23rd Annual WonderCon 2009

It’s been a long day and I’m really tired but I’m gonna write this damn thing anyway cause I know if I don’t do it tonight I’m probably not going to. Okay, here we go….

I got off work on Friday and rushed over to the Moscone Center, where WonderCon is held every year, to pick up my press pass and meet up with my friend Pat. Sadly I’d missed his panel for his website Geek Tastic.com, but that didn’t mean we still couldn’t have a good time. As I turned the corner, almost to my destination, I saw two girls in scantily clad costumes from some comic or anime that I didn’t recognize.

Then I realized, “Oh yeah, I’m almost to WonderCon,” and that probably would not be the weirdest thing I saw this weekend.

Anyway, I got my pass, met up with Pat and being that there was never much going on on Friday I decided it would be better to prepare for the dorktastic weekend ahead. How did I do that you may or may not be wondering? By eating pizza, smoking hookah, drinking a lot of beer and playing Rock Band 2. Now I was ready.

Saturday:

This morning, slightly hung over, I arrived at eleven just in time for the first panel at eleven thirty. I walked right past the line to get in, flashed my glorious press pass and walked right in. When the room was filled to capacity the doors were shut and the lights dimmed, the crowd erupted in applause. The first panel was beginning.

Main Ballroom
The room where all the panels took place.

Watchmen: Director Zack Snyder took the stage a spoke a lot of about the making of the film. He talked about casting and how he’d spoken with Tom Cruise at one point to appear in the film, but that fell through. He talked about his director’s cut and how it will most likely be getting a theatrical release in July (if the film does well next weekend that is). He also talked about a DVD release that would blend the film as well as the animated Tales of the Black Freighter into one giant uber Watchmen film, so think about that when the first DVD is released.

Amazingly they showed us the first twenty minutes of the film! And I must say, as a man who has had much reservation about this film. I am now excited to see this next week! It still has his slow motion action scene style, which bugs me, but the first twenty minutes feels very true to the comic and there is a fantastic opening credits montage that fills in much of the back story and tells us about this alternate world.

Then they brought out the cast: Mailn Akerman (Silk Spectre II), Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) and Patrick Wilson (Nite Owl II), as well as the comic artist, Dave Gibbons. Which was followed by a typical Q&A filled with gushing fanboy shout outs. But I must say, Zack Snyder was a very funny guy and he did a good job getting me excited to see his film.

After that I took a break to go get lunch and make it back in time for the next big panel.

Monarch's Henchmen
Saw these guys dressed as The Monarch’s henchmen on my way too lunch. Sadly they were walking away from me.

Star Trek: J.J. Abrams (surprise guest!) took the stage and everyone was excited! He showed us a brand new trailer which you’ll all see next week when you watch Watchmen and let me tell you it’s pretty damn bad ass! Then Abrams was joined by producer Roberto Orci, Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Zack Quinto (Spock) and Chris Pine (Kirk). They jumped right into Q&A and not only did they actually get interesting questions but they gave really good and interesting answers. Abrams admitted that he hadn’t been a Trek fan going into making the film but he was now. When asked how it was filling the shoes of Kirk and Spock, Pine said that it was “pretty daunting” while Quinto modestly responded, “I was not daunted.”

9: Up next was a panel for a film most of you have probably not even heard about yet and is, I think, going to be one of the biggest underappreciated films of the year. Seriously, go watch the trailer right now, it’s amazing. Star Elijah Wood and director of animation, Joe Ksander talked about the film and fielded dorktastic questions. Wood was asked to compare playing this role to playing Frodo to which he responded, “This is going to happen to me the rest of me life.” They showed the trailer and a five-minute clip that was awesome. I am so excited for this film and pissed that I have to wait until September to see it.

Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood dealing with the dorky questions.

Up: The next Pixar film was up next. The director and the producer talked about the film and showed us five clips of the film totaling about 17 minutes. This is going to be a very interesting film. It’s not going to be as amazing as Wall-E but I think it will surprise people.

Terminator: Salvation: This was the surprise of the evening for me (and no, Christian Bale didn’t show up, but McG did call him and humorously yell at him for not being there.) McG was a very charismatic guy and really got the audience riled up. He brought out the other stars of the film Common, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard and Moon Bloodgood. Before showing the new trailer, which you’ll also see before Watchmen next week he said, “It’s going to knock you’re [brain matter] up your ass!” And you know what? It pretty much did.

I don’t think McG has ever made a good film and I was really sad when I heard he was making this film. But after seeing the new trailer and the two scenes he shared with us (still missing some FX as they were) I am genuinely excited to see this film! I know exactly where I’m going to be on May 21st, my birthday.

McG was also trying to use the crowds enthusiasm to help his cause to keep some footage in the film. At one point he shouted, “Who wants to see Moon’s boobs in the picture?” Everyone shouted yes. When asked about Arnold and any connection to this film McG said, “The T-800 plays a huge role in this film… I don’t want to say too much but by not saying anything perhaps I’ve said it.”

Common
Common talking about how much he enjoyed working with Christian Bale.

Celebrate a Star Wars decade: Where were you in ’99?: This was actually kinda lame. After showing the Phantom Menace trailer and a short montage of fan boys and girls and convention blubbering about Star Wars there was very little talk about “Where were you in ’99.” Mostly it was all about The Clone Wars TV Series and where they’re going with it. They showed a lot of sketches of new characters and talked about there they are going with the show. They showed some footage of a new bounty hunter character that was actually pretty cool. And the animation is much improved over what they had in the film.

And that was it for Saturday. I left the Center and headed off to a press screening of Adventureland for which I’ve written a whole review so I don’t want to talk about that too much. There’s still some stuff going on tomorrow. So I’m going to take a break and relax a bit. And I’ll leave you with this image:

Rogue, White Queen and Poison Ivy
Rogue, White Queen and Poison Ivy. It’s good to go to Con!

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