x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Comic-Con 2011 suggests entertaining hours ahead

This year's conference, where forthcoming TV shows and movies are previewed and promoted, promised much to look forward to.

An attendee at Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego. This year’s conference, where forthcoming TV shows and movies are previewed and promoted, included appearances from Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.
An attendee at Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego. This year’s conference, where forthcoming TV shows and movies are previewed and promoted, included appearances from Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.

As the world's geeks and fanboys hang up their Boba Fett costumes for another year and cleaners at San Diego's Conference Center wonder how to get Wookiee footprints out of the carpets, it's time to sit back and reflect. What exactly have we learnt from this year's Comic-Con?

JJ Abrams isn't quite finished with noodle-twisting plot lines. The director showcased the pilot for his new TV series Alcatraz (due to broadcast on Fox next year), which tells the mysterious story of 300 inmates of the island prison who go missing and then reappear 50 years later without having aged. With twists, time travel and even the appearance of Jorge Garcia, the comparisons to Lost have been coming thick and fast.

Guillermo del Toro's robot-monster film Pacific Rim may only be in the pre-production stage, but he's making sure people know about it, pledging to make the "finest" monsters and robots "ever committed to film".

In the battle of the Snow Whites, Universal has gained the upper hand. They showcased their Snow White and the Huntsman, due out next June, by putting up photos of Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in full dress, while the producer Joe Roth declared it to be "on the scale of Lord of the Rings". Relativity Media's as-yet-untitled Snow Whiteproduction - due out in March - didn't make an appearance.

The new Beavis and Butthead might not be as bad as previously thought. MTV premiered about five minutes of footage from the forthcoming series of everyone's favourite sofa-based reprobates, and it looked much like the stuff of old. While this might not seem like something to celebrate, given that recent MTV output has included the likes of Jersey Shore, surely anything that avoids Snooki should be applauded.

Colin Farrell isn't afraid of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Speaking at the panel for Len Wiseman's Total Recall reboot due out next year, the actor - who takes Schwarzenegger's role as Doug Quaid - said: "I play an Austrian expat who rises to prominence in the world of bodybuilding, before becoming a film star and learning that's not a stable basis for a career in politics."

The Amazing Spider-Man has saved Andrew Garfield's life. The Social Network star, clad in full Spidey attire to promote the forthcoming reboot, due out next July, added: "Peter Parker's always been the one fictional character (and Holden Caulfield) who I related to when I was growing up." (Garfield attended a preparatory school and later the fee-paying City of London Freemen's School, by the way.)

The discussion also revealed Rhys Ifans's transformation from Dr Curt Connor into the monstrous villain, The Lizard. Ifans added some drama of his own to proceedings on Friday night, with police laying a misdemeanour battery charge after he tussled with a female security guard. The police said the altercation was sparked when a member of Ifans' entourage was prevented from entering a panel discussion.

Mark Hamill - a rare sight on big and small screen since Star Wars, but surely a demigod in the Comic-Con halls - is joining the TV show Chuck as the first villain of Season five. Hamill will appear in the season premiere due to broadcast in the US on October 21. Steven Spielberg, there to promote his forthcoming Tintin adaptation, is definitely working on the fourth Jurassic Park.

"We have a story," he announced during his first trip to Comic-Con. "We have a writer who is writing the treatment and hopefully we are going to make Jurassic Park IV in all of your foreseeable futures - all of our foreseeable futures - hopefully, in the next two or three years."

What this year's Comic-Con proved is that not even supposedly "arty" film directors are scared of attending anymore.

Francis Ford Coppola descended upon San Diego this year to promote the indie gothic horror/romance Twixt, which he has made in such a way that he can alter scenes and soundtrack with each performance, depending on the mood of the audience. Incredibly, the audience response during the 10-minute Comic-Con promo seemed focused on not giggling at the increasing wideness of the lead Val Kilmer's face.