Next week the San Diego Comic-Con, one of the biggest pop culture events on the planet, will kick off once again, flooding the Gaslamp district with people dressed like Stormtroopers lugging comic longboxes behind them on a wheelbarrow. Going to Comic-Con can be intimidating even if you’re a regular attendee, with so much going on and so many people packed into the relatively small area of downtown San Diego. Over the next few days, we’re going to highlight the most interesting sci-fi-related panels and events any GFR fan should put on their to-do list. First up, here’s the rundown for Wednesday’s “Preview Night,” and the first full day of the Con, Thursday, July 18.
Preview Night: July 17
Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings: 6pm, Ballroom 20
There usually isn’t much official happening on Preview Night, which mainly serves as a chance for early attendees to snoop around the dealer’s floor before it’s totally mobbed on Thursday morning. However, Warner Bros. Television will be screening pilots for three promising science fiction pilots set to arrive later in the year. First, you’ll get Almost Human, the human/android “buddy cop” series starring Karl Urban and exec produced by J.J. Abrams, J.H. Wyman (Fringe), Naren Shankar (CSI), and Bryan Burk (Person of Interest). Almost Human will air Mondays on Fox beginning this fall.
Next up is The Tomorrow People, The CW’s remake of the cult British series. It’s a very X-Men kind of setup, following a group of young with amazing powers who work against a force called called the Ultra group, which wants to wipe out all the so-called Tomorrow People. It’s set to air on Wednesdays on The CW this fall.
Finally, you’ll get to check out The CW’s The 100. Another series focusing on young protagonists — this is The CW, after all — The 100 is set 97 years after a nuclear holocaust, with the remnants of mankind living in orbital space stations. With limited resources remaining, the stations’ leaders decide to drop a pack of juvenile offenders on the surface to see if it’s become livable yet. The Tomorrow People will premiere sometime midseason on The CW.
Thursday, July 18
Intelligence: 10-11am, Ballroom 20
Get a first look at CBS’ new thriller about an intelligence operative (Lost’s Josh Holloway) with a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access internet, WiFi, telephone, and satellite data. Yes, sounds like a more serious version of Chuck, and without Yvonne Strahovski, but it still has some potential. The panel will include Holloway, Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), and executive producers Michael Seitzman (North Country), René’; Echevarria (Terra Nova), and Tripp Vinson. TV Gudie editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum will moderate.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Featuring Kevin Eastman: 10-11am, Room 9
TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will join IDW Publishing editor Bobby Curnow and writer Tom Waitz to talk about the heroes in a half-shell. Don’t be surprised if questions about the upcoming Michael Bay-produced big-screen Turtles movie come up.
35th Battlestar Galactica Celebration: 10:30-11:30am, Room 6BCF
Celebrate three and a half decades of Glen Larson’s space opera with host Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo in the original, Tom Zarek in the Syfy remake), director Michael Nankin (BSG, Blood and Chrome), Dr. Kevin Grazier (consultant, BG and Caprica), producer/writer Michael Angeli, writer/producer Kevin Murphy, Michael Taylor (BG, Caprica), and other surprise guests.
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: 11am-12pm, Room 25ABC
Learn about what’s coming up on the Hub cartoon series, and the Predacons Rising DVD due out in October.
Star-Crossed: 11am-12pm, Ballroom 20
This panel will introduce yet another young-adult sci-fi series from The CW. Star-Crossed is about an unlikely romance between a girl named Emery (Aimee Teegarden) who meets a young alien boy during a brutal invasion in her small town. Years later, the alien visitors are existing more or less peacefully, and the girl learns that the alien boy she thought dead is instead still alive. Romance ensues. Guests will include Teegarden and her co-stars Matt Lanter (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Grey Damon (Secret Circle), alongside executive producers Adