Comic-Con celebrates its 45th (as “Dr. Who” celebrates 50 years, gloriously displayed on the cover of this years program guides) year with an eclectically jam-packed schedule and more shenanigans than ever before. Pirate Ship for Assassin’s Creed 4? Check. Giant “Ender’s Game” tent thing whatever that is? Check. Multiple massive inflatable cartoon characters, AT LEAST 5 different gaming lounges, and roughly 8 bajilliom network and magazine sponsored lounges? Check! But even though Comic-Con is becoming more and more of an exciting place off-site, the real magic always happens inside, during panels celebrating beloved properties or introducing brand new ones. So here is our guide for film lovers on how to make the most of your trip.
And be sure to read our list of the 10 Most Memorable Comic-Con Panels of All Time!
THE BIG GUNS
Entertainment Weekly’s The Visionaries
Entertainment Weekly returns with its regular panel focusing on different types of genre movers and shakers, The Visionaries. This year, the panel features three completely different directors, Marc Webb, Edgar Wright and Alfonso Curaron, all appearing on the same stage because of their successful forays into genre. The three are also all appearing on other panels throughout the Convention, Webb with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, Wright with “The World’s End” and Curaron with “Gravity”, but the Visionaries panel is a chance to hear them not focus primarily on promoting their new movies, but discuss the art of filmmaking overall.
Thursday July 18, 2013 2:30pm - 3:30pm
"Ender’s Game" / "Divergent"
Controversery or no controversy, Summit is pulling out all the stops for their adaptation of “Ender’s Game” at Comic-Con this year, with a panel, signing, events and parties happening throughout the entire week. Head here for an extended look at the film and talk with Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Asa Butterfield and more. Sharing this panel is “Divergent”, the film based on the hugely popular YA series by the same name and present for the Q&A will be the novelist, director, and *nine* cast members, including both Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, so if you ever wanted to pretend there might be the possibility of a The Spectacular Now panel at Comic-Con, now would be the time.
Thursday July 18, 2013 3:50pm - 4:50pm
"The World’s End"
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost return to Comic-Con with the third in the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, following “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hut Fuzz”. Here, they will be showing off some footage for the comedy, but the real treat here is just getting to see these guys interact with each other and the fans. The perfect Comic-Con morning!
Friday July 19, 2013 10:00am - 11:00am
As if the morning wasn’t perfect enough already, immediately following the Focus panel is one on Veronica Mars, featuring a magical cast of magic, including regular cast members Kristen Bell, Francis Capra, Enrico Colantoni,Percy Daggs III and Jason Dohring, plus ensemble members Ryan Hansen, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino and Krysten Ritter. Producer/director Rob Thomas will also be on hand to screen footage and discuss the phenomenon that was the film’s Kickstarter Campaign. In the true spirit of Comic-Con, a tv show that got canceled due to low ratings is now the subject of one of THE most anticipated panels of the entire convention. Love it.
Friday July 19, 2013 11:15am - 12:00pm
Sony & Screen Gems
Talent and hopefully footage from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” “Robocop” and “The Amazing Spider-man 2” will all be on hand this Friday afternoon in a massive 2+ hours panel. Andrew Garfield in particular has a lot to live up to after blowing everyone away with his genuine love for Spider-man at his last appearance for the first in the rebooted series, where he “asked a question” from the audience in full costume. Can he out-adorbz himself is clearly the question on everyone’s mind. Or at least mine.
Friday July 19, 2013 4:05pm - 6:15pm
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Preview Their Upcoming Lineups
Warner Brothers prepares to wow Comic-Con again with its regular Saturday morning spot, this time bringing footage and talent from “Godzilla”,” Seventh Son”,” 300: Rise of an Empire”, “Gravity”, “The Lego Movie”, and
“Edge of Tomorrow”. Going into the panel, my money would be on Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” or Gareth “have you seen V/H/S/2 and realized what a genius I am yet?!” Evans’ “Godzilla”, but you never know with a panel chock full like this one.
Saturday July 20, 2013 10:45am - 1:15pm
Lionsgate - Featuring I, Frankenstein and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
“I, Frankenstein” is gonna be cool and all but “CATCHING FIRE” AHHHH. Jennifer Lawrence?! Will you be there? Are we besties? Is the footage going to be amazing? Am I gonna volunteer as tribute?! Am I going to make myself a dress made entirely of Catching Fire pins and then catch myself on fire BECAUSE I CAN?!?! Point is - first ever “Hunger Games” panel. HAPPENING.
Saturday July 20, 2013 1:35pm - 2:35pm
All the program guide says is TBA, which is probably the greatest thing ever because the only thing we can really glean from it is DO NOT MISS THIS PANEL. Because, come on, if all a studio will announce is that they are a studio having a panel, you know that sh*t is going to be epic. Not. To. Be. Missed.
Saturday July 20, 2013 4:15pm - 5:45pm
Marvel returns to Saturday evening to close out the film portion of Hall H with this look at the second movies for Thor and Cap, and if we are being honest, there will probably be some “Guardians of the Galaxy” stuff in there too and most likely some announcement of something happening next cause that’s how Marvel rolls. Holy crap does Saturday rule this year.
