Day 2 of San Diego Comic-Con continued the tidal wave of news, and we’ve got a lot of the highlights here.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE
Philip K. Dick fans got more than just a trailer for the new Amazon adaptation of his seminal alternate history novel at SDCC; they also got a cast and crew panel and a chance to watch the pilot and the second episode of the series as a feature. Amazon viewers loved the pilot when it debuted in January, and voted for it to go to series in pretty impressive numbers.
Set in a world where the Nazis and the Japanese conquered America and settled into a Cold War, the series stars Rufus Sewell, Alexa Davalos, DJ Qualls and Rupert Evans. While there have been some changes from the book, such as Hitler still being alive as the series starts and new characters created for the show, co-creator and lead writer Frank Spotnitz insisted that the fans of the novel would have nothing to worry about when it comes to the show being faithful to its source. He also talked about how getting the series order enabled the production team to go back into the pilot and make some changes to better develop the visuals of the alternate 1960’s Nazi America.
One of the characters written for the show is Rufus Sewell’s American Nazi officer John Smith, and an audience question prompted his response to remember that in the history of the real world, it was ordinary people who were responsible for the horrors of the Nazis: “… it’s human beings that do these things, not ‘Germans'” and “…humanizing [these villains] in that way is, I think, ultimately the most responsible thing.”
The series is in production now, with the season premiere coming in September 2015.
THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES
MTV debuted an official first look for the new 10-episode series based on the Terry Brooks fantasy series, starring John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones), Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth), Manu Bennett (Arrow), Austin Butler (Switched at Birth), and Poppy Drayton. The series is produced by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar, with Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) as Executive Producers, along with Dan Farah (Alter Egos) and Terry Brooks. Filmed in New Zealand, the series is scheduled to premiere in 2016.
To no one’s surprise, fans lined up for nearly 24 hours before the SDCC Star Wars panel. What was a bit of a surprise, and a pleasant one at that, was J.J. Abrams buying donuts for all them. That would be nearly 6000 donuts, by the way.
— 𝕂ℝ𝕀𝕊𝕋𝕀𝔸ℕ 𝕆𝔻𝕃𝔸ℕ𝔻 (@kreshjun) July 10, 2015
While everyone would have loved a new trailer, Abrams did bring this along with him to the panel, and no one complained:
The panel was hosted by Chris Hardwick. Abrams was joined by producers Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan for the first part of the panel, and as it went on, cast members begin to take the stage.
First up were the new members of the Alliance: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac, who said his character carries on the legacy of Han and Luke. “Poe was probably watching the medal ceremony saying, ‘I want to be a hero.’”
Up next were the new villains. Adam Driver described his Kylo Ren as someone they weren’t thinking of in terms of bad or evil…just as a character with a point of view, while Domhall Gleeson said “I am evil. [My character’s] British.” Gwendolyn Christie told the crowd, “I found it very exciting that underneath that armor is a woman. And it makes it more relevant than ever.”
Of course the crowd really went wild with the arrivals of Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who both talked about how great it was to be back on set in the Star Wars universe, but it was Harrison Ford who brought down the house when he came onto the stage, quipping “I’m fine. I walked here.”
After the panel, Abrams led the crowd over to a live Star Wars concert, followed by fireworks.
Check out a live blog of the event over at starwars.com.
THE WALKING DEAD
Full trailers for both Season 6 of The Walking Dead and the new spin-off Fear the Walking Dead also made their debuts on Friday.
The Walking Dead focuses on lots (and lots and lots) of zombie action, more of Rick’s management style coming under fire, and teases serious changes in the power dynamics of Team Zombie. Fans of the comic will see references to story beats from the page on display, but as with previous seasons, the show looks geared to follow a path of its own. Season 5 ended with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) finally catching up to Rick’s group, and it’s clear that his arrival has some real consequences for the future.
The new full trailer for the debut of Fear the Walking Dead gives us a sense of the family dynamics of the show, but also doesn’t stint on the undead action. Focusing on the beginnings of the zombie outbreak, the new show stars Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, and Rubén Blades, and is set in Los Angeles.
Of course there was plenty of news of the comic book side of things, with big announcements from Marvel and DC about the futures of their respective lines, as well as news from Dark Horse about the return of Lady Killer.
In Star Wars related news, Marvel announced at its panel that Chewbacca would get his own comic series this fall. Titled, of course, Chewbacca, the series is set after A New Hope and will see the Wookiee crash-landing on a planet and helping its inhabitants defend themselves from the Empire.
As for the “All New, All Different Marvel”, the Friday SDCC panel kicked off with Secret Wars in the morning and continued into the afternoon with a focus on the Avengers.
Senior editor Tom Brevoort, Secret Wars writer Jonathan Hickman, artist Josh Williamson, and Charles Soule, the writer of Inhumans Rising began the discussion, and were joined by Sana Amanat (Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel). In a wide-ranging discussion of both the series destroying the Marvel Universes as we know them and what’s to follow, the panel teased info about Captains America and Marvel, Old Man Logan, and the various one-shots that they love that tie into the Secret Wars event.
