Most sequels will claim to be bigger than their predecessor, but when it comes to Skyfall , it’s true. James Bond’s 23rd adventure will be the first film in the series to get an IMAX release, and Comic-Con attendees were treated to an exclusive ‘remix’ of the trailer.
Rather than just showing off action scenes (including a ‘train meets crane’ collision), the trailer actually dropped some intriguing nuggets of plot info (which are harder to get hold of than state secrets, as far as Bond movies are concerned).
Judi Dench’s M played a key role in the bits we saw, as it seems as though a data drive in her care – containing the identities of every British intelligence agent – have fallen into the wrong hands. That leaves Bond with one hell of a challenge, and adds resonance to his line that closes the trailer , “Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” And it goes some way to explaining those Union Jack draped coffins…
It wasn’t all gloom, though. Whoops filled the hall when Craig dropped a signature, “Bond, James Bond.” And it was nice to see Naomie Harris in full-on badass mode, as well as getting an official intro to Ben Whishaw’s Q .
Read more on Skyfall at totalfilm.com/skyfall
Oz: The Great And Powerful
Sam Raimi’s first blockbuster since Spider-Man 3 (and his first movie full-stop since Drag Me To Hell ), Oz: The Great And Powerful aired its first footage at Comic-Con 2012 (and happily for those who weren’t in San Diego, it’s available online ).
For a sizeable release that’s arriving early next year, Oz has been kept tightly under wraps, so the trailer provided our first look at the opposing worlds of the movie (and its characters), the black-and-white opening showing reverence (and a big top-hat tip) to The Wizard Of Oz .
“It’s different than anything I’ve ever done,” Raimi told us, explaining, “I’ve never done a family picture but I loved the screenplay.” He also confirmed that his old Evil Dead buddy Bruce Campbell would be making a cameo.
The Alice In Wonderland aesthetic of the fantasy world of Oz has divided online opinion, though there was evidently a lot of love for Raimi in Hall H…
Read more on Oz at totalfilm.com/oz-the-great-and-powerful
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Breaking Dawn - Part 2 may not be in cinemas until November, but by now, you’ll already know if you’ll be seeing it or not. In fact you’ll either have midnight screening tickets booked, or you’ll have sworn an oath to scrape your own eyes out before you see it, but there’s no denying that the saga has been a central fixture of ‘Cons over the years, and will leave a big gap to be plugged next year.
This year’s Twilight presence was tainted with tragedy, as fan and Comic-Con attendee Gisela Gagliardi was killed in a traffic accident close to the convention centre on Tuesday 10 July 2012.
The footage screened this year focussed mainly on the newly-vampiric Bella, and her emerging taste for animal flesh. Read our full Breaking Dawn - Part 2 footage breakdown .
It’s a relief to see Bella given more to do than just mope and be rescued, and there were some glints of humour that suggested this final instalment could be less dour than its forebears.
And Stephenie Meyer fans were treated to a surprise glimpse of The Host , starring Saoirse Ronan, which is a possible contender to take on the Twilight baton.
The footage we saw mixed a clean clinical world, with raw, gritty flashbacks, and left us wanting more.
For more on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 , visit totalfilm.com/the-twilight-saga-breaking-dawn-part-2
Four years ago, South African-born director Neill Blomkamp brought his debut feature, District 9 , to Comic-Con ’08, with the support of Peter Jackson.
This year, he rocked up with his latest politically-tinged sci-fi actioner, Elysium . The impact of his first film has helped Blomkamp to assemble quite a cast, with a (bald-headed) Matt Damon leading as Max, and Jodie Foster showing up as Secretary Rhodes.
As there’s been so little promo material released so far, we were thrilled to get a glimpse at some footage. We saw Max imprisoned after a run-in with some police droids, before he’s exposed to deadly levels of radiation. His only chance of survival is getting to extra-planetary colony Elysium, but their immigration laws are strict…
Damon suits up with some serious kit in the process, with fans of District 9 ’s weaponry unlikely to go away disappointed.
Blomkamp also proved to be a likeable host, saying, “I feel like I belong in there , as a fan. I try to be as honest as I can as a filmmaker and the idea of launching footage at Comic-Con is an honest thing, and I'm OK with it.”
For more on Elysium , head to totalfilm.com/elysium http://www.totalfilm.com/elysium
Based on the reaction we got online, Dredd was among the most exciting things we saw at Comic-Con . Perhaps it was because there was a special screening - of the entire film that is, not just a sizzle reel - but it went down a storm.
There was a collective sigh of relief breathed in the auditorium, as we discovered that Dredd was faithful to its gritty, grubby comic-book roots. And, yes, Karl Urban’s mug is obscured by a sleek helmet throughout.
The levels of grue being blasted out of the screen in (surprisingly welcome 3D) paint this as a distinctly family ‘unfriendly’ affair. Robbed of his eyes, Urban snarls in a throaty, Dredd-appropriate drawl, sharing zero DNA with Sly Stallone’s interpretation of the character.