Saturday July 20, 2013 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Also Check Out: NextMovie's 10 Things to Geek Out Over at Comic-Con 2013
"Europa Report" / NASA
One of my favorite movies from LA Film Fest, “Europa Report”, hits Hall H in a joint panel with NASA, discussing the science behind the film, which depicts “ a near-future crewed mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, seeking evidence for life in an ocean beneath the moon's icy surface.” The panel will not only feature some cast and crew, including composer Bear McCreary, but scientists involved with the NASA robotic spacecraft concept, the Europa Clipper, “designed to investigate the mysteries of Europa, including whether it has the elements to support life.” A fantastic panel for fans who miss good old fashioned hard space films, and a bit of an historic moment as well, bringing the science and the fiction together like this at a platform like Comic-Con.
Thursday July 18, 2013 1:10pm - 2:20pm
I Know That Voice! Documentary: Special Preview and Q&A
This documentary about the world of voiceover that I literally had never heard of until I read about this panel, is now one of my most anticipated panels of the convention that of course I most likely have no chance of getting into. Appearing on the panel are modern voiceover icons like John DiMaggio, Billy West, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kenny and more as they take a look at the film and discuss the industry. Probably in lots of silly voices.
Thursday July 18, 2013 4:45pm - 5:45pm
Voltage Pictures: An Exclusive Preview of "The Zero Theorem", Directed by Terry Gilliam
Because he is a giant badass, Terry Gilliam is sending yet another project to Comic-Con to confuse and arouse the genre community, following the strange, delightful trip that was “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”, which debuted footage in Hall H back in 2009. The new film is called “Zero Theorem” and it follows an “An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence or the lack thereof once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being”. YES. IS all I can say to that. Although Gilliam won’t physically be present for this panel, his daughter and the films’ producers will be on hand to present a sneak peak at the cray, which stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton.
Thursday July 18, 2013 5:10pm - 5:40pm
Two awesome sounding documentaries about overlooked parts of the industry at one Comic-Con?!?! This time, the doc is called Showrunners, and its subject is the profession itself, “taking the audience behind the scenes, into the writers’ room and on set with candid interviews with 20 of today's top showrunners.”, Included in the film are Joss Whedon, J. J. Abrams, Ronald D. Moore, Damon Lindelof, and many more. The panel, the inaugural one in Comic-Con’s brand new space, The Lyceum Theater, will feature exclusive footage and an intimate discussion about the “craft of running a television show”, with Hart Hanson (Bones), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Jane Espenson (Husbands, Once Upon A Time), and the documentary filmmakers. In a cool move, this new space only fits 200 people and tickets are handed out through a 9am lottery system, eliminating the need to wait in line in order to chat with some of your favorite Showrunners. More detailed information on that process can be found here.
Friday July 19, 2013 2:00pm - 3:00pm
A slew of directors and composers discuss the relationship between film and music, specifically in the world of superheroes, in one of many of this years industry job focused panels. The composers include Marco Beltrami (The Wolverine), John Debney (Iron Man 2), Matthew Margeson (X-Men: First Class, Kick Ass 2) , Bear McCreary and more. A great opportunity for any aspiring composers with a predilection towards geekdom and sure to be an interesting discussion in any event.
Thursday July 18, 2013 10:30am - 11:30am
An interesting cross section of video game and film professionals come together to discuss “the challenges, opportunities and the future of what many are calling the next dominant supplier of franchise films to the studios: Video Game-based movies!” For so long, video game adaptations could only equal bad news bears, but could this be changing? Is using a video game as the foundation for a film something we want, or something to rally against? Are Bioshock and Red Dead Redemption, both of which work so well precisely because of the specific art form of video game, even properly translate to film? ….I kind of just got really excited to ask way too many questions at this panel.
Thursday July 18, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm
We Still Love The 80s: 1983
Last year, a panel of geek experts discussed the year 1982, which is known as one of the greatest years for film geekdom ever. This year, they return to discuss 1983, which featured the release of “Return of the Jedi”, “War Games”, “ A Christmas Story,” “Krull”, “Jaws 3-D,” “Octopussy,” “.Never Say Never Again” and more. Panelists include geekerati regulars GEEK founding publisher Mark A. Altman, writer Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), director/producer Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, ST: TNG Blu-Rays), and more.
Thursday July 18, 2013 3:00pm - 4:00pm
The Casting Society Of America Presents: The Casting Directors
In a cool move for all of the aspiring actors attending Comic-Con (see: booth babes of any and all genders), the industry of Casting Directing is represented this year, featuring the casting directors for films like “Man of Steel,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “The Walking Dead”, “The Avengers”, and more. If you’ve always wondered how the hell the casting director knew Chris Evans of all people would end up making the perfect Captain America, or how to find an actor to represent a beloved character properly, while also balancing talent and chemistry, now is your chance.
Friday July 19, 2013 2:20pm - 3:20pm
Get an in depth look behind the scenes at “Roger Rabbit”, now 25 years old. This major panel reunites producer Don Hahn with the voice of Roger Rabbit himself, Charles Fleisher, along with animators and fx wizards from the film to discuss the process of making this ground breaking film. It is frankly about time that Roger Rabbit have a bit of a comeback, don’t you think?
Friday July 19, 2013 5:45pm - 6:45pm
In what is always the most entertaining panel of Comic-Con, Kevin Smith returns to just kind of talk a lot for almost two hours straight. Whatever party you were thinking of going to at 7pm that night? Don’t. This is better. Fact. Whatever you may think about his movies, Kevin Smith knows how to host a Comic-Con Q&A.
Saturday July 20, 2013 7:15pm - 9:00pm