I’ll be liveblogging the Warner Bros. Watchmen panel and updating this post continuously until the panel is over, so check back over the next hour for updates.

While yesterday’s Twilight panel had people camped out overnight to get in line, for the folks who attend Comic-Con regularly the Watchmen panel is the most anticipated event of the entire Con. Although it didn’t fill up as quickly as yesterday’s Twilight panel, by the time it was ready to start there wasn’t an empty seat in the 6,000+ auditorium.

They’ve put something on the screen stating that if you text “Watchmen” to 58671 you’ll have a chance to win 1 of 5 special edition Watchmen-themed X-Box 360s.

In attendance are:

  • Zack Snyder – Director
  • Malin Akerman – Silk Spectre II
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Comedian
  • Carla Gugino –  Silk Spectre
  • Jackie Earle Haley – Rorschach
  • Billy Crudup – Dr. Manhattan
  • Patrick Wilson – Nite Owl
  • Matthew Goode – Ozymandias
  • Dave Gibbons – Co-creator of the Watchmen comic

Synder was approached a couple of years ago by the studio to do the film, and he thought that even if he didn’t do it, if someone else made it and it didn’t turn out well it would still be his fault because he might have chosen to let it pass to someone else.

Film was shot in Canada.

He talked about how people thought that the trailer in front of The Dark Knight would be nothing but the logo for the film saying “WATCHMEN” and then the date. He was determined not to do just that although it certainly would be easier (that got a laugh from the crowd).

Dave Gibbons was asked what he thought about the production and being on set. He said that he was blown away by being able to smell the cigar that the Comedian was smoking, and have him slap him on the back and show off his guns. He was amazed at the faithfulness of the set to the original book.

He was also asked whether he’d like to tell Alan Moore (the writer of the original) to get over himself and watch the film. Dave was very polite in saying that he wished that Alan had not had a bad experience which jaded him towards this film.

Getting ready to show a clip that extends some of the shots we’ve seen in the trailer that highlight the “non-PG aspects of the movie.”

Holy cow… you thought the trailer was amazing? The clips shown gave us a much better look at Rorshach, Silver Spectre and more detailed and gruesom shots of Dr. Manhatten blowing up the Vietnamese soldiers. Many, many scenes taken directly from the panels of the graphic novel. The music was very different from the Smashing Pumpkins in the trailer – more like almost operatic/epic in nature.

The studio wanted to make the film more contemporary with modern day issues of terrorism and the government but he thought it would be better to remain faithful to the source material and have it take place in the Nixon era.

Billy Crudup was asked what it was like to play the omnipitent Dr. Manhattan and said it was difficult finding a frame of reference to portray such a character that was 6’4″ buffed out guy when he’s a 5’9″ 40 year old jackass. simple smile Comic Con 08: Watchmen Panel

Jackie Earle Haley, who plays Rorschach tried to do a lot of research to get the character right including of course reading the source material, consulting with the director and reading Watchmen fan sites and blogs to try to get it right.

Guy in a Batman suit asked Snyder who his favorite character was, and of course he had a hard time answering that. He said he couldn’t choose Rorshach or The Comedian because they’re already favorites, so he said “the girls.”

Patrick Wilson was asked about the costume he wore as Night Owl. He said it was great being able to eat ice cream and drink beer instead of having to get ripped like the other characters. simple smile Comic Con 08: Watchmen Panel

He also discussed the relationship of his character with Rorshach – saying that Rorshach is not as down a character as he seems to be based on the subtleties of the comic, especially in the opening scenes of the story.

Snyder tried to get as much of the of novel into the movie, including as much of the supplemental material as possible, even though just doing the main story itself could fill a five hour movie.

Snyder was asked by a guy in a Rorshach costume whether he thought superhero movies were moving in the direction of being more mature like The Dark Knight and Watchmen. Snyder says that this genre is turning out more movies that are just great movies on any scale, and not just as good superhero movies. When asked what he might be interested in doing as a follow up he said he’d love to see Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns made into a film.

There was some discussion of what it was like to work on a green screen, nothing worth noting.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan who played The Comedian was asked what it was like to play a nihilistic character. He found that “getting into costume and sticking a cigar in his mouth got him in the mood to kill people.”

Matthew Goode (Ozymadias) talked about the backstory and history of the character and why he had more of an American than German accent in the film – that the character came over to the U.S. and wanted to immerse himself in being American.

Snyder said the Smashing Pumpkins music is not in the movie and probably will not appear in the soundtrack and it was just for the trailer. He thought it would be interesting to use that song due to it’s questionable lineage (it was used in the trailer for the horrid Batman and Robin movie).

The footage was shown again. I hate to use flowerly language but it was like looking at a richly detailed tapestry. I cannot WAIT for this thing to come out.

Watchmen opens on March 6, 2009.