Americans are an inquisitive people, and every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims seek the answers to their most troubling queries by traveling to just one destination: Comic-Con International in San Diego.
This year, though, our questions go a little bit above and beyond simple things like "How many Stormtroopers can fit into a Volkswagen?" No, this year we have not one, but 10 burning questions about upcoming hot movie projects that can only be answered at next weekend's Comic-Con.
So take a look at our preview of the most pressing Comic-Con mysteries -- and join us in seeking enlightenment.
1. How good is "Cowboys & Aliens"?
Ever since "Cowboys & Aliens" wowed the Comic-Con crwod last year, thanks in part to a stunt involving Harrison Ford in handcuffs, the nerdosphere has been buzzing over Jon Favreau's cross-genre action flick that stars Daniel Craig. But is it any good? Well, we'll know next weekend, as Favreau will be treating 2,000 lucky Comic-Con attendees to a special sneak premiere. Get ready to be swept up in the Twitterstorm when the curtain drops.
2. Can Kristin Stewart carry "Snow White and the Huntsman"?
Considering there are three different modernizations of "Snow White" being worked on in Hollywood right now, "Snow White and the Huntsman" has a lot of competition out there. Luckily, this "Snow White" has two big advantages: "Twilight" superstar Kristen Stewart as Snow and "Thor's" Chris Hemsworth as The Hunstman who decides to spare her life. Will they be enough to help this fable stand out from the crowd? We should find out when the first footage screens at Comic-Con.
3. Will Peter Jackson show footage from "The Hobbit"?
There's no question that Peter Jackson's epic two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel 'The Hobbit" is among the most anticipated films in recent memory. And now rumor has it that Jackson, who has been leaking stills from the New Zealand shoot, will actually screen the first footage of "The Hobbit" at Comic-Con. If he does, don't be surprised to see YouTube crash; that's what happened when 6 billion people land on your website at the same time.
4. Is "The Avengers" really going to be a no-show?
Last year, Marvel Studios made probably the biggest splash with its super-crossover extravaganza "The Avengers," rolling out the whole superstar cast (Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, etc. etc.) on stage at the same time. This year, though, despite the fact that director Joss Whedon and stars Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are all confirmed guests, Marvel swears it isn't doing anything for "The Avengers." We'll believe that when we don't see it.
5. Will Taylor Lautner destroy Comic-Con?
It's hard to believe that once upon a time, Taylor Lautner was in very real danger of being dumped from the "Twilight" franchise because he wasn't considered big enough to play the werewolf Jacob. Well, is he big enough now, America? Considering he's become one of the hottest stars in Hollywood, Lautner's presence may be more than even Comic-Con can handle, which is saying something from a venue that has hosted Darth Vader. But can thousands of Twihard tweens successfully mix with furries and cosplay rangers? The world will soon find out.
6. How big will the "Twilight" buzz be?
Speaking of "Twilight," Comic-Con 2008 was dominated by the first film in the franchise, which came from off the radar to become one of the biggest stories of the Con thanks to a gaggle of shrieking fans that turned the "Twilight" panel into probably the loudest and most impassioned event in Comic-Con history. So how will fans top that now that the final films are being rolled out? Let's just say it's a good thing there are hundreds of superheroes around to keep things from getting too out of hand.
7. Can Francis Ford Coppola fit in at Comic-Con with "Twixt"?
Francis Ford Coppola is one of the most respected directors alive, with films like "The Godfather," "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now" all considered legitimate film classics. A fanboy, however, he isn't -- which makes his appearance at this year's Comic-Con to promote his upcoming movie "Twixt" so interesting. He's done the Con before, for "Dracula"; but will modern fans respond to his latest gothic horror, about a writer dreaming of ghosts? We're eager to find out.
8. Can Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg pull off "Tintin"?
Steven Spielberg is arguably the world's greatest director. Peter Jackson is arguably among the world's greatest producers. And "Tintin"? Well, "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn" is one of Hollywood's greatest gambles. Can even this team turn a decades-old European comic book into a hit using motion capture CGI animation? We may find out at Comic-Con,where all-new footage will be revealed to the world's most critical audience.
9. Will fans embrace Andrew Garfield as "The Amazing Spider-Man"?
Considering Tobey Maguire helped turn the "Spider-Man" franchise into a hit to the tune of $2.5 billion dollars, Andrew Garfield has some mighty big shoes (or are those footie pajamas?) to fill when he steps into the role of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler in next year's "Amazing Spider-Man." Comic-Con will be his first chance to wow the fans in person -- or engineer Spidey's greatest defeat. Good luck, Andrew.
10. Does the world need a remake of "Fright Night"?
The 1984 horror film "Fright Night" is considered a cult classic by fans of the genre, but thanks to its timely topic -- it's about a kid who realizes his neighbor is a vampire -- it represents something else to Hollywood: a potential cash cow. The new remake looks good and has a stellar cast (Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant) that could win over even the harshest critics, but the proof is in the pudding; if the footage set to debut at Comic-Con doesn't wow the crowd, it's possible that bad word of mouth owing to remake cynicism could derail "Fright Night" before it even reaches theaters.