“Twilight,” Joss Whedon and “The Hobbit” headline just a few of the most alluring panels at this year’s Comic-Con, which begins July 12 in San Diego.
The schedule for the massive gathering in sunny Southern California trickled out over the weekend, tantalizing comic book fans, film nerds and TV addicts alike.
TheWrap will be on-site to provide detailed coverage from beginning to end, but for those who can’t wait — or don't want to sift through hundreds of listings — we've compiled a list of the panels you’ll want, make that need, to see.
For everything from RPatz and KStew to Larry King interviewing a Transformer, keep reading.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II”: The End of an Era
Harry Potter was the defining book series-turned-movie franchise of its generation, but few films cause a bigger stir at Comic-Con than those starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and the rest of the vampires and werewolves. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II,” the last film in this popular yarn, hits theaters this November. To help stir up excitement, cast members will take to Hall H for a question-and-answer session on opening day, July 12. They will air exclusive footage as well, leaving just one question: what’s more appealing, a vampire baby or Taylor Lautner with his shirt off? Only time will tell.
R.I.P. Ray Bradbury
A quartet of writers will gather to celebrate and discuss the legendary writer of “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Illustrated Man” July 12. Margaret Atwood, Joe Hill, Sam Weller and Mort Castle will all detail how Bradbury impacted their work, as well as other writers and filmmakers. Chris Ryall, CEO and editor-in-chief of IDW Comics, will moderate.
Stan Lee Comes to YouTube
The co-founder of Marvel Comics helped create such iconic characters as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. Now he’s embracing the burgeoning industry of online video.
Lee will introduce his new YouTube Channel, “Stan Lee’s World of Heroes,” a collaboration between Lee and Michael Eisner’s Vuguru. The July 12 panel features a star-studded cast, including Mark Hamill and Hulk writer Peter David, which will talk about the new shows and unveil exclusive footage.
Online Video Flexes Its Muscles
Stan Lee isn’t the only one embracing YouTube. Google’s hugely popular portal and other giants of web video have made their presence felt over the last few months with a slew of conferences. From the “New Fronts” (their equivalent of the television upfronts) to VidCon (their version of CinemaCon), online video has been making its argument for greater recognition.
Now key players and advocates of this emerging space get to make the argument at Comic-Con, where the lights will be brighter than ever before.
“The Annoying Orange,” a YouTube sensation whose new Cartoon Network show is already a hit with kids, has a panel July 13. Series creator Dane Boedigheimer, who voices “Orange,” and others from the show will appear.
Machinima, the video game giant and YouTube partner, also has a panel on that Friday. Generating more than 1.6 billion views a month, its network of shows and stars will reveal exclusive footage from its new YouTube channel, Machinima Prime.
Disney Still Makes Movies
When Disney was searching for its new studio chief, the press noted how the job was more about managing a series of studios — in particular Marvel and Pixar — than running one. Disney will remind fans it still makes its own films on July 12.
Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Rich Moore will answer questions about upcoming projects for Walt Disney Studios. Burton will discuss “Frankenweenie,” a remake of his 1984 short film that will hit theaters this fall. Raimi will talk about ”Oz The Great and Powerful,” a fantasy film starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz that is slated for a March 2013 release.
And then there’s “Wreck-it Ralph,” the latest from Disney’s animation studio. Moore is directing and Reilly and Silverman lend their voices to the characters. Reilly voices the title character, a gigantic villain from the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. Ralph decides he wants to be a force for good, escaping his game and landing in another where he meets Silverman's Vanellope von Schweetz.
“Wreck-it Ralph” also has its own panel the next day, which will bring story artists and writers on stage to discuss the Nov. 2 release.
The Joss Whedon Appreciation Society
Why is Whedon, whose “The Avengers” already conquered the box office this summer, appearing at Comic-Con? He's taking a trip down memory lane.
A July 12 panel celebrates the 10th anniversary of “Firefly,” Whedon’s beloved cult classic that was canceled after just one season on air. Whedon was so reluctant to let it go that he made a movie, “Serenity."
Cast members and writers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which Whedon created, will gather July 14 for the 20th anniversary of the original film. Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy, is set to appear.
But Whedon isn’t just remembering the past, he’s revealing his future. On July 13, Whedon will talk about the upcoming ninth season for Dark Horse Comics, the independent comic book publisher for which he writes.
Larry King Talks to Optimus Prime
Nope, not a misprint. The venerable broadcaster, currently working on an online venture with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, will sit down July 13 with Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime of "The Transformers."
Cullen will discuss the early “Transformers” animated series, Michael Bay’s uber-successful film franchise and The Hub TV’s new animated show.
Just one question – will Larry wear the signature suspenders?
Sony Trots Out the Celebs
Sony hosts an event for three of its upcoming films – “Total Recall,” “Looper” and “Elysium” — on the night of July 13. “Total Recall” is the remake of the 1990s classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Len Wiseman directing this re-imagination of the Phillip K. Dick tale. It hits theaters later this summer.
“Looper” is an action thriller about hired hands who go back into time to kill people for the mob while “Elysium” is Neill Bloomkamp’s follow-up to “District 9.”
This will be the first time any audience will get to see a clip of “Elysium,” and that may be reason enough to attend.
