DisneyVariety reports that Disney will be making a return at Comic-Con 2012. Last year, the studio opted to save its biggest presentations for its own D23 Expo - though after the colossal failure of John Carter, I'm sure the Mouse House has learned a valuable lesson about ignoring the Comic-Con crowd. 'Con attendees will likely see material from the video game satire, Wreck-It-Ralph, which stars John C. Reilly as the villain of a classic arcade game, who tries to prove to himself and the world that he's more than just a big baddie. (Watch the trailer) Also expected is Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. James Franco plays a young, shifty version of the Wizard, who finds himself transported to Oz only to become embroiled in an epic drama between three witches played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. The film is directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man Trilogy). Still in question is whether or not Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp will be unveiling their new project, The Lone Ranger, at this year's 'Con. The film has had a notoriously troubled production - with new troubles having just recently been reported. If half of what is said is true, Disney may want to keep a lid on the film until it is in a better place.
Disney/MarvelIron Man 3 is already into production, and rumors about the film are coming fast. Director Jon Favreau has left the director's chair, and Shane Black - writer of films like Lethal Weapon and director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - is the new man calling the shots. Having only been in production for a short time, it's unlikely that Black will be able to show off anything big. Of course, having franchise star Robert Downey Jr. on hand usually proves to be entertainment enough. Appearances from big co-stars like Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall, and (possibly) Gwyneth Paltrow would be icing on the cake; an appearance by Sir Ben Kingsley would likely bring down the house. Finally, it would just be nice for fans if they could see Jon Favreau (who will still play his character, Happy Hogan) up there on stage. In the meantime, expect tons of fanboy questions about the film's under-wraps plot.
Warner Bros. / Legendary PicturesThere's suspicion that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures will show a preview of Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim. The story involves a future world where mankind battles giant monsters known as "Kaiju," using massive robots called "Jaegers," which are piloted by two people mind-joined by a "neural bridge." We call it: a perfect fit for the Comic-Con crowd; "Awe" would be an appropriate word for what we're expecting to get from the promo footage. A cast that consists of Idris Elba (Prometheus), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny) and Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi (47 Ronin) would make a welcome return to the 'Con; Perlman and del Toro are practically royalty thanks to their work on the Hellboy franchise.
DC Comics / Warner Bros. / Legendary PicturesWarners and Legendary will be showing off their big comic book guns by premiering the first footage from Watchmen and Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder's Superman reboot, Man of Steel. The studios have a lot riding on the film, as in recent weeks it has come to light that it could also serve as a launch pad for WB's DC Comics Movie Universe, which would include a Justice League team-up film, similar to Marvel's highly successful Avengers event. (Possible announcement about that endeavor could also come during the 'Con.) Man of Steel will also be bring the masses a revised version of Superman; the character was also recently relaunched on the comic book page, as part of DC Comics' "New 52" reboot. [Fan Poster from Shock Ya]
Warner Bros. / MGMWarner Bros. is expected to close out their block with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and will almost certainly bring fans some choice footage to enjoy (Watch the trailer). The movie hits screens in December, and will transport us back to the events prior to the epic Lord of the Rings saga, as we witness the tale of a younger Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who set out on a journey with his wizard friend Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a troupe of Dwarf warriors, to reclaim a stolen treasure from a fearsome dragon named Smaug. Along the way we'll learn key things like how Bilbo first found that fateful ring, and how he first ran afoul of a twisted creature known as... Gollum (Andy Serkis). The Hobbit is easily one of the most anticipated films of the year, and Peter Jackson has already proven himself (in 'Cons past, and beyond) to be a great showman. Should be a crowd pleasure.
SonySony is a bit of a wild card right now: Amazing Spider-Man will already have been out for a few weeks, and the best hints that Variety has are some kind of extended showing for Total Recall, which will hit theaters soon after the convention; the bicycle thriller Premium Rush, which has fanboy favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Here Comes the Boom, a Kevin James marshal arts comedy (?); and After Earth, the new M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi film starring Will Smith and son Jaden Smith. At the risk of spoiling things, we'll simply say that After Earth revolves around a father and son (the Smiths) whose space ship crash lands on a mysterious planet, which they set out to explore. Shyamalan still has a bad cloud hanging over him after some of his less impressive films (The Happening), so Sony may want to get in the good graces of the film's primary base with some promising footage, and/or a panel headed by the big-name cast.
UniversalUniversal's plans are still somewhat uncertain; prospective films that could debut at the convention include RED director Robert Schwentke's next comic book adaptation, R.I.P.D., about a dead cop (Ryan Reynolds) who joins an afterlife police department and tries to solve his own murder. Co-stars include Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker, which is enough star wattage to draw a crowd. The Bourne Legacy has been floated as another possibility; the film does have ground to gain in terms of selling people on a spinoff story that doesn't involve Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, and star Jeremy Renner has much fanboy love thanks to his role in The Avengers. A brief presentation wouldn't be out of order. Also needing to gain back some ground is 47 Ronin, the Japanese samurai epic starring Keanu Reeves, which was bumped from a fall release to an ominous February 2013 slot. The studio could try to quell rumors by revealing some footage.
Also In Attendance...As for the rest of the studios:
- Summit will be back to clog the streets with Twi-hards who want one last go before Breaking Dawn - Part 2 finishes things once and for all.
- Lionsgate will be on hand to promote The Expendables 2, with Sly Stallone, and his action throwback buddies on hand. Seeing Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris on stage together would certainly draw press (and tons of fanboy screams).
- DreamWorks Animation will preview some of its upcoming works in a side panel, while the movie branch won't be around at all.
- Paramount is looking questionable since the studio is re-tooling G.I. Joe: Retaliation, World War Z, and won't be showing anything from Star Trek 2 (fail!). Other possibilities are minor attractions (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters).
- Fox is also questionable; sequel film The Wolverine likely isn't ready to show yet, and as far as "tentpole" films go, Variety notes that The Watch, Taken 2, Life of Pi and A Good Day to Die Hard may not be worth the trip to SDCC.