Chances are that, if you are a human who breathes air, you have heard of Comic-Con, the international comic book convention that takes over San Diego ever July. What you might not know about is the smaller, springtime iteration that's lovingly referred to as Comic-Con's little brother: WonderCon. Though normally held in San Francisco, 2013 marks WonderCon's second year in Anaheim. Similar to Comic-Con, the event features panels not only on comics and video games, but television and film, and in years past is where geeks got a first glimpse at films like JJ Abrams' "Star Trek", "Inception", and "Prometheus," to name very very few. So here is a quick rundown of the film and film adjacent panels you should expect the internets to be buzzing about this year.
FRIDAY, MARCH 29
Avatar: The Search for Zuko's Mom
If you haven't yet experienced the three brilliant seasons of Nickelodeon's "Avatar: The Last Airbender", WHY and I'm mad at you. While you may find yourself scoffing because "It's a cartoon!" or "That movie sucked!" to you I say "WILLYOUJUSTTRUSTME?" And then you will trust me. Due to the massive (and well deserved) popularity of the show, Dark Horse has been releasing graphic novels that cover both adventures we never got to see that took place during the show, and in the case of this latest release, events that take place after "Avatar" ends, in many ways helping bride the gap to its spinoff "The Legend of Korra", soon entering into its second season. In this new three part graphic novel, "The Promise," we finally learn what the deal was with Prince Zuko's mom as he joins his no good sister Azula, Aang, Katara, Sokka, Appa and Momo, on a journey to get to the bottom of why she vanished in his youth. At this panel, PR Director of Dark Horse Jeremy Atkins and writer Gene Yang, discuss the creation of the book and give a sneak peak at what is to come!
The Most Dangerous Women at WonderCon Anaheim!
Another installment of the all female panel that began at Comic-Con, this hour focuses on the "movers and shakers" of fandom, women who innovate and change the game, and their role in the world of the convention experience. Expect lots of discussion on what it means to be a geek girl, including plenty of controversial back and forth. Panelists include Jenna Busch (blogger extraordinaire, host of "Cocktails with Stan"), Emma Caulfield (Anya from "Buffy"! Also an actress in tons of other things. But mostly Anya from "Buffy"!!), Jane Espenson (Sci-Fi TV writing goddess), and tons more.
GEEK Magazine Star Trek Summit Live
A bunch of "Star Trek" experts discuss the past present and future of all things "Star Trek", with a focus on the upcoming sequel to JJ Abrams reboot.
World Premiere of "Superman: Unbound"
World Premiere screening of the next animated film from DCU featuring the voices of Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), John Noble ("Fringe") and Stana Katic ("Castle") as Supes, Brainiac and Lois, respectively. DCU's animated movies are always fantastic and this one, based on the Geoff Johns 2008 release "Superman: Brainiac" should be no exception. See it now or wait until it hits DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital Download on May 7th.
Awfully Big Adventures: Storytellers Who Find One Medium Too Small
Gale Anne Hurd (producer of "Terminator", "Aliens" & "The Walking Dead"), and comic book writers Amanda Connor and Ann Nocenti join Jane Espenson to discuss the blurred lines between sci-fi and fantasy, and the multiple formats into which they weave. As the panel description points out, "movies are based on comics, comics are based on TV shows, TV shows are based on movies." Geoff Boucher (EW's Capetown) moderates this discussion on how to keep storytelling fresh, the difference between writing for all of these mediums, and much much more. If the right questions are asked about originality and if it's possible to have a successful property based on nothing, this could prove to be one fascinating hour.
Netflix's "Hemlock Grove"
As we all know now, Netflix has original programming, and it's GOOD y'all. Coming soon from Eli Roth is a murder mystery series starring Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott and TWO former "Battlestar Galactica" cast members, all of whom will be present for this sneak peak. The next "House of Cards"?? Okay probably not but still, Netflix has kind of earned us giving them a shot with their other properties now, right?
SATURDAY, MARCH 30
The Music That Makes You Scream
A chat with horror film composers! So niche! So awesome! Featuring the musical minds behind scores for various "Halloweens", "Hostels" and all kinds of other scary offerings.
Inspector Spacetime: The Panel
In case you aren't already aware, the actor who plays Inspector Spacetime on "Community", Travis Richey, created and is the star of a web series entitled "Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time". So yes, it is an actual series inspired by "Inspector Spacetime" that some might say IS "Inspector Spacetime", but no, of course it isn't, because that would cause lots of legal problems. Get it? You guys. Travis Richey is a genius. All actors take note!
Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures
Unfortunately, "Inspector Spacetime" is opposite a look at "Pacific Rim" with Guillermo del Toro and "The Conjuring" with James Wan. Both movies KILLED at their respective convention debuts (Comic-Con and New York Comic Con) and are returning to the genre crowd to show new footage and discuss the properties in even more depth. With all the buzz "Pacific Rim" has been getting after an EXTREMELY well received screening in LA last week, expect this to be the talk of the Con.
Word on the street is there will be some trailers featured here you can't see in just any ol' cinema. Come enjoy the major previews with a giant crowd full of fellow fans and perhaps more importantly, be some of the first to learn about great movies currently flying under the radar.
Sony Pictures: "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," "Evil Dead," "This Is The End"
This panel features two first looks at movies coming out a ways away and one final look one at the horror flick opening next weekend that just brought the house down at its SXSW premiere. First up, the adaptation of the popular young adult series "Mortal Instruments", starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, both of whom will be in attendance. The young lovers in this case? Descendent of half-angel warriors Clary and straight up half-angel warrior Jace. Okay! Next up, one last peak at the "Evil Dead" remake before it opens April 5th. Do. Not. Miss. Seeing. Any. Of. This. Footage. With. 4000. Fans. Trust. Me. Oh. God. Also, the panel will have Bruce Campbell on it, which means it will be hilarious and beautiful and everything that is right with the world. Finishing off Sony's 90 minutes is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's new end of the world comedy "This Is The End", which follows Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride playing themselves, trapped in Franco's house during the apocalypse. Yes you heard me right - playing themselves. Warning: this footage may be the sleeper hit of the entire convention. Plus Rogen and Goldberg will both be on the panel, joined by Danny McBride and Craig Robinson, so chances are there miiiiight be a laugh or two.
ElfQuest 35th Anniversary
Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes talk all things "ElfQuest". This past fall they acquired the film rights to the property, so safe bet they will be discussing recent developments and the future of this hotly-anticipated-by-geekdom adaptation.
"Under The Dome" Sneak Peak and Q&A
Stephen King adaptation! Created by Brian K. Vaughan! Produced by Amblin! You guys!
SUNDAY, MARCH 31
"Much Ado About Nothing"
Joss Whedon shot a version of "Much Ado About Nothing" over 12 days in his house starring a slew of Whedonverse superstars and a few very welcome newcomers. It is fantastic. It's accessible, it's dark, it's sultry, it's funny, it's quite the damn accomplishment. Join Whedon and more or less his entire cast as they show some clips and have a sure to be lively discussion. If you consider yourself a Whedon fan, this is a must see. Fun fact: Due to overwhelming positive response to the fact that this panel would be at Wondercon, the convention actually moved it from a 1000 seater to the giant 4000 seater arena! JOSS FOR US ALL!!!
I don't even care what Chris Hardwick is talking about anymore, if he is on stage, it's a guaranteed great time.
Starship Smackdown Presents: Alien Armageddon
The ever popular Comic-Con/Wondercon tradition Starship Smackdown shakes things up by switching up their content! This time instead of pitting starships/captains against each other, the Smackdown team will be debating which alien in all of fandom is the best of the best.