It's July, which means the pop culture monstrosity that is San Diego Comic-Con is once again upon us. This year's incarnation of the annual epic geekfest once again brings the stars (and marketing teams) of several upcoming Hollywood genre offerings to the huge meeting room that is Hall H, a place where over 5,000 fans can sit and watch exclusive trailers and clips and listen to cast and crew members tell tales of their respective cinematic adventures.
The lineup for 2013 is relatively low-key as compared to last year's overstuffed program (several thousand fans waited in line for Hall H literally all day on Saturday and still didn't get in), with some rather notable no-shows, including "Elysium," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," "Ninja Turtles," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." However, there are still plenty of panels to keep things lively at the San Diego Convention Center ...
Thursday, 7/18, 1:10PM-2:20PM, Hall H
It's "The Blair Witch Project" in space! This panel for the low-budget found-footage space exploration thriller will feature the film's cast and crew alongside scientists involved with a NASA concept for a real robotic spacecraft, the Europa Clipper. Participants include director Sebastian Cordero, composer Bear McCreary, producer Ben Browning and actress Karolina Wydra, alongside JPL scientists Steve Vance and Kevin Hand. Sadly, no Sharlto Copley, who plays one of the astronauts.
"Ender's Game" and "Divergent" (Summit Entertainment)
Thursday, 7/18, 3:50-4:50PM, Hall H
The panel for the big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 1985 sci-fi novel (which has just recently stirred up some controversy) will feature exclusive footage from the film and a Q&A with stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin, along with producer Roberto Orci and director Gavin Hood. Fans will also be treated to the first-ever footage from "Divergent," based on Veronica Roth's YA novel, as well as a Q&A with Roth, director Neil Burger and cast members Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Ansel Elgort, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lamb, Ben Lloyd-Hughes and Christian Madsen.
"The World's End"
Friday, 7/19, 10AM-11AM, Hall H
Behold the apocalypse, as seen by the guys who made "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will chat up their epic "Barmaggedon," which hits theaters on August 23.
"Kick-Ass 2" and "Riddick" (Universal)
Friday, 7/19, 12:15PM, Hall H
The Universal panel will include a look at the DIY superhero sequel, which hits theaters on August 16. The specific panelists from the all-star cast haven't been announced, though we have a feeling that Jim Carrey won't be in attendance. Also, Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista and writer/director David Twohy will be present to chat up this fall's "Riddick," the follow-up to "The Chronicles of Riddick" (2004) and "Pitch Black" (2000).
Warner Bros. Panel
Saturday, 7/20, 10:45AM-1:15PM, Hall H
Better get in line early for this one — like, starting now. The WB panel includes a look at "Godzilla," the new rebirth of the King of the Monsters directed by "Monsters" helmer Gareth Edwards; a sneak peak at the fantasy adventure "Seventh Son" starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore; an early battle cry for next spring's "300: Rise of an Empire," directed by Noam Murro and starring Eva Green and "Game of Thrones" beauty Lena Headey; a blast-off to "Gravity," the sci-fi thriller directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney; and the first look at "The LEGO Movie," the first-ever feature-length theatrical LEGO adventure, built by co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("21 Jump Street").
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "I, Frankenstein" (Lionsgate)
Saturday, 7/20, 1:35PM-2:35PM, Hall H
Just hold on to that seat in Hall H all day, as directly following the WB panel comes a look at "I, Frankenstein," director/writer Stuart Beattie's adaptation of the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. And after that, the cast of "The Hunger Games" comes to Hall H for the first time to promote "Catching Fire," which hits theaters in November.
"Thor: The Dark World" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (Marvel)
Saturday, 7/20, 6PM-7PM, Hall H
Saturday at Comic-Con winds down once again with arguably the most highly anticipated panel of the entire four-day event. The Marvel panel will feature looks at the next two installments in the studio's cinematic Phase Two: "Thor: The Dark World," opening November 8, and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," opening April 4, 2014. As this is a Marvel panel, expect some surprises as well — maybe confirmation on those "Black Panther" rumors we've been hearing and casting news on "Marvel's The Avengers 2"? Excelsior!