting. The movie was a flop and it was wholly unfaithful to the source material but the show looks slightly more true to the scheming, physically unimposing, sleazy John Constantine of the books. Airing on NBC in October, Constantine is proof that occult subject matter has become mainstream because this sort of show would have been relegated to ScyFy and low production value just a few short years ago. Gotham will feature the rise of Commissioner Gordon and based on that premise it could be fantastic or a steaming pile of shit. We shall see.

The Flash

Constantine

http://youtu.be/uPE2oBnzROY

Gotham

http://youtu.be/yV2RUFJIT4k

4. Marvel – OK, fine.

antman

(Photo credit: ign.com)

While we can most certainly expect to hear about Avengers: Age of Ultron, what’s more exciting is the possibility that Marvel (almost always on Saturday at SDCC) will break out the big guns and reveal details about a few of their upcoming films, notably Ant Man (starring Paul Rudd) and Dr. Strange. While the early glimpses of Ant Man look fun and promising, it is Dr. Strange that has the most exciting potential and that is because of director Scott Derrickson. Derrickson is an interesting pick because his track record is mixed though, the films of his that weren’t good (The Day The Earth Stood Still remake) look more  like examples of big-studio fuck-ups than poor directing. As for his credibility: The Exorcism of Emily Rose was phenomenal and Sinister was a solid horror film. He might just be the man for the job.

3. Game of Thrones

Game_of_thrones_cast

(Photo credit: ew.com)

Word is the panel was highly entertaining and that John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) stole the show. When questioned about male nudity, he said that if he were to get naked, fans would get a 2-for-1 because they’d be getting boobs too. That’s funny. While there was the typical hemming and hawing and “when will you be done with Winds of Winter, George?” during the panel, we learned the identities of new cast members for Season Five.  Most notably, we learned that Jonathan Pryce will portray the High Sparrow and that the Sand Snakes (bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell) will be played by Jessica Henwick (Nymeria Sand), Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (Tyene Sand), and Keisha Castle-Hughes (Obara Sand).

Introducing the new cast:

Season Four Blooper Reel:

2. The Walking Dead

the-walking-dead-maggie

(Photo credit: best-horror-movies.com)

The new trailer looks like the show is taking an even darker (how is that possible?!) turn. One of the strongest adaptations in recent memory is taking on a life of its own, deviating enough from the source material to surprise readers of the comic (I cried when Andrea died) but staying true enough to the look of the characters (holy shit did they nail Abraham’s look!) to satisfy all parties. TWD has achieved what all adapted shows hope for because it is one of the few endeavors that even the most prickly comic book nerds can sit back and watch and feel as though they are seeing something new. Cast members like Lauren Cohan (Maggie) have made comments about the gritty and visceral nature of the upcoming season, going so far as to say that she has no idea how some of what they’re shooting will make it to television. Here is the trailer for the new season…Jesus…

http://youtu.be/j4GAs9TJVjM

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max

(Photo credit: ramascreen.com)

charlize mad max

(Photo credit: ew.com)

This has been a long time coming but it will be featured at this year’s SDCC with a first look coming today. Remaking a sci-fi classic is always controversial because often, the best sci-fi is story and character driven and a lack of effects creates an unforgettable aesthetic. Blade Runner and Road Warrior are the two clearest examples of that. BUT, Mad Max: Fury Road looks sharp. The film promises few digital effects and the cast is stellar, lead by the talented and extremely versatile Tom Hardy (as Max) and Charlize Theron (Imperator Furiosa). Nicholas Holt (who has dazzled as Hank McCoy in the X-Men films) also stars.

 

1. (tie) Mass Effect 4

me4

(Photo credit: ign.com)

Bioware will have a panel, a Mass Effect panel (!) at SDCC this year. Mass Effect 4 was scarcely mentioned at this year’s E3 and many fans were disgruntled. Titled “Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect,” the panel will feature producers, the lead animator, the senior artist, and ME Community manager. Fans are also hopeful that we will finally be given a release date for the game which Bioware says will not be a reboot, rather a continuation of the ME universe. Check out this video featuring a few early screen shots and some discussion about the game:

A few odds and ends: Look for news and announcements about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Sin City 2.

 

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Matt Forster

Originally from Miami, FL, Matt graduated with a B.A. in History from Randolph-Macon College in 2004. He is the author of Perfect Dark, a musician, and an all-around strange person. He resides in Asheville, NC with his wife and two dogs. Follow him @Dalton_Forster

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