Now that Comic-Con 2012 is over, where do we begin?
Along with the toys, video games, comic books, costumed convention-goers and homages to fiction of all stripes and media, Hollywood beefed up its presence in San Diego even more this year, if that was possible.
In front of capacity crowds that waited in lines that routine attendees said had never been so long, studios trotted out a super high-profile slate of films in various states of completion, be it to get fans even more revved up for movies they'll already see (as in the case of Breaking Dawn Part 2), to check in with fans to gauge their reception of works-in-progress (Man of Steel, Django Unchained) and to give more promises of things to come in the future (Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, yikes!).
Here's what had fans geeking out at extreme levels from dawn till dusk:
• The Twilight of Twilight: This marked the final year that Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kellan Lutz, Nicki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene and Elizabeth Reaser would appear at Comic-Con together in advance of a new Twilight Saga film. Craziness. Thankfully, the Breaking Dawn Part 2 panel didn't disappoint. In addition to seeing the first seven minutes of the film, Twihards were treated to the irreverent sense of humor we've come to expect from the group (especially Rob, Kristen, Peter and Kellan)—an endearing trait that may have turned a few skeptics into big fans over the years. Yes, we speak from experience. P.S. The film footage was hot! And the sneak peek at The Host, based on another Stephenie Meyer novel, wasn't too shabby, either.
• Just Super: No one was worried that Peter Jackson wasn't going to make The Hobbit properly, or that Robert Downey Jr.. would all of a sudden seem adrift as Iron Man. Once-scorned fanboys were concerned, however, that Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill wouldn't be able to do any better with Man of Steel than...well, let's not talk about it. But the provided snippets of the still-in-production action-adventure made people cry, for Krypton's sake. Tears of joy, of course!
• So That's Elysium: From what we saw of Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to his breakout hit District 9...if you liked District 9, you will like this tale that begins with the teeming masses being relegated to crappy lives on Earth while fewer, fancier folk live it up on Elysium. Matt Damon is in fine, brawny, wisecracking form as the people of Earth's accidental potential savior.
• Iron Man Changed Clothes: There's more than a little controversy brewing over the switch from the traditional red and gold to just gold. Discuss.
• Panel All-Stars: Often times, the more serious the film, the more hilarious the panel. Hats off to the Twilight cast for being a lot funnier than their script-imposed solemnity suggests. But those kids were nothing compared to the Friars Club atmosphere at The Expendables 2 panel, where Sylvester Stallone (just a day before the death of his son) and Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to enjoy each other's company 100-times more than Rob and Kristen did. Who also gave great panel? The Total Recall team (Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Jessica Biel and standout Bryan Cranston; Resident Evil's Milla Jovovich; Quentin Tarantino (duh); John C. Reilly and director Rich Moore hyping Wreck-It Ralph; Downey, because he may as well be Magneto he's so darn magnetic; Tim Burton, who was so engaging talking about his pet project, Frankenweenie; Pacific Rim director Guillermo Del Toro, provided you like your panel peppered with swear words; and—unexpectedly—Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, who randomly showed up before Man of Steel to plug The Campaign (and, presumably, to get people thinking about San Diego's finest, Ron Burgundy).
• More to Love: Jackson said on a press line that his tendency to shoot more footage than he can ever use within the confine of a two-or-three-plus-hour epic has him wanting to, one, make The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again rather long films and, two, go back next year and shoot more footage to make extended-cut versions—or perhap even a third film! (FYI, the 12 1/2 minutes we saw: Epic.)
• He's Really Back: Not only is he on deck in The Expendables 2, out Aug. 17, but Arnold and Sly just finished shooting The Tomb (we'll venture to guess it's an action movie) and the former governor of California said that both he and director Ivan Reitman are definitely gunning for a Twins sequel. Welcoming him back to Hollywood with open arms, Comic-Con gave the inimitable (yet so fun to imitate) actor the illustrious Ink Pot Award for his contribution to pop culture.
• Wild Cards: Just because it's at Comic-Con doesn't mean a film is going to be The Avengers. Still up in the air are Django Unchained (it's so easy for Tarantino to go off the rails), Len Wiseman's Total Recall remake (were people clamoring for one in the first place?); Rian Johnson's Looper (Bruce Willis plays assassin Joseph Gordon-Levitt's future self, and the younger is tasked with killing the elder); Elysium (Damon movies with Bourne in the title make money, at least); David Ayer's police drama End of Watch (the only movie in Hall H with action that could theoretically happen tomorrow); Michael J. Bassett's Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (most video game adaptations aren't Resident Evil); del Toro's Pacific Rim (why robots vs. monsters if not cowboys vs. aliens?) and, judging by the last tankeroo, we'll put Man of Steel in there, too.
In the Year 2000...: Just kidding, more like in the year 2013 (and beyond), we'll finally get to see the films previewed and, in some cases, only mentioned, in theaters. One thing Comic-Con is not about is instant gratification, starting with those lines. Here's a quick rundown of dates to mark on future calendars: Elysium (March 1, 2013); The Host (March 13, 2013) Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013); Man of Steel (June 14, 2013); Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8, 2013); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 13, 2013); Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014); Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1, 2014), and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Still in infancy and therefore not on any theater's schedule yet are Gareth Edward's Godzilla and Edgar Wright's Ant-Man (presuming Marvel builds upon the super funny teaser shown during the Iron Man 3 panel).