Comic-Con: Ten Things We Learned At The Disney Panel

By Ryan Gowland

Disney’s panel at the SDCC got off to a late start – the flood of tears and other bodily fluids had to be cleaned up after the “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2″ panel finished up. Once it commenced, all in attendance at Hall H were treated to clips, trailers or footage from “Frankenweenie,” “Oz The Great and Powerful,” “Wreck-it-Ralph” and, in a closing surprise, “The Lone Ranger.”

Here’s everything we learned.

1. “The Lone Ranger” trailer stole the show
Despite all the recent news of budget overruns and other set issues, the trailer for “The Lone Ranger” owned in Hall H. Given no introduction, the crowd were treated to images of trains with a voice-over discussing that the technological marvel offered great power to whomever controls it. Once Johnny Depp was shown from behind and his voice was heard, the crowd lost their collective minds. The pace was fast and frenetic, with trains falling off its rails, people getting shot and a little boy tossing a lone silver bullet into the air. Though it’s been some time since the Lone Ranger rode into cinemas, it looks like audiences will be ready.

2.Tim Burton thinks “Frankenweenie” is the “Perfect” Disney movie
Originally a live-action short that was supposed to air before the re-release of “Pinocchio” in 1984, “Frankenweenie” eventually got Burton dismissed from Disney. Almost 30 years later, Disney is releasing Burton’s 3-D animated version instead. “People forget that Disney films were founded on stuff that’s got heart and stuff that’s a bit scary, so, to me, it’s the perfect Disney movie,” Burton told the crowd.

The crowd seemed to agree while watching the clips, which included a classroom scene taught by new science teacher Mr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau) who loudly and passionately discusses how lightning is energy, and a clip where young Victor brings a goldfish back to life to keep his friend from spilling his secrets.

3. “Frankenweenie” was inspired by Tim Burton’s dead dog.
Explaining where he got his inspiration for “Frankenweenie,” Burton revealed that he movie “stemmed from having a dead dog when I was a child, and that special first relationship you have with a pet” that he then mixed with “monster movies and ’Frankenstein’ and those stories.” Burton said that many of the strange classmate character that Victor interacts with were based on kids he went to school with while growing up in Burbank, CA.

4. ’Oz The Great and Powerful’ isn’t the prequel to ’Wizard of Oz’ you may be expecting
With no trailer released yet (the beautiful trailer was shown during the panel and subsequently released online), there’s been little indication as to how much “Oz The Great and Powerful” will directly tie into “The Wizard of Oz.” While the trailer, like the original 1939 film, starts in black and white and changes to color once James Franco crash lands his balloon, Raimi says that there won’t be as many similarities as some might expect. “Mitchell Kapner, the original writer of the screenplay, took the Baum books and gathered different information that Baum had written about the character of Wizard from the second, third, and fourth Oz books and then he put them in chronological order and made up the rest based on his imagination,” said Raimi of what inspired the film. “So it’s really based on the book and it nods lovingly toward the 1939 great classic ’Wizard of Oz.'”

So, for those expecting ruby slippers and the Tin Man or Cowardly Lion, you might be disappointed. “Those characters are not a part of this picture actually,” Raimi said. “Because this takes place before ’The Wizard of Oz’ book and the movie takes place.” However, Raimi says that by the end of film, audiences will have “one interpretation of how it all came to be.”

5. A classic will remain a classic Raimi trademark
Since his first film, The Evil Dead, Raimi has included his yellow, 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 (nicknamed “The Classic”) in each and every one of his movies and “Oz The Great and Powerful” will be no exception. Raimi revealed that the car will be playing a “very challenging role” in the film and has really “altered its appearance” for the movie. “Parts of its engine block and part of its cam shaft was used to play another role,” explained Raimi.

6. No “Shadow” for Raimi
Raimi has been working for years on an adaptation of the pulp hero The Shadow, who was serialized on radio in the 1930s and unceremoniously brought to the big screen in 1994, but, it doesn’t look like those years have yielded a filmmable product. “I’ve been a big fan of the pulp series for many years, but we never got the screenplay just right,” Raimi explained. “We had some really good screenplays, but nothing that I thought really nailed the character and that’s why we didn’t proceed.”

7. Wreck-It-Ralph Surprised with Greatness
The biggest question mark of the panel had to be director Rich Moore’s animated ’Wreck-It-Ralph.’ A promising trailer was released in June, but Moore delivered by offering 10 minutes of hilarious (if unfinished) footage from the movie, which started by introducing Wreck-It-Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), the villain in a “Rampage”-esque video game called “Fix-It Felix Jr.” who’s tired of playing the bad guy to Felix (voiced by Jack MacBrayer) after 30 years. Ralph’s therapy-session-for-video-game-villains scene from the trailer was also included in the footage, as well as a scene where Felix is caught inside first person shooter “Hero’s Duty” and meets Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) and another where video game glitch Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) makes plenty of “dooty” jokes at Ralph’s expense when they discuss Ralph’s trip to “Hero’s Duty.” The film should be a real treat for gamers, particularly those that grew up on Atari or Nintendo consoles and can truly appreciate game character cameos like Bowser and Q*Bert.

8. No Mario and Luigi in ’Wreck-it-Ralph’
While the footage revealed plenty of cameos, particularly when Ralph walks through Grand Central Terminal, which takes video game characters to different games, but there’s some characters that won’t make a cameo. “Why would I talk about that certain mustachioed plumber guy,” said Moore during the Q&A. “And his brother, who wanted more money?”

Still, as Reilly pointed out, it wasn’t too difficult to get other characters to agree to show up. “Just imagine you’re the ’Frogger’ guy, you’re sitting at home,” Reilly said. “You made ’Frogger.’ It’s a game about a frog that crosses the road. It’s not that popular anymore. A phone call comes in from Rich Moore: ’We’re making a multi-million dollar Disney movie; can Frogger be in it?’ It’s a pretty easy answer.”

9. Fan Favorite Alan Tudyk will voice a character, and Skrillex will help score ’Wreck-It-Ralph’
The news is probably all over Twitter, as Moore told everyone to tweet the news that Alan Tudyk (“Serenity”) will voice King Candy, likely the ruler of the game “Sugar Rush,” home of Vanellope.
Meanwhile, on the soundtrack front, Moore also revealed that electronic artist Skrillex will “provide the musical soundtrack for the world of ’Hero’s Duty,” another invented video game in “Wreck-It-Ralph”

10. Voicing an animated movie is, in fact, harder than it might seem.
While Chris Rock famously mentioned that doing vice work in movies is not a difficult job during the Academy Awards, Reilly countered that by saying that working on “Wreck-It-Ralph” was ” actually a really engaging process” and that “we did a lot of improvisation.” The actor quipped, “You don’t have to worry about how you look, that’s one cool thing.”

What got you the most excited? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!