|Date:||Saturday, July 28, 2007 -- 10:58am--LOCAL TIME (Monday for Saturday)|
I didn't get a chance on SAturday to write about what happened, so I'm a few days late. I hope you don't mind. The day started with a return to the Exhibit Hall. This was really more to kill time than anything else as that I had a big appointment at 11:40.
I made may way to the appointment at 11, just so I wouldn't be late. As it turned out, I couldn't have planned it better. The interview I was going for was running a little late (I was scheduled around others), and so instead of doing them one at a time, the powers-that-be decided that we would all do our interviews together. The interview subject? Legendary stop motion pioneer RAY HARRYHAUSEN. I won't get into details here an now, I'd like to devote a single entry to the interview itself, other than to say right now that he's a charming as ever adn sharp as a tack.
But the true benefit came 10 minutes later. One of the powers-that-be came to the table to announce to the 10 of us that Mr. Harryhausen had a guest. SURPRISE! The guest turned out to be the legendary science fiction/fantasy author RAY BRADBURY.
The two were scheduled to be in a panel discussion a few hours later, but we got an exclusive 9 on 2 interview with the both of them. The two have a keen friendship that spans the years and it shows in every little anecdote they share. Needless to say it was an honor to share a room with two geniuses such as these
How could the rest of the day compare, really? Well, it did try. I tried to get into the HEROES panel, but the line was WAY too long and I knew I wasn't going to get in. So rather than waste my time, I went for the FAMILY GUY panel, where we were given a sneak peek at the one-hour season finale which retells the original STAR WARS film using the characters from FAMILY GUY. All I can say without spoiling it was that it was INCREDIBLY funny and will be worth every minute.
Following the FG panel I went to stand in line for over an hour for the MARVEL STUDIOS presentation. As that the lineup was specifically just THE INCREDIBLE HULK and IRON MAN, I know this was not something to be missed. And was I ever right. The line dwarfed the KEVIN SMITH line from the night before by a long shot.
The first panel, for THE INCREDIBLE HULK was with GAIL ANNE HERD (producer), AVI ARAD (Marvel Studios), LOUIS LETERRIER (director) and stars EDWARD NORTON and LIV TYLER (who just flew inf rom a night of shooting only to fly back as soon as the panel was over). The most immportant part of this panel was seeing the concept image of the HULK himself. This interpretation seems to be more faithful to the comic, with a more boxy look with darker hair and more blocky features. This does have the inherent drawback, however, of not looking as much like Ed Norton as the previous films Hulk resembled Eric Bana. I also discovered that Mr. Norton himself had written the film and was a big fan himself. He enjoyed the early comics and was a big fan of the Bruce Jones series and RETURN OF THE MONSTER series. He used them as an influence as well as the television series. AND he did confirm that the character of Len Samson would be in the film as well as some other comic mainstays.
Clearly, however, the cast and crew are trying to erase the existence of the previous film as they state that this will be a whole new first part and that it will bear no association with the last film.
Next came the panel for IRON MAN. JON FAVREAU (director) joined the panel along with TERRENCE HOWARD (Rhodey), GWYNNETH PALTROW (Pepper Potts), and ROBERT DOWNEY JR. (Tony Stark/Iron Man). We were treated to a special 4 minute preview of the film which showed off a Tony Stark who was an unashamed munitions manufacturer and playboy. He oozed the wiseguy charm that Downey himself is known for. Then we were treated to clips of the origin story which included tthe accident which crippled Stark's heart, the first suit of armor and the final version,a ll of which shown over the music of BLACK SABBATH. The crowd went wild, and frankly, I can't blame them. The effects were great (even without a CG pass, as Favreau explained).
All in all, the MARVEL STUDIOS panel did more than enough to entice the audiences to come back next year and shell out their hard-earned money for some serious entertainment.
Unfortunately, attending this star-studded gala forced me to miss out on the JOSS WHEDON panel, but that gave me enough time to stand in line for the SMALLVILLE panel, the largest indoor line I had seen yet. ((KEVIN SMITH, MARVEL and the ones I had missed were all outside)).
Series creators ALFRED GOUGH and MILES MILLAR were in attendance along with PHIL MORRIS (who will be reprising his role as the Martian Manhiunter this season for the first few episodes), JUSTIN HARTLEY (who will be coming back as GREEN ARROW in midseason), ERICA DURANCE (Lois Lane) and Laura Vandervoort (newly cast as Clark's cousing Kara, aka SUPERGIRL). Tom Welling (Clark) couldn't attend because he was shooting scenes,Michale Rosenbaum (Lex) was recovering from major back surgery and Kristen Kreuk couldn't attend because "Lana got blown up".
The big news from Al and Miles was that Dean Cain (Superman from "Lois & Clark") would be appearing as a villain in episode 4. They also noted that the felt it was time for Supergirl to show up as the next step in Clark's evolution. Also, she would have insights into Clark's life on Krypton and also could potentially reveal some hidden and possibly dark family secrets.Sad news for fans who have been waiting a long time for some news on this front: Bruce Wayne will NEVER appear on the show. As for Wonder Woman, Al tells us that they will keep trying.
For years now, fans have been raising the all-important question of why the creators felt that they could go in the facee of established SUPERMAN lore and shake things apart. Gough's response was simple. "Smallville is a different interpretation." Looking back at history, he's got a point. Every incarnation of SUPERMAN from comics to film to TV always changes a few things to suit their own needs. For the most part the audience accepts these changes. But as Phil Morris put it, "if the integrity of the characvters lives, that's the most important thing."
Of course the biggest question of the night came from one fan who had to ask how Lois and Lex could possibly not recognize that Clark isn't Superman seeing as how they've gown up seeing him without the glasses. The answer from Gough, much like a petulant child, was simply "Thankfully, we won't have to answer that in the series." So stay tuned?
Finally, the crew unveiled a new action figure set from DC DIRECT, hitting shelves in May '08, celebrating the JUSTICE LEAGUE as it appeared on SMALLVILLE.
With the day coming to a close, I headed over to the Marriott to check out a screening they were having of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II: THE DONNER CUT. they were also showing SUPERMAN RETURNS, but honestly I had better wsys to spend my time.
Before I go...Here are a few sights of the day:
Posted by JMR