Comic-Con Opens With a Bang, a Pow, and a ‘TRON’

‘Tron’ and everything else: It’s a front-loaded Comic-Con lineup this year

So it looks like opening day at Comic-Con is not to be missed.

The annual herofest kicks off in San Diego this year with its meatiest offerings, from Disney’s “Tron: Legacy” presentation to what might be the most geektastic two-man panel ever: Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams.

The Con, which begins two weeks from Thursday, is rolling out it schedule one day at a time as it has in years past. We’ll find out what Friday (7/23), Saturday (7/24) and Sunday (7/25) have in store over the next few days.

But given that “Tron” is this year’s de-facto Comic-Con centerpiece, the fact that it comes on Thursday means they’re kicking things off with a heavy caliber bang.

(See the full Thursday schedule here)

Highlights from the Thursday lineup in San Diego:

MOVIE MADNESS:

Disney’s “Tron,” Dreamworks Animation’s “Megamind,” Summit’s “Red,” Universal’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and Lionsgate’s “The Expendables” are all bringing their dogs and ponies to Comic-Con on Thursday. Are there any other movies that matter after that? I guess that depends on whether Marvel wants to tell us whether “Iron Man 3” is going to happen.

“Megamind”: It’s DreamWorks Animation’s Comic-Con debut, and “Megamind” stars Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hilland director Tom McGrathare on hand to unveil footage. 10 a.m., Hall H.

“TRON: Legacy”: Is this really “Tron’s” third year at Comic-Con? It is, and it’s the one that counts, since the film comes out in December. Patton Oswalt (??) moderates the panel that includes … well, it includes everybody from Jeff Bridges on down. Comic-Con’s main event is held at 11:15 in Hall H.

“RED”: Summit’s spy thriller based on a DC graphic novel stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren; no word on whether any of them will be in attendance. 2:15 p.m., Hall H.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”: Scott Pilgrim himself (Michael Cera) will be there, along with a flurry of co-stars you’ve never heard of. Well, except for Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick. She alone makes this one worth going to. 6 p.m., Hall H

“The Expendables”: Sylvester Stallone, D lph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Randy Coutureand Terry Crewswill be there. Jean Claude Van Damme, sadly, will not. 4:45 p.m. in Hall H.

BEST CHANCE FOR NEWS BREAKING:

You never know where a newsy bit will pop loose at Comic-Con. If you're wearing a media credential, make sure you're covered at:

TheOneRing.net is a fansite, but don’t dismiss it – it’s been breaking news on the LOTR movie franchise since its inception. “Special guests are a possibility,” the program reads – and could they mean, like, the director? Who is it going to be again? Let’s find out. 10:30 a.m. in room 7AB.

JUST BECAUSE:

J. J. Abrams and Joss Whedon, together on a panel. Do you really need further details? Fine. It’s called Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries, and it’s billed as an “in-depth conversation with these two creative geniuses about how technology, gaming, and global culture are reshaping how we tell and consume stories on television, film and the web.” Whatever. Just be sure that at 3:30 someone’s saving you a seat in Hall H.

Iron Man and Rocket Men: Is Stark Industries an Appropriate Model for Private-Industry Space Exploration? Real, actual rocket scientists convene at 11:30 in room 24ABC. Because you want rocket boots to hurry up and be real.

CBLDF Master Session: Paul Pope: Inking with Speed and Precision: Believe it or not, Comic-Con is still pretty packed with comic-book industry stuff like this one. Bring your sketchbook to room 30CDEat noon to pick up some instant street cred.

AND FINALLY, AN OBLIGATORY ‘STAR WARS’ THINGY:

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed … Exclusive Live demo —LucasArts's executive producer Haden Blackman … stop you right there. You had me at “Star Wars.” 3:30 in room 6BCF