The 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International is mere weeks away - and while official information is only now trickling out, a look at the schedule of 2015 - 2016 movie releases indicates that there could be some major reveals at SDCC '14. From the ever-expanding DC and Marvel movie universes, to the return of beloved franchises like Star Wars and Jurassic Park, there are many geek-friendly genre films and TV shows building themselves up for big debuts - and what better time to make an impression than at Comic-Con?
NOTE: Very little in this preview is OFFICIALLY confirmed to be part of Comic-Con 2014; this is a list of hot properties that could likely (and probably should) have a presence at SDCC '14 - ranked in order from lowest to highest levels of anticipation. In short: This is what we are HOPING to get out of our Comic-Con 2014 experience.
10. Fond Farewell to Middle-earth
Peter Jackson has brought the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth to life onscreen in two epic trilogies, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Holiday season 2014 will see the third and final Hobbit installment, Battle of the Five Armies, debut in theaters - ergo bringing an end to onscreen adventures in Middle-earth for the foreseeable future.
When can easily surmise that New Line and WB will be bringing footage (and likely props) from Battle of the Five Armies to the 'Con this year - but in our book, that's not enough. Jackson's six-part Tolkien saga has been a milestone for many geeks (no matter which of the films you ultimately loved/hated) - but we can't help but feel that a more grand ceremony is needed to commemorate this, quite possibly our last chance to celebrate the release of a Jackson Tolkien movie in the hallowed halls of Comic-Con.
A Middle-earth cosplay pageant, screening event (one or multiple installments of the movies), appearances by cast members past and present - all bookended with exclusive previews of Battle of the Five Armies. Now THAT would be a proper way to say goodbye to a geek culture favorite.
9. Welcome Back... to Jurassic Park
Jurassic World is coming to theaters in June 2015, so this is the one and only chance to have the film make an appearance at Comic-Con. We expect star Chris Pratt to already be in attendance as part of Marvel's Comic-Con panel (more on that later), so having the funny and charming (and these days, ripped) actor help present a new vision of the Jurassic Park franchise seems like a no-brainer.
Besides having Pratt as a hype man, director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guranteed) and Co. simply need present fans with an official first look at some of the new dinosaurs teased in early marketing, and/or a virtual tour of the new Jurassic Park, a facility that is fully up and operational, some 22 years after the events of the first film.
We don't even need to see any footage (we're not greedy); some concept art and a virtual tour of Jurassic Park would be enough. Of course, if you DID want to really bring down the house, some teaser footage of a new massive and frightening dinosaur shaking the room with its roar would certainly do the trick!
8. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Tease
(Artwork by Tribute Design @ DeviantART)
Jennifer Lawrence has locked down the perfect movie career: Not only is she regularly starring in Oscar bait prestige films (Winter's Bone, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), she's also locked down roles in two top-tier blockbuster geek franchises (as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, and Mystique in X-Men). With the JLAW phenomenon currently in full effect, Comic-Con would only benefit from having the first part of the final Hunger Games installment on had to present.
Besides the usual panel and footage screening, Mockingjay - Part 1 is the sort of film that is perfect for massive walk-through displays - either in the main hall of the convention or in the surrounding area of downtown San Diego. Mockingjay would also offer opportunity for stars like Julianne Moore - who aren't necessarily 'Con regulars - to soak up some love from an adoring crowd.
Given what a pop-culture fixation it is right now, if Mockingjay doesn't have a legit presence at SDCC '14, we have a feeling a lot of attendees are going to be disappointed.
7. The (Cinematic) World of Warcraft
Where does a movie about the World of Warcraft games belong if not at the greatest geek mecca on the planet? Director Duncan Jones earned serious sci-fi cred with his indie film Moon, and his plans for the Warcraft movie adaptation sound like they could please both hardcore fans and general audiences, by offering an epic fantasy adventure.
Warcraft also has the benefit of a pretty solid cast, including Ben Foster (X-Men 3), Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible IV), Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Dominic Cooper (Captain America) and Vikings star Travis Fimmel. That's a pretty good lineup for an informative and fun panel explaining the characters and world of the film.
There is still a lot of extensive visual effects work needed before Warcraft's 2016 release, so we don't expect to see much finished footage. However, at this stage, concept art of the characters, creatures and settings would be sufficient - with maybe some pre-viz or unfinished sequences to give fans an idea of Jones' approach to fantasy action. Save the bigger reveals for SDCC '15, when Warcraft has more polish on it.
6. Interstellar Hints
Christopher Nolan's Interstellar has put out some pretty powerful trailers (see the latest one below) - but like all Nolan films, so much of it is still wrapped up in mystery.
We don't expect anything too revealing (this is Nolan after all) - but if Paramount and Legendary pictures plan on showcasing anything else in their respective film slates, a nice clip or new trailer for Interstellar would certainly be a welcome addition.
Legendary pulled a similar move in 2012 by sneaking a Godzilla teaser into their Pacific Rim presentation, and with the studio already motivated by the need to promote Warcraft, a similar "surprise reveal" for Interstellar isn't TOTALLY out of the question.
Just one glimpse at the actual "interstellarness" of it all would be exciting enough, as rumors about the film's plot have kept many fans buzzing with curiosity about whether or not Nolan will truly deliver deep and inventive sci-fi in the vein of 2001.