Comic-Con 2009: Daily Diary

Day Four

The amazing Iron Man (and some other stuff)

Ah, Day Four. The Con is slowly starting the long wind down.

Today was the day for the last of the truly big movies to showcase footage and present the filmmakers in the various halls.

This time, it was the turn of Solomon Kane, which impressed panel-goers with James Purefoy's badass leading man turn, and Zombieland/2012, which offered up undead comedy and global destruction as only Roland Emmerich can conjure up.

But the real success here? That would be Iron Man 2, with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr greeted as returning, conquering heroes.

Favs and co put on another great show, with Favreau promising footage, then showing a dodgy, press-kit puff piece for the film, before a disgusted RDJ walked on stage to demand a proper reward for the faithful throngs in the hall.

You can read our reaction to what was shown below in the news section, but the other highlight was Downey Jr leading the crowd in a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" for Favreau's son.

Hand it to the man - he knows how to work an audience.

Around The Con

With a lighter film schedule, we had the chance to stroll the halls to bring you our pic of the quirky and the weird wandering around.

Watchmen was once again well represented, though we're not sure about Sally Jupiter.

And here are the Disney ladies! Looking decidedly more buxom than we remember them.

This, of course, is The Fifth Element's LeeLoo, though we're not sure she's as committed to her costume as some of the Aeon Fluxes we've seen in the past.

This is either a bunch of Predators showing off their sexy girlfriends or the most porn-tastic Star Trek crossover ever.

As for this kid, insert your own "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper" gag here.


Yes, yes, we know... you want to read our reaction to the Iron Man 2 footage. Here you go .

As for other stuff? Well, Roland Emmerich announced he had officially hired a writer for Foundation .

The folks at Disney were good enough to put the Tron Legacy footage online .

And we got ready for Freddy ...

That's it for us... out... See you next year!

Next: Day Three


Day Three

Peter, Paul and... Megan?

Day Three relieved a little of the pressure, though scheduling issues cropped up here and there.

The big main panels of the day were for Warners' crowded slate (Where The Wild Things Are, Jonah Hex, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Richard Kelly's new movie The Box), Disney's animation titles (Pixar and Hayao Miyazaki's new pic) and a little film called District 9.

That wasn't all to be found squatting in Hall H, though - punters were also treated to footage from the heretofore under-the-radar Legion (Paul Bettany's Archangel Michael tries to help humanity fight back when God decides to purge us) and post-apocalyptic 'toon 9.

But while Megan Fox proved a big draw for overly creepy questions during the Jonah Hex panel, it was Peter Jackson's live appearance (he's only usually appeared through the magic of video) to support Neill Blomkamp and District 9 that drew the biggest cheers.

If anyone could compete with the LOTR helmer for sheer reaction, that accolade had to go to Hayao Miyazaki, whose mere walk on stage caused the rafters of Hall H to be lifted with cheering. The. Man. Is. Beloved. And with good reason, given his impact on animation.

Footage-wise, we loved Where The Wild Things Are, which looks amazing, and Jonah Hex looks like a crazed spaghetti Western.

Paul Bettany, always a good interview, was on usual sparkling form for the Legion press day. Our favourite quote? When asked if he was our last hope, Mr Jennifer Connelly chose to take it literally and said, "that's a lot of pressure. Oh, f*** it, I'll step up..."

Around The Con

While the packed schedule meant another day with limited time to wander the Convention Center's nerd-packed halls, we did get a chance to stroll across the exhibition floor before today's duties.

And who should we find flogging his new comic book like there's no tomorrow? Tyrese Gibson.

When we talked to him later at the Legion press event, Mr T (no, he hasn't signed on for The A-Team) was only to happy to rave about the title, citing the famous artists he has working on it and encouraging us to pick up a copy.

The man's a marketing demon!

Also around the floor, we finally got a moment to check out Marvel's line-up of the Iron Man suits (somewhat fitting considering which film is showcased tomorrow) and saw one of the Con's big costume themes this year - Rorschach watching the crowd.

We've no word on whether he considers them all scum, though.

Also around, and also fittingly given Peter Jackson's day at the Con, was Gollum.

This life-size fella, though, was made of bronze, and could be yours for $15,000. OR $3,000 if you'd be happy with faux bronze. Oh, and he takes 6 months to make and ship.

Outside, one film surprisingly not at the event - Wes Anderson's take on The Fantastic Mr Fox - was going to hype route with blokes handing out Fox tail ties, but on the condition that you got your photo taken with them wearing it. Our James opted to snap their picture instead, and they duly obliged.

Tomorrow, expect loads more coverage from around the con as a lighter day means more time for us to explore...


Probably the biggest announcement had nothing to do with the films being pimped today, as Gary Oldman announced that a third Batman film was on track to shoot next year for a likely 2011 release. He wasn't kidding. At least, we don't think so...

We got to see two hyped movies, District 9 and Ninja Assassin , and while we can't officially review either of 'em yet, you can read our first reactions.

James Cameron talked to us about Avatar 's big battle scenes and Tim Burton chatted about Alice In Wonderland .

While happy to chat District 9, Peter Jackson also spilled word that The Hobbit doesn't actually have a greenlight yet, but that he and Guillermo del Toro were about to hand in the first draft of the first script.

Oh, and if you were wondering what the Red Dawn remake would be like, we got co-star Adrienne Palicki to talk about it...

Next: Day Two


Day Two

Crowded halls, crowded schedule

Day Two is officially Scheduling Hell day as some of the big studios and a few indies decided that what we really all needed was to have the panels and press events for several huge movies all happen at almost the same time.

Suffice to say, despite's crack team being fully assembled, we spent the day dashing around the Convention Center (and beyond) like crazed info-hoarding squirrels gathering the very best in film-flavoured coverage for you.