The single location set-up (a siege on a drug-addled tower block) made for a leaner comic-book movie than your average, and Olivia Thirlby impressed with a decent arc from newbie to tough cookie during the course of one very bad day.
Read our full first reaction to the Dredd screening .
For more on Dredd , visit totalfilm.com/dredd
A rare Comic-Con movie that’s not based on a comic-book property, or a fantasy novel, or a science-fiction concept, Django Unchained nevertheless drew in the crowds.
Quentin Tarantino was present in a fetching fedora and sunglasses combo, and he was joined by stars Jamie Foxx, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington.
QT revealed that the idea for Django had been percolating in his head for some time. More than a decade, in fact. “I think it’s been about 13 years, altogether,” he told the crowd, adding, “I’ve always wanted to do a western. Spaghetti westerns have always been my favorite. The violence, the surrealism, the cool music and all that stuff. The initial germ of the whole idea was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter and then goes after overseers who are hiding out on plantations.”
Foxx talked about having to strip everything away to become slave Django, “The most important thing was letting everything go because we all have egos.” And after that it was a matter of doing the homework and listening to what QT was saying, apparently.
Waltz wasn’t really giving too much away, although he did suggest that Dr King Schulz might need Django for more than one reason.
Tarantino also revealed the character that Jonah Hill will be playing. He’s not taking on the vacant Sacha Baron Cohen role. Instead, he’ll be playing a slave-wrangling regulator. And the director dropped the pleasing suggestion that Django and Broomhilda are the “great great great great grandparents” of Shaft.
Hoping for some Kill Bill 3 goss from Comic-Con? An audience question brought up the topic, to which Tarantino claimed he’d wait 10 years (which still leaves two to go), but he did call KB3 “a work in progress”.
For more on Django Unchained , head to totalfilm.com/django-unchained
Peter Jackson is fast becoming an old favourite at Comic-Con , and this year’s Hobbit panel only furthered that reputation.
Jackson didn’t hold back when it came to cool quips either, claiming that the 48fps rate would make the next trip to Middle-earth “real, immersive and something you can’t get on your iPad.” Although the footage we saw wasn’t presented in that format.
He also mentioned the tantalising prospect of The Hobbit becoming three films as opposed to two: “We have got incredible source material with the appendices."
"There’s the novel, but then we also have the rights to use the 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit . I've been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting.”
On The Lord Of The Rings , Jackson said, “I watched it back and thought, 'Christ, that looks like bloody hard work!’”
And Ian McKellen confirmed what we all know when he said, “These movies are being made by the biggest Tolkien fan there is.”
One of the warmest panels of the entire convention, we can’t wait to begin the journey in September.
For more on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey , head to totalfilm.com/the-hobbit
Not everything at Comic-Con is born of a mega-budget, with ‘franchise material’ stamped all over it. A few noteworthy indies with breakout potential whip the masses into a frenzy, and this year it was Looper ’s turn to occupy that spot.
A mind-twisting sci-fi thriller, of which you must have heard the premise by now: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a hitman - or looper - who whacks targets sent back in time from the future. It affords him a luxurious lifestyle, until his next hit is revealed as his future self (played by Bruce Willis).
The explosive action we witnessed was more that a match for the supercool premise. Emily Blunt seemed to be spot on when she called it “rich in complexity” and “not derived from anything else you’ve ever seen”.
And JGL told us about the lengths he went to attempting to emulate Willis . As well as the prosthetic work slathered on his noggin, he listened to recordings of Willis reading some of his voiceover lines.
Total Film ’ll be keeping a close eye on Looper , so for all related news and features, head to totalfilm.com/looper
The Expendables 2
Post- Comic-Con , we received the sad news the Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage Stallone, had died aged just 36 .
The day before that tragic news broke, we were getting goosebumps from seeing Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger together on stage. And judging from the reaction of the crowd, these two still have the raw power to pull in the punters.
The former action rivals shared some friendly banter on stage, with Stallone highlighting Junior as his favourite Arnie movie. Schwarzenegger also confirmed that he actually does want to make a sequel to Twins . Called Triplets .
The footage screened was suitably brutal, and it looks like Chuck Norris will be getting his fair share of standout moments.
For more on The Expendables 2 , head to totalfilm.com/the-expendables-2
Joss Whedons Firefly Reunion Panel
Joss Whedon wasn’t even flogging anything new at Comic-Con , but he still managed to effortlessly become a highlight. At the 10-year reunion, he was joined by stars Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Alan Tudyk and more.
He wouldn’t be pressed on into confirming whether or not he has decided to direct The Avengers 2 , and besides that rogue question, the focus was purely on the sci-fi TV show Firefly , cancelled cruelly before its time.
Whedon gave it high praise indeed by claiming that the show had “the best cast I will ever work with” (take that, Avengers ensemble), and in one of the most touching moments of the long weekend, he received a standing ovation from the crowd (and his cast).
Although the possibility of an animated series was ruled out, Whedon confirmed that there are Firefly comics on the way, and he didn’t rule out the possibility of a Firefly radio show. Fillion and Tudyk seemed up for it.
