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(Read This Title in Deep Echo Voice) THE REPORT FROM WONDER CON!

29

Feb

Posted by Steve

Good friend of Geek Out Online, Dave (aka HawkeyeProtagonist from Youtube or Hawkeye of Krypton from the House of El forums.) had the opporunity to go to Wonder Con last week. I envy Dave, but he has been kind enough to check in to the Fortress of Solitude South and give us a report from his time there. So, let me say I appreciate Dave writing up this report and if you’re ever at a convention and come away with some newsworthy/noteworthy stuff to report, send it in and immortalize yourself in the annals of Geek Out Online History.

 So without further ado and with my gratitude, ladies and gentlemen, Dave:

Wondercon 2008 was held in the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, across the street from GDC (Game Developers Conference). February 22nd – 24th
I was actually surprised by the small turnout. It may have just seemed small because I’m used to ComiCon where there are 100,000 people, but it was still a great crowd.
On friday it didn’t seem like there was much to do in terms of Q&A and Panels so I basically just walked around the exhibit hall, looking for some cool swag and awesome products to buy. At one booth, the guy was selling graphic novels half the cover price…. So I splurged and ended up getting:
Batman: Hush

Batman: Year One

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Batman: Dark Victory

and Buffy Season 8: Vol. 1.

Friday there was a Panel with Darwyn Cooke and Noel Neill, but I didn’t end up going to them because I was too enthralled in the Exhibit Hall. I played a demo of “Lost: The Video Game” for xbox 360 and met Steve Cardenas (red power ranger), Peter Mayhew (chewbacca), Lou Furgino (the hulk), Tim Sale (comic and heroes artist) and Noel Neill (Original Lois Lane). It was a pretty good day.

Later that night, I saw Bruce Timm just hanging outside the Lobby by himself, having a smoke. So I went up to say “hey”, not in annoying crazy-fan way, but just like “so you’re having a smoke”. We had a little conversation about how he hoped that the fans enjoyed “New Frontier”. (They showed it saturday night, the full length animated movie.) It was alright…..and thats all i’ll say. (Note from Steve: I’ll be saying more in the near future.)

Saturday was the best day for the Con because all of the best panels were happening. I basically stayed in the same big Hall all day to hear panel after panel, and I made sure to get there early to get a good close seat.

First up at noon was the WARNER BROS PANEL. They showed an extended trailer for the movie “10,000 B.C.” and then had a Q&A with director Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) and the two main actors. Emmerich also hinted that 10,000 BC might have connections to Stargate and we should watch for them.

Next was the full length trailer for GET SMART and then a fantastic Q&A with director Peter Segal, Steve Carell (Max Smart), and Anne Hathaway (Agent 99).   Carrell is just as funny in person as he is on The Office, if not funnier.  He also mentioned that the will start shooting Office again in two weeks and he’s looking forward to writing an episode where Michael gets gets called for jury duty.  During the Q&A some idiot said that he would have made a great Joker in TDK, which caused the audience to BOO like crazy. Anne Hathaway was gorgeous and just as witty as Carrell. They really are the perfect duo for Get Smart.

Then, there was one more surprise, a sneak peak of Batman: Gotham Knights, the animated mini-series set as a prequel to TDK.  This was one of my favorite highlights of the day.  They showed actual footage from the project that reminded me very much of the Animatrix.  I think japanese art direction is something we haven’t seen for Batman and it will be refreshing and new. 

Disney’s Panel was at 1pm and started off with a look at The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.   The quick trailer showed some really exciting action scenes with even some unfinished CGI shots.  The best was the mice with the little swords kicking tail while trying to open a door to the castle.   Just to let you know, I haven’t seen the first movie yet or read the books; but this looked action packed with a dark tone, similar to Lord of the Rings.
Wall-E, a pixar movie, was next.  This movie is now one of my most anticipated for this year.  The premise is that Earth has been abandoned and someone forgot to turn the last robot off, Walle.  He has alot of free time on his hands when a ship lands carrying Walle’s new interest which leads him to a grand adventure.  Director Andrew Stanton (from Pixar) was there to field questions and introduce each finished movie clip. He showed 3 movie clips, 2 of them featuring the robot’s love interest, Eve.  I hate to say it, but it seemed so…..”cute.”  One clip featured Walle bringing Eve back to his Winnebago to show her all the neat junk he’s collected over the years, and that’s just cute.  What I was most surprised about was the lack of dialogue, but every emote in the scene came out perfectly, and the movie has a grand epic feel to it. Stanton also stated that Wall-E was a “Love Story.”   Look for it to hit theaters June 27th, I know I will.

20th Century Fox’s Panel was next.  There was not much to speak of in The Shutter panel… A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident.  Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.  This movie seems like a generic horror movie and I wasn’t too interested.  The only thing that I was interested in was hearing from James Kyson Lee (Ando on Heroes).  He mentioned that Heroes will begin shooting soon after the fallout from the writers strike.
AND NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT… and the panel that caused the most hysterics at Wondercon 2008. The X-Files 2 movie Panel.
It started off with a very short movie teaser. The bulk of the teaser was of a character (played by Billy Connelly) walking, leading a group of armed sheriff-like men through a winter covered environment. The sheriff-men were driving poles into the snow beneath their feet as if looking for something important, that was buried. Other quick shots in the teaser featured Mulder and Scully looking distressed.

