SFX at Comic-Con: Day Four

An early start this morning - so early, in fact, that the friendly guy who's been greeting Convention goers with a friendly "May the Force be with you" each morning isn't out in his usual spot. The reason for the earlier-than-usual trip down the road? A screening of the pilot episode of Bryan "Dead Like Me/Wonderfalls" Fuller's new series Pushing Daisies. I'd be surprised if it doesn't turn out to be the quirkiest of the new shows starting on US TV this Autumn. It's the story of a piemaker (Lee Pace) who moonlights as a private investigator by using his unusual skill/curse: he can bring dead objects back to life by touching them, but as always, there's a catch. If they're resurrected for more than a minute, someone else must die to keep the grim reaper's quota up, and if he touches them again. they're deceased for ever - a bit of a problem when he brings the love of his life (Anna Friel) back from the dead. The pilot's really good fun, a witty, brightly coloured piece of feelgood escapism with a nicely morbid aftertaste to stop things getting too saccharine. Fuller (a regular SFX reader) had the idea for the show when he was working on Dead Like Me: "The angle I had on Dead Like Me was the idea that someone could touch things and bring them back to life and would be a foil for George and also a romantic interest, and these ideas evolve and become different things. I get to do a different version of Dead LIke Me, and try to do better."

The Disney presentation showed off the next Narnia film, Prince Caspian, and Pixar's voyage into sci-fi, WALL-E. Director Andrew Adamson joined the massive Hall H crowd via satellite from the Prague set, where they're on day 106 of shooting. He talked about the difficulties of turning Caspian's non-linear narrative into a movie, and showed us some new footage from the movie - "if I see this up on the internet tomorrow, I'm going after all of you," he said. Producer Mark Johnson also revealed their intention to bring out a film each year (Prince Caspian's out next May, and Voyage of the Dawntreader will set sail 12 months later), and that: "As long as you keep embracing [the movies], we'll make all seven."

Next it was the turn of Pixar, here to provide a glimpse of WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class). Now this is a brave move for the Toy Story peeps, who are being bold enough to make a movie about a lonely robot who falls in love with another robot - all with out dialogue (in the conventional sense at least). Director Andrew "Finding Nemo" Stanton admitted "I'm basically making R2-D2 the movie," and he's hired Star Wars sound guy Ben Burtt to provide the whistles and bleeps that will bring the nearly wordless story to life. The new footage we saw looked absolutely magnificent, as the cute-but-functional WALL-E wanders around an abandoned Earth (in Stanton's slightly-more-dystopian-than- you'd-expect-from-Pixar vision, the human race are blob-like couch potatoes) clearing up the mess. He's like a techno-womble...

The rather excellent Iron Man footage that made an appearance on Thursday returned at the Marvel Studios panel, along with the stars and director of The Incredible Hulk. In what must be one of the most impressive groups of actors ever assembled at Comic-Con, Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and Liv Tyler took to the stage to talk about their respective movies. "I came into this and wrote the screenplay," said Hulk star Norton. "I was a Marvel kid. I had subscriptions to a lot of Marvel comics. I loved the early incarnation of the Hulk and then the television show. I always felt like it was like one of those great contemporary myths." And asked whether the sort-of would be an origin story, he added: "I don't even like the phrase origin story and I don't think in great literature and great films, that explaining the roots of the story doesn't mean it comes in the beginning."

Elsewhere, it was announced that Kevin Smith would be directing episodes of Heroes spin-off Heroes Origins (to air once Heroes season two is over), and adult superstar Jenna Jameson talked about the new fantasy comic (not her usual kind of fantasy, we might add) she's doing with Virgin Comics.

This will be my last missive from the sun-kissed streets of San Diego, but you'll be able to read more about the goings on of Comic-Con 2007, along with exclusive pictures, in the October edition of SFX, issue 161 out Wednesday 29 August.

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