A nice moment to prove that Comic-Con isn’t always about looking forward…
Edgar Wright tried to trick his Twitter followers into thinking he was in London, so that he could make a surprise appearance at Comic-Con to present his Ant-Man test footage.
A (sort of) unexpected treat, the footage was in a fairly rough state, and won’t actually make it into the finished film, but it was impressive all the same.
In fact, the unfinished footage (you could still see wires) had a lovely hand-hewn quality, and showcased Wright’s knack for smart action scenes and zippy pace.
Ant-Man took on a pair of security guards in the footage, shrinking down to a speck and returning to normal size as the situation warranted. There was almost an Incredibles vibe to the inventive action, and first a look at the suit (which maintained the hallmarks of the classic era).
Wright claimed that they hadn’t begun casting yet, and Ant-Man is yet to secure an official release date, but it could well be the most fun movie in Marvel’s second phase.
For more on Ant-Man , head to totalfilm.com/ant-man
Marvel Phase Two
Talking of Marvel’s phase two, the comics giant is always going to be a big fixture at Comic-Con , and given their upcoming slate, don’t expect that to change in the next couple of decades or so.
There wasn’t a great deal of footage on display, although they did debut a short clip from Iron Man 3 . Tony Stark donned what looked like an Extremis suit in an early scene, before some troublesome components made a mess of his workshop. He also enjoyed some jokey chit-chat with Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan.
Things became less sunny for Stark when a missile strike wiped out his Malibu home and most of his Iron Man hardware, save for the suit he had on. And the biggest news of all? Ben Kingsley was confirmed as The Mandarin, one of the universe's most famous villains.
As for the remainder of the Marvel family, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 received official subtitles ( The Dark World and The Winter Soldier respectively), and Guardians Of The Galaxy (the worst-kept secret ahead of this year’s Con) was announced officially, with a 1 August 2014 release date confirmed.
For more on Guardians Of The Galaxy , head to totalfilm.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy
Man Of Steel
Looking to fill The Dark Knight Rises -shaped hole that’ll be rent in all of our lives soon, Man Of Steel is DC Comics’ next big movie hope.
Zack Snyder’s new take on Superman (overseen by ‘godfather’ Christopher Nolan) will hope to draw in crowds with a more action-packed and less reverential take than Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns .
The teaser trailer was revealed to the baying crowds (don’t worry, it’ll be attached to the cinema release of The Dark Knight Rises ), and the general consensus was that it was a very dark, gritty, Batman Begins -esque take on the legendary character.
Henry Cavill’s Superman appeared to be struggling to find a place in the modern world, and in the footage we saw, there was a notable absence of humour. The shots of a bearded, wandering Clark Kent did nothing to alleviate the BB comparisons.
The inevitable Justice League question arose, but Snyder claimed that they needed to get Superman’s ‘house in order’ before thinking about the bigger picture.
For more on Man Of Steel , head to totalfilm.com/man-of-steel
Guillermo del Toro was swamped in waves of applause when he took to the stage in Hall H to introduce Comic-Con attendees to the first footage from the eagerly awaited monster movie, Pacific Rim .
In what sounds like box-office gold, the crowd-pleasing conceit sees humans piloting staggeringly large robots to see off an alien onslaught.
Scale is key here, and in the brief clips we were shown, both monster and robot looked unbelievably large. If any 2013 film is going to demand to be seen on the big screen, this’ll surely be it.
Each of the six robots requires four humans to operate it (and apparently we’ll see how difficult they are to manoeuvre when manned by a single person). The robots and beasts that we saw were fully CGI, though del Toro claims that there are plenty of practical FX in the movie.
And although the special effects budget is clearly monstrous, del Toro was keen to emphasise the emotional core of the story, leaving us hopeful that this won’t be another empty-headed Transformers clone.
In a refreshing antidote to a lot of modern reveal-everything-before-the-film’s-out marketing, del Toro also claimed that it would be going quiet on the Pacific Rim front for the next six months. So don’t expect a trailer any time soon.
For more on Pacific Rim , head to totalfilm.com/pacific-rim
Another of the events most unexpectedly pleasant surprises was the brief snippet of footage we saw of Gareth Monsters Edwards’ Godzilla .
Legendary Pictures are behind this latest reboot, which we weren’t feeling all too fussed about before travelling to San Diego.
But the brief clip (which we hope might form the basis of a future teaser trailer) suggested that Edwards had the tone just right. A cityscape in a state of devastating disarray set the backdrop, and an unidentifiable monster lay defeated in the wreckage.
The camera panned to a rear-view of the terrible lizard, who had spines lining the length of his back, before he emitted a screeching roar. Though only briefly glimpsed, the creature appeared to be the result of a perfect union between realistic dino designs, and respectful homage to the creatures origins.
And that barely-seen monster who was suffering the after-effects of Godzilla’s wrath? Maybe we’ll see lots of ‘Vs’ action in this movie...
Godzilla isn’t expected to open until 2014.
For all of our Comic-Con news, head to totalfilm.com/comic-con