In all three cases, the director and stars will take to the Hall H stage. That means Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster all in one place.
Miss it? No way.
Christmas Come Early: “The Hobbit” Times Two
Can’t wait until Peter Jackson’s take on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic bows in December? Comic-Con has you covered with not one but two panels. Opening morning, July 12, the staff of TheOneRing.net – a fan site dedicated to all things Tolkien – will host a panel to offer behind-the-scenes intelligence, rebuff rumors and answer questions. Don't worry if you haven't had the time to spend months snooping around in New Zealand, these guys have done the leg work for you .
Two days later, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures will preview their upcoming films, including “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” The New Line and MGM production follows a cast of characters familiar from “The Lords of the Rings,” including Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Wizard and Gollum.
Everywhere “The Walking Dead”
Can’t get enough of cable’s record-setting show? Chances are Comic-Con weekend will satiate your every desire. Representatives from the AMC show and the comic book will appear on panels throughout the weekend, with two in particular standing out.
On July 12, Robert Kirkman, a writer of the comics and one of the show's producers, will talk with comic book series artist Charlie Adlard about their collaboration and the future of the zombie sensation.
A day later, Kirkman will take the stage with his fellow executive producers and many stars of the show to discuss the last season and the third season, which debuts this fall.
The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick will moderate.
‘Community’: Life-Post Harmon
A lot has changed since “Community” was last on the air. Sony Pictures Television fired showrunner Dan Harmon back in May, a decision Harmon claims he wasn’t even told about. Fellow executive producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan are gone, too.
However, the cast remains the same, and Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown and Alison Brie will all appear to dish on the upcoming fourth season.
One person who won’t be there? Chevy Chase.
“Breaking Bad” and "Fringe" Bid Farewell
“Breaking Bad” has only 16 episodes left, the first of which will premiere the concluding day of Comic-Con. Before viewers get their latest fix of AMC's hit show, showrunner Vince Gilligan will appear with cast members Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to talk about closing out the critically beloved drama July 14 and offer a sneak peek of the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, the stars of Fox’s “Fringe” will appear in their final Comic-Con as cast members. Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci – three men juggling a bevy of projects – the show enters its fifth and final season this fall. Stars Josh Jackson and Lance Reddick will talk with fans, offer exclusive video and discuss the end of the show.
“Resident Evil: Damnation” Debuts
The “Resident Evil” video game has spawned two separate film franchises, one American and live action, the other Japanese and computer-generated. Though a fifth American film bows later this year, the Japanese CGI films will get their due here with the global premiere of the latest trailer and a seven-minute preview. The film is going to be in 3D, but fans will only get two dimensions for the trailer.
After presenting the new content, director Makoto Kamiya and producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi will hang around for a question-and-answer session.
“Django Unchained” Exclusive Footage
What can we say about this movie you haven’t already heard? Several teaser trailers later, The Weinstein Company will unearth even more unseen content July 14.
Director Quentin Tarantino will appear with select members of the cast to talk about the film – though surely there are limits on what he can divulge.
Roger Corman, William Shatner Reunite
Roger Corman and William Shatner have a working relationship dating back 50 years to “The Intruder,” a film Corman directed in which Shatner stars as a Klu Klux Klan member who tries to incite race-motivated violence in the southern town of Caxton. Over the last five decades, the two have taken very different career paths, but they will be reunited on stage July 14 to preview a pair of EPIX original films.
Corman, known for frightful delights like “The Little Shop of Horrors” and adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe, has made his first-ever 3D film, “Attack of the 50 Ft Cheerleader.” After Corman unveils his film about a college co-ed who turns into a gargantuan cheerleader, Shatner will tease viewers with clips of an upcoming documentary, “Get a Life!” based on his book looking at the cultural phenomena of “Stark Trek.”
The panel afterward will be moderated by Kevin Smith.
“Iron Man” Returns
Marvel Studios has a busy few years ahead of it with sequels to “Thor” and “Captain America,” as well as several new projects on deck. Yet perhaps no film – save an “Avengers” sequel – will draw more buzz than the next “Iron Man,” which brings Robert Downey Jr. back as billionaire genius Tony Stark.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will be on hand July 14 to detail his company’s growing film slate and present special guests. Will it be Downey? Gwyneth Paltrow? Guy Pearce? Or something completely unexpected?
Seth MacFarlane’s Victory Lap
Fresh off the success of “Ted,” MacFarlane will appear on three panels. In what can be described as nothing else but a victory lap, MacFarlane will offer sneak previews of the upcoming seasons of “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show” on July 14 and 15. Stars from the shows, including “Ted” star Mila Kunis, will join him on stage, but all the attention should be on one of Hollywood’s most bankable funnymen.
Read All About It!
Warner Bros. will host a free outdoor entertainment festival in San Diego’s Bayfront Park over the weekend. Situated right by the convention center, “Extra at Comic-Con” will include all six Batmobiles from the movies and TV shows and a showcase a couple of upcoming “Lord of the Rings”-themed video games.
The centerpiece of it all is the 60,000-square-foot stage that will play host to live performances, screenings and interviews with the stars of “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Vampire Diaries” and other shows.