COMIC-CON 2013: MY TOP TEN HIGHLIGHTS

25 July 2013

By Elizabeth Campbell

Every year, for one weekend, the eyes of the great and the geek turn to settle on one convention, when the biggest names in comics, films, TV, books and games all descend on the city of San Diego. Welcome to SDCC!

With so much happening all at once it can be hard to keep up, and having been away for the weekend I missed everything that happened beyond 5pm last Friday, so I’ve spent a lot of my free time this past week playing catch-up. Since I’ve been reading all the news stories coming out of SDCC, I offered to attempt the impossible and put together a list of my personal Top 10 from 2013 San Diego Comic Con.

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1.  The Walking Dead and some great news for fans of David S. Goyer!

The 6,500 fans who attended The Walking Dead panel were treated to the very first footage from Season 4, along with the news that the first half of the series premieres on October 13th.  Team Tor is particularly excited to hear that David S. Goyer will be directing an upcoming episode, although there’s no further information yet – we can’t wait to find out more! Actor David Morrissey was on hand to discuss his character, The Governor, who of course features in the first of our Walking Dead novelizations, The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. You can watch a video of the whole panel over on Blastr.

2.  Team Moffat

Despite adhering to a strict ‘if we tell you, we’ll have to kill you’ policy (at least if you weren’t actually in the room for the panels), Steven Moffat and his crew of collaborators – Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman – were visible throughout the weekend and managed to make an impact early on at the Con. Fans lucky enough to be in the room for the Sherlock panel were treated to unfinished footage from the second episode of Series 3, The Sign of Three, as well as a video message from Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. For those attending the Doctor Who panel there was a trailer for Mark Gatiss’ An Adventure in Space and Time, with star David Bradley also in attendance and the very first trailer for the 50th Anniversary special. Unfortunately for the rest of us, everyone attending was asked to keep quiet about what they saw!

3.  More David S. Goyer news!

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Obviously stepping into the director’s chair for The Walking Dead wasn’t quite enough for Tor author David S. Goyer, it was officially announced he’s working with Zack Snyder to write the story of an as-yet-untitled film uniting Batman and Superman onscreen, and will then write the screenplay. The film is scheduled for release in summer 2015 and while it’s expected that Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Laurence Fishburne will all reprise their roles, there’s no news about who will play Batman.

Let discussion commence!

For more David S. Goyer check out our recent interview with him about his films, books and graphic novels for the release of Man of Steel.

4.  Everything Marvel!

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Alright, this one’s a bit of a cheat. I’m combining all the separate Marvel panels into one item, otherwise they’d take up half this Top 10 alone.

Following on from the Warner Bros. panel on Saturday, came a series of panels for the next films in Marvel Studio’s Phase 2 sequence – Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Plus, the full title of the sequel to Avengers Assemble was announced by Joss Whedon (and more from him later) – Avengers: Age of Ultron – and there was a screening of Agent Carter, with Hayley Atwell returning to her character from the first Captain America film.  However, for me, it was actor Tom Hiddleston who stole the show by appearing in full Loki regalia, addressing the room with a cry of ‘Say my name!’ before introducing the Thor 2 footage (although Karen Gillen revealing her newly shaved head for Guardians of the Galaxy comes a close second).

5.  All things TV related

As ever at Comic Con, there were loads of panels for TV shows both past, present and future. Highlights include Bryan Fuller and Hugh Dancy adorned in flower crowns at the Hannibal panel (yes, really), a 20th anniversary reunion panel for The X-Files – no return to TV but Gillian Anderson at least would be interested in a third film – and a surprise screening of the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Marvel panel, with appearances by Clark Gregg, Ming-Na and Chloe Bennett. Altogether now: ‘Coulson lives!’

6.  Halo: Escalation

halo_2It’s great to see the expansion of the Halo universe continue ever upwards. Following the announcement of a Stephen Spielberg produced live-action TV series (at the Xbox One reveal in May) and further Halo novelisations, Dark Horse Comics announcement at SDCC that they’ll be publishing a monthly comic series based on the storyline introduced in Halo 4, called Halo: Escalation. This is the first ongoing series based on the game, although a mini-series, Halo: Initiation will be released on 14th August.

7.  X-Men: Days of Future Past

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In a surprise at the end of the
Wolverine panel, Hugh Jackman introduced Bryan Singer with the claim that he was behind a recent smaller indie project. However, what followed was anything but small. Not only was there screening of the first footage from the film, but afterwards the (huge) cast of the film all came out onstage for a panel, along with the writer and producers. There are also some clever new character posters for Magneto and Professor X mashing up both young and old versions of the characters which were released this week. The best moment from the panel for me has to be James McAvoy's insistence that he looks great in this film (despite the 1970s setting...). Anyway, you can judge for yourself thanks to the photos Bryan Singer has been tweeting. What do you think?.  

 8. Warcraft

There’s not much known yet about Duncan Jones’ big screen adaptation of Warcraft but at the Legendary panel there was a sneak peak at a ‘tone piece’.  Production is due to start in 2014. While game-to-film adaptations don’t have the best track record, Duncan Jones' first films, Moon and Source Code, are both great, and as someone who has spent far too many hours attempting to kill Murlocs and Gnolls, I’m hoping he’ll pull this one off.

9.  Nerd HQ

Outside the usual panels run by the big name studios, Chuck star Zachary Levi has been organizing Nerd HQ for a couple of years now for his online community, The Nerd Machine. A ‘convention within a convention’ Nerd HQ hosted Q&A panels with some of the biggest names at SDCC, called 'Conversations with a Cause', and raising money for charity with proceeds from ticket sales go to Operation Smile (last year raising $140,000). Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion both helped Levi host, and guests included Tom Hiddleston, Joss Whedon, Mark Gatiss, Richard Madden, Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, and Steven Moffat. You can catch up on all the conversations via their Youtube channel.

10. The Zero Theorem

thezerotheoremcc1Terry Gilliam films are always worth watching and his latest sounds to be vintage Gilliam. Although there’s no confirmed release date yet, fans were granted a look at a sizzle reel as well as the first ten minutes of the film, starring Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw and Matt Damon. The ‘Zero Theorem’ of the title is a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning, with Christoph Waltz’s reclusive computer genius Qohen Leth plagued with existential angst and working on the mysterious project. You can read a full run down of the footage over on Coming Soon.

Of course, there’s loads of great SDCC things that aren’t mentioned here. Team Tor itself was represented, with Paul Cornell taking part in a variety of panels and events, including ‘World Building and Story Development’ with a group of urban fantasy writers and ‘The Blank Page Project’.

And so the dust settles on SDCC 2013. What about you? Let us know what you’re excited about, what should be in this list, what shouldn’t be in this list, and what you wish had happened but didn’t!