NEW YORK – New York Comic-Con 2014 started strong with the first panel on the main stage hosted by Disney for their upcoming films “Big Hero 6” and “Tomorrowland.” It did not disappoint.
We know a whole lot about “Big Hero 6,” but “Tomorrowland,” which is directed by Brad Bird and stars Britt Robertson and George Clooney, is much more of a mystery and consequently had people much more on the edge of their seats during the panel. They were ready for that, and opened with “Big Hero 6.”
When the time did come for “Tomorrowland” though, there were a number of surprises, and a number puzzle pieces were revealed. So, without further ado, here's what we learned:
The secrecy hasn't been to frustrate as much as to not have things get spoiled
That is what Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof told us at the outset of the panel. It is also the exact sort of thing we've heard about other movies like the new “Star Wars” and goodness knows how many others. It seems like a difficult thing to do in our spoiler-ridden culture, but with “Tomorrowland,” everything really does feel truly controlled.
The idea for the movie started with Lindelof thinking about “Pirates of the Caribbean”
Lindelof came up with the title for “Tomorrowland” while at a lunch with Disney executive, Sean Bailey. He arrived at the notion seeing that “Pirates of the Caribbean” was based on a ride and such a huge success. Lindelof hadn't thought such a thing could work, but clearly it did. At that point he got the notion of the title (based on the land at Disney World), but didn't have anything else.
Hugh Laurie signed on after talking to Lindelof and Bird, but doesn't remember what they said
Hugh Laurie was on hand for the panel and told us that he had a meeting with the two men where they told him the story of the film. He, however, has absolutely no recollection of what they said. Instead, he remember them “describing an attitude, a way of life and thinking about the future.”
Raffey Cassidy and Britt Robertson had George Clooney play music for them
Well, maybe it's the other way around – on set, Clooney played music for them. But, not for Hugh Laurie. Laurie got no music. Robertson described the Clooney as, “One of the best in the business to be working with.” Laurie, jokingly, suggested otherwise, but that was just a ploy to get Clooney onto the stage as a surprise guest.
Britt Robertson gets to see Tomorrowland first via a pin she gets from Athena
The teaser trailer opens by showing Britt Robertson collecting her belongings at a jail. Included amongst them is a pin. She tries telling the police it wasn't hers, but when she touches it, it transports her to a huge field of wheat. The dialogue (voiceover by George Clooney) says, “What if there's a place… a secret place, where nothing is impossible… a miraculous place where you could actually change the world.” Apparently it was Athena who got the pin to Casey. But no one would tell us anything about Casey, even though Raffey Cassidy, who is credited as Athena was on hand.
The actors are scared about saying anything about the movie
Britt Robertson was trepidatious about divulging anything. Seriously. She didn't see the teaser backstage and consequently was a little scared to say anything more than really basic stuff about her character. Raffey Cassidy had the same fears.
This is George Clooney's first Comic-Con (New York or Otherwise)
Naturally, George Clooney made some jokes about not being allowed into Comic-Con anymore after starring in “Batman and Robin,” he also told us that he saw Adam West backstage and offered apologies to the star of the 1960s “Batman” television series.
George Clooney's Frank Walker is kind of like the Onceler
In the other bit of footage we got during the panel, we saw Casey approach the Walker's house which was vaguely decrepit and had a little camera through which he watched those outside. It was definitely reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' famed character from “The Lorax.” Plus, there re a bunch of cool toys inside Walker's house (better even than the whisper-ma-phone). Walker has magnetic walks, laser beams, electric shocks, and a tub that can get shot out of the place as an escape pod.
“Tomorrowland” opens May 22, 2015.