A major highlight of the day's panels was comedian/Ratatouille lead voice Patton Oswalt acting as moderator for the Disney 3D showcase.

A quick-witted sort at the best of times, Oswalt balanced genuine enthusiasm for what he was seeing with jibes at both the audience ("I see a lot of hot young girls and... 'sensitive' older men here, who are clearly just waiting for the Twilight panel") and the filmmakers "Tim Burton has been to Comic Con six times before, always dressed as Sailor Moon.")

While Avatar seemed to blow the roof off Hall H, Kick-Ass also received rapturous applause, with Matthew Vaughn's team eagerly showing off several ultra-violent moments.

Oh, and on the scream-o-meter, the surprise appearance of Johnny Depp as Tim Burton's "imaginary friend" on the Alice In Wonderland panel stage gave Robert Pattinson some serious competition in the screaming stakes.

James nearly lost an eardrum to one particularly splitting squee-merchant sitting directly behind him.

The things we do to bring you Con coverage...

Around The Con

We've had less time to wander the convention floor, thanks to work commitments - and it's been packed anyway.

But we did spot a few gems among the hordes - take the world's Least Interested Edward Cullen Impersonator and Slightly Nerdy Superman.

And during one brief excursion into the thronging exhibitor hall, we saw this awesome Buzz Lightyear LEGO model. Pixar superfan James contemplated trying to sneak out with it, but couldn't fit the feet-tall thing in his bag. Curses...

The night brought a march of the undead as the third annual Zombie Walk - this year synergistically sponsored by Sony's Zombieland - got underway.

Several dozen moaning, brain-craving types shuffled or strolled through San Diego's Gaslamp quarter, and we managed to snap a pic of these decaying-yet-still attractive zombie ladies.

And in a direct link to the Tron panel, several storefronts are decorated with the viral marketing slogan Flynn Lives. We're told there's a "special location" to be found.

We're betting on a Flynn's Arcade mockup, but we'll let you know as soon as we track it down.


What is the biggest film of the Con so far? If you ask us, it's Avatar. If you ask the 6,000 screaming Twi-hards, some of whom queued up from late on Tuesday to make it into Thursday's Summit panel, it's New Moon.

We enjoyed the hell out of James Cameron's latest, even though he only had a few select scenes to show.

But, in an unusual move, he also announced Avatar Day , in which lots of IMAX and regular cinemas across the world would be sent the 25 or so minutes of footage that showed at the Con. Rejoice!

Thursday was also trailer-tastic boasting the arrival of both the Ninja Assassin promo and The Book Of Eli trailer .

Robert Zemeckis got asked the somewhat inevitable Roger Rabbit sequel question - and answered .

And the Tron sequel got its official subtitle at last... Tron Legacy .

Next: Day One


Day One

A short while ago in a city not so far away... has hit San Diego for this year's Comic-Con. Yes, we're all set to brave the crowds, the costumes and the co.... rude staff.

With one of our number arriving in from the UK and our man in LA here already (hi, folks), we're gathering our forces for the assault on the convention center across the next few days.

Around The Con

The first day? Well, that would be Preview Night...

Time was, Preview Night took on a relaxed, rarified air, where those who had paid for a pass that covered all the event's days (and us lucky press types) could wander the exhibit hall freely, drinking in the ambiance and savouring the relative quiet.

Not these days. No, as the Con becomes bigger and bigger and more people buy up the all-access passes, even Preview Night is a mad scramble boasting long lines, short tempers and even a few film events.

Indeed, even the press line was huge this year, and the event opened an hour earlier to attempt to accomodate everyone who had turned up to grab their badge (silver this year, and thankfully our press credentials are printed on the badge, as opposed to the easy-to-lose, Krufts' Dog Show-style ribbonsof yesteryear).

Things might not heat up until the next day, the buzz-building is out in full force, with Sony bringing District 9's armoured trucks out to keep the nasty aliens from interfering with us poor, harried humans.

The studio also went viral for 2012, launching posters such as this one around San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

The exhibition floor, meanwhile, was bursting with the usual mix of booths, babes, displays and any number of attempts to grab the attention of the throngs wandering past.

This film appears to be popular. Anyone heard of it?

For anyone who thought Hugh seemed a bit plastic in X-Men-Origins: Wolverine, here's your explanation... Okay, not so much.

This is a Wolvie waxwork created by the US arm of Madam Tussauds to launch their LA operation. It's not bad, eh?

One of the bigger banners to be found - Jonah Hex revealed... Well, sort of. It's not like this is the first look at his mangled mush, but it's still a cool image.

No, not another pic of Megan Fox... It's one of the weird bits the Con is notorious for - anyone need an anatomical model?

Avatar is, somewhat naturally, the big news at the event this year (well, that and Twilight's New Moon), which meant the Powersuit we've seen in pics made an appearence so wowed fans could get up close and personal.

Avatar's display also included a model railway-like diaorama of one of the action scenes. Apologies for the quality of the pic - Con lighting, a glass case and a camera's flash don't mix well...

And a Con staple - booth babes! These two were hawking the Star Trek Blu-Ray DVDs... We don't envy them getting painted green for a day job.

Finally, Warners decided that What The Wild Things Are needed... a nest? A treehouse? A hairball? Judge for yerself.


Preview Night is usually light on news, as the big studios usually prefer to kick things off properly on Thursday.

But some info has already started to fly from the con, with the new Freddy Krueger (Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley is under all that make-up) taking his first bow, and the film's first poster making an appearence.

And, in an unusal move for Preview Night, Sony brought Seth Rogen and Black Beauty (the car from Green Hornet, not the horse).

Tune in tomorrow as things kick into high gear, with presentations from Disney and Summit, among others, and look out for news updates and twitter action throughout the day of the event...

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.