There weren’t any blockbuster breakouts at San Diego’s Comic-Con (held July 24-27), but Hollywood still managed to pack some pow! and zing! into the 39th annual geekstravaganza. Below, the weekend’s highs and lows.
· BIGGEST SCENE-STEALER
TV eclipsed a blah movie lineup: The bombshell plot spoilers at the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles panel impressed far more than the high-on-impact, low-on-coherence footage from next May’s Terminator Salvation feature film. Lost showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse spilled tidbits (Rousseau’s backstory will be revealed!) and unspooled a new Dharma Initiative video. NBC’s Chuck and Fox’s Bones screened extended excerpts from upcoming episodes, and even the cast of The CW’s Supernatural were greeted like rock stars. Heroes, however, outshone them all. As if to do penance for the NBC series’ anemic second year, creator Tim Kring screened the entire season 3 premiere, imploring the audience to ”tell everybody…the show is back, better than ever.” Judging from the cheers during the ensuing cast Q&A, he may just get his wish.
· GREATEST CHANCE FOR EARDRUM DAMAGE
The moment the convention staff began placing name cards for the Twilight panel, the cavernous 6,500-person Hall H shuddered with piercing screams from probably the greatest concentration of female attendees Comic-Con has seen in years. They never stopped hollering, either, even after director Catherine Hardwicke unveiled footage from the sexy-vampires-among-us movie’s climactic ballet-studio battle. Said Robert Pattinson, who plays leading hunk Edward, ”This all baffles me.”
· MOST SURPRISING NO-SHOW
The pilot for J.J. Abrams’ new Fox series, Fringe, screened early in the week. But at its panel — which played to a surprisingly noncapacity audience — Abrams didn’t show any new footage. When asked why he also hadn’t brought clips from his cinematic reboot of Star Trek, Abrams explained that F/X work couldn’t be completed in time. EW has confirmed he actually had planned to debut a few minutes from Trek until Fox execs requested he keep the focus on his series. A Fox spokesman, however, says the studio ”would have ultimately been fine” with the Trek footage. Whoops!
· BEST ONE-TWO PUNCH
Arguably the biggest comic-book movies of the convention, Watchmen and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did not disappoint. Wolverine star Hugh Jackman flew in from Australia unannounced just to introduce a rough trailer for the recently wrapped origin story. ”Without you guys,” he explained, ”I wouldn’t have a career.” Watchmen director Zack Snyder, meanwhile, showed a more violent trailer of his March 2009 movie before fielding enthusiastic questions from dudes in costume. The best moment came when someone dressed as Watchmen’s enigmatic Rorschach, complete with inkblotted face mask, asked Snyder about all the content for ”a mature audience” in recent comic-book movies. Replied Snyder wryly, ”It’s cool what you’re saying — ‘a mature audience’ — with that outfit on. I love it.” — with additional reporting by Whitney Pastorek, Lynette Rice, Nicole Sperling, and Alynda Wheat
Check out exclusive pictures from our Comic-Con photo booth.