Yesterday’s announcement of Comic-Con’s Thursday panels sent fans expectations soaring and gave a number of journalists stress attacks over all the events to cover, so there was a collective sigh of relief when organizers announced a relatively less hectic Friday schedule. Well, at least on the movie side of things.
On the movie side, Warner Bros. gets the day in the massive Hall H at 10:00 AM. The studio will present panels and previews of such highly-anticipated features such as “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Book of Eli,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Box,” “Jonah Hex” and “Sherlock Holmes.” What does that mean? Well, it’s pretty much confirmed superstars Megan Fox (“Hex”) and Robert Downey, Jr. (“Homes” himself) will be in attendance and you can pretty much count on Josh the gunslinging Hex, Josh Brolin, to be there too. Plus, “Wild Things” director Spike Jonze and the new Freddy, Jackie Earle Haley, are a given. Could Cameron Diaz (“Box”) and Denzel Washington (“Eli”) be trekking down to San Diego for their first Comic-Con appearances? Don’t be surprised if they do.
Walt Disney Studios returns to Hall H on Friday at 12:45 with their annual animation panel. This year is special, however, as it includes the first appearances of legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and Pixar giant John Lasseter. Patton Oswalt will moderate a discussion that should focus on Miyazaki’s upcoming “Ponyo,” “Toy Story 3D,” “The Princess and the Frog” and re-releases of “Beauty and the Beast” and the first two “Toy Story” films in 3D beyond whatever other surprises Pixar has up its sleeve.
At 2:30, Tim Burton will return to Hall H for the second day in a row (he’s discussing “Alice in Wonderland” on Thursday) along with “Wanted” and “Nightwatch” helmer Timur Bekmambetov and stars Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly to chat about Shane Acker’s new CG animated opus “9.” No, not the Daniel-Day Lewis musical, the post-apocalyptic robot saga that has had geeks salivating since the first trailer debuted earlier this year.
The 6,500 room will then segue to Sony Pictures at 3:45 as Paul Bettany, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki and Doug Jones arrive to discuss the new Screen Gems thriller “Legion.” One can only wonder: will Gibson’s good buddy Ron Artest hit Comic-Con as well?
One of the highlights of the day will be a signature moment in Comic-Con history. Oscar winner and “The Lord of the Rings” god Peter Jackson stepping on the Hall H stage for the first time. Jackson has never been able to physically appear at Comic-Con, but the New Zealander is making the trek to promote “District 9,” the new Sci-Fi thriller he produced with first time director Neill Bloomkamp. It will be a magical moment for many.
Comic-Con will then continue to devote more time to “Star Wars” (it’s officially “Star Wars” day btw) at 5:15 for a “spectacular” panel discussing all thing “Clone Wars” and no doubt discussing all the new Lucasfilm products fans can spend their hard earned money on.
Even more intriguing, however, are the TV panels that will dominate Ballroom 20.
Things start at 10:30 as “SGU: Stargate Universe” debuts to the Comic-Con faithful with the series’ stars including Robert Carlyle (“The Full Monty”). Ironically, it will be followed by a panel focusing on fellow SyFy series that its being most compared to, “Battlestar Galactica.” While “BSG” ended it’s run this spring, the series is returning with one last original stand alone movie, “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan,” which will reveal more about the backstory of the Cylons original intentions. “BSG” creators Ronald D. Moore and David Eick will be on hand as well as the Admiral himself, Edward James Olmos. Moore and Eick will also promote their new prequel series “”Caprica” with star Esai Morales.
Everyone’s favorite “aren’t these geeks so cute” comedy “The Big Bang Theory” are next at 1:00 PM with a special screening and a Q&A with the shows creators and stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar.
Things really get going at 2:15 as Kiefer Sutherland returns for the second year in a row to chat with the fans about the upcoming season 8 of “24.” Joining Sutherland will be Mary Lynn Rajskub and new cast members Anil Kapoor and a convention favorite Katie “Starbuck” Sackhoff. Fox promises a special sneak peek of the premiere episode as well.
Fox continues their Ballroom 20 run with “Bones” at 3:00 PM. The TV thriller will have stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel on hand to take questions about the much-discussed series finale where their characters finally did the big deed.
At 4:00 PM, expect screams aplenty as cult favorite “Dollhouse” hits the stage with series creator Joss Whedon and star Eliza Dushku. After the duo’s Q&A a special screening of the never-before-seen episode “Epitaph One” will occur. And yes, it’s conveniently on DVD four days later.
A new show this fall with some intriguing stars, “FlashForward,” will hit room 6A at 11:45. The ABC series was created by David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight”), Brannon Braga (“24”) and Marc Guggenheim (“Eli Stone”) and features Joseph Fiennes (“Shakespeare in Love”) and the new Mr. Sulu, John Cho. The convention also promises a “surprise guest” you won’t want to miss (we’re guessing “Lost’s” Dominic Monihan).
For those wanting a jump start on the fall season, “Past Life,” a new Fox series, will screen it’s pilot at 2:15 in room in room 6A. A Q&A will follow with the series stars.
Also, longtime fan favorite “Farscape” will reunite some of the cast and creators for a 10th Anniversary panel at 10:15 in room 6BCF.
And lastly, visionaries Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman will discuss the DVD release of the stop-motion animated hit “Coraline.” That panel will begin at 10:30 in Room 6A.
Look for more Comic-Con 2009 updates regarding Saturday and Sunday’s schedule this weekend on HitFix.