The Avengers panel brought Brevoort and Amanat back, and they were joined by writer Mark Waid (All-New, All-Different Avengers), editor Will Moss, writers Marguerite Bennett (writer, Angela: Queen of Hel), Nick Spencer (Astonishing Ant-Man) and Joshua Williamson (Illuminati). They talked about the new Totally Awesome Hulk series (Brevoort: “It’s an all-new Hulk for the all-new Marvel Universe, and he’s got a little spike at the top of his head, it’s cute.”); the new Doctor Strange series, now with battle-ax and “Strange-vision”; and bringing in Agent Carter writers Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas to write the new Captain Marvel series. Mark Waid talked about passing Daredevil on to Charles Soule, and Amanat told the crowd that when it comes to Ms. Marvel: “This story is about what happens when people know who she is and how Kamala comes to terms with that — while also being an Avenger, friend, daughter. It’s not that easy. She has everything she wants, and she struggles with how to deal with having everything you want.”
Waid talked about working with artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar on All-New, All-Different Avengers, and building a new team without the financial backing of Tony Stark, prompting Amanat to laugh and say, “I was really excited about the ‘Broke-Ass Avengers. I’d buy that.”
The panel continued on, covering Sam Wilson’s Captain America and his relationship with Steve Rogers, the new Invincible Iron Man, Mighty Thor, Uncanny Avengers, and All-New Hawkeye series (“It’s Old Man Barton” – Amanat) before moving to talk about the new Ant-Man, Angela, and Illuminati series, among others. Brevoort made a point of saying that the new Marvel Universe wasn’t actually a reboot as such:
“The Iron Man you’re reading about is the same one you’ve been reading for the past 50 years. That’s a little different from a reboot. DC has thrown everything out every now and then and started on day one.”
Geoff Johns’ panel yielded a ton of new information about the new Justice League: Gods and Men series of one-shots spilling out of the “Darkseid War” event. While individual creative teams for all of the six books weren’t announced, the Jack Kirby-inspired stories will see the fallout from the war affect Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor, the Flash, Green Lantern and Shazam in ways that do not bode well for pretty much anyone involved.
“We’ll see Lex Luthor as he tries to get the power of Darkseid,” Johns said. “We see Superman, and something occurs to him that will cause him to become kind of a god of strength, and it’s not necessarily a good thing.”
What details we have describe an Apokolips ruled by Lex Luthor and a Superman corrupted by the energies of the fire-pits into what sounds like a mix of Kirby’s Orion and Kalabak, with both men ultimately needing the other’s help; a Mobius Chair-powered Batman with the almost infinite knowledge of the New God Metron and his attempt to turn Gotham City into a crime-free city; a destroyed Green Lantern Corps with only Hal Jordan and John Stewart left standing and a Flash taking on the role of the Black Racer… the harbinger of Death. And then there’s Shazam: instead of being powered by the old gods of Earth, he now finds himself wielding the powers of the New Gods trapped in the Source Wall, with such levels of power being, perhaps, more than he can handle.
Bruce Timm made the announcement that The Killing Joke was getting the animated feature treatment, with a release of 2016. The critically-acclaimed 1998 graphic novel from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland in many ways defined the modern version of the Joker and changed the dynamics of the Batman Family for many years by crippling Barbara Gordon and returning Batman to the character’s darker roots. It also generated significant amounts of controversy for its treatment of Barbara Gordon, and Moore himself has described it as “probably one of the areas where they should’ve reined me in, but they didn’t.”
It was also announced that screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) would be penning a seven-issue Superman series titled Superman: Alien American. The series will cover individual periods of Clark Kent’s life, and is the largest project Landis has done for DC to date. Each issue will have a cover by Ryan Sook, with interiors by Nick Dragotta, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jöelle Jones, Jae Lee, Francis Manapul, Jonathan Case and Jock.
Dark Horse Comics announced a second series of their popular Lady Killer will debut in March 2016. The 1960’s-set series follows Josie Schuller as she balances domestic life as a wife and mother with her life as an assassin, and creator Jöelle Jones promises more exploration of the series’ characters as well as the stylized, over-the-top bloody violence of the first series.
In an interview with Comic Cook Resources, Jones talks about being happy that colorist Laura Allred will be returning, and how she’ll be treating the story structure of the new series:
“I enjoyed doing the first series so much as a self-contained story, so this next series definitely relates to the first one, but it’s also something that you’d be able to pick up if you’d never read the previous one. I kinda like doing that just because, since I am a new writer, keeping it self-contained each time is easier. I think it’s a TV series mentality. It seems to be less daunting for me, and more fun.
Read the whole interview at CBR here.
THE DEATH OF “SUPERMAN LIVES”: WHAT HAPPENED?
While the documentary covering the Superman film-that-wasn’t was available through VOD on July 9th, Comic-con attendees could also stop by booth 3915 to pick up a copy. The Tim Burton film that was to star Nicholas Cage as Kal-El was famously cancelled just two weeks out from shooting, and the documentary features interviews with Burton, Cage, Kevin Smith and Jon Peters, as well as a wealth of archival footage.
HALLMARK – STAR TREK
Hallmark returned for its eighth year at SDCC with a preview of its 2016 Star Trek Keepsake Ornaments and itty bittys, all tied into the 50th Anniversary of the Original Series.
“We’re thrilled to return to Comic-Con to interact with our passionate fans,” Beth Dorr, Hallmark Licensing, said in a statement. “We invite convention goers to stop by the Hallmark booth for sneak peeks of our upcoming products and all the usual fun that fans have come to expect from us.”
The slideshow below shows some of the new ornaments and itty bittys coming next year, and an elaborate electronic table-top display featuring Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy as they appeared on the bridge of the Enterprise, entitled “To Boldly Go”, will also be available.