After the Teaser had finished the panel was introduced, this caused the crowd, to go nuts. I got most of the fan-squall because I was sitting so close to the stage. First Frank Spotnitz was introduced, then Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson and finally David Duchovny. They all seemed very very tired, and it was mentioned that they were up the night before shooting and then took a plane straight to San Francisco. The info-highlights of the panel included information that the movie would be a standalone monster of the week story-line, Amanda Peet would be playing a character named Dakota Whitney, and that the year 2012 may have a significance in the story. X-Files 2 will hit theaters July 25th, 2008.

The crowd really seemed to die-down after this panel (i wonder why…)

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. John Cho, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg were there. I haven’t seen “H&K Go To White Castle”, but this looked offensively funny. The clip that was shown, featured the duo getting on a plane ready to go Amsterdam. Kal Penn’s character had brought a “smokeless bong” on board and it’s confused with a terrorist bomb. The whole plane freaks out when the glass tubing in the “smokeless bong” breaks and “Poison Gas” leaks out…HILARIOUS.

Sneak peak at Iron Man with director Jon Favreau. Favreau is an awesome guy, he was probably the best panelist of the day because he gave great insight and was just plain fun.
He made sure to introduce a clip from the movie in which Tony Stark is trying out the prototype jettison-hover boots. Unfortunately Stark’s first attempt fails and he goes flying backwards into a wall…funny.  The second clip, however, shows Stark getting control of the hovering boots and floating around the room followed by him taking his new built Iron Man, Mark II, suit up into the sky and doing some arial acrobatics…..awesome.
What really made me like Favreau was he poked fun at himself by saying he directed Deep Impact, “the other Armageddon”. “The Michael Bay classic”.

Iron Man Exclusive Trailer
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Next came Inside Lucasfilm With Steve Sansweet.  Sansweet showed so much Star Wars related footage that it made my head spin.  First up was a sneak peak at The Force Unleashed the new video game slated to be released in Summer.  You play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice and go around killing the remaining Jedi Masters that survived after the events of Episode 3.  Actual gameplay footage was introduced by one of the project leads at Lucasarts.  This game looks like so much fun,  I can’t wait.
Now for another of my favorite highlights of the day, special footage from the upcoming Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Clone Wars.  This is a full CGI movie and is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.   Anakin and Obi-Wan continue there battle against the separatist forces.  We meet Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka Tano, a brash young female Twileek.
We got a good sneak preview of finished in-movie CGI shots. One scene featured Anakin, Ahsoka, and R2 walking through the tatooinne desert with an artsy setting sun in the background, it stuck out in my mind.  The art style is fantastic, very reminiscent of the animated clone wars series done by Gennedy Tartakovsky, just in full 3D.  It will be introduced first via a theatrical movie made up of the first three episodes of the series and then be turned into a weekly television series concluding the story.  Look for it to start in theaters on August 15th.

Other videos shown by Sansweet include a preview for Lego Indiana Jones, the video game, which looked just as cutesy as the Lego Star Wars series.  The already online trailer for, Indy 4, and re-cap clips of previous “Star Wars Celebration” conventions followed by the announcement that the next Star Wars Celebration will be held in Japan.
After Sansweet said his goodbyes it was time for the night-time world premiere screening of Justice League: New Frontier followed by a panel featuring Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke, David Bullock, Michael Goguen, Stan Berkowitz, Andrea Romano, and Phil Morris.
Since New Frontier has since come out I won’t go into a review of it, but the experience of sitting in a theater with other Justice League fans was an enjoyable experience. I think my favorite part of the movie was when Faraday did his classic T-Rex grenade routine.
The panel had a decent Q&A section, but not much to speak of in terms of info. I think the best part was they replayed the preview for Batman: Gotham Knights which still looked awesome!
That was my saturday experience at Wondercon.

Sunday I walked around the Exhibit hall one last time and then prepared myself for the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles Panel featuring Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green and James Middleton.  The panel went well and featured a great amusing story of how when Dekker rehearses he uses a different celebrity voice every-time.  No real info on future events, but a quick montage video, where it was just action scene after action scene.
That was basically a quick overview of my weekend. I’m glad I went. Since I can’t go to ComiCon this year, this was a good substitution. 

Thanks again Dave.  The X-Files 2 panel is really what the buzz has been all about since Wonder Con ended.  That and the Iron Man panel.   Both panels featured trailers that got huge fan response.

Personally, I am looking forward to GET SMART.  The newest trailer looks hillarious, and I think the movie is going to be a blast.

Don’t be afraid to click around the links in the story above.  You’ll find videos, images, and even be able to buy stuff on Amazon.  (That would help the site.)  Thanks for the millionth time to Dave for writing up this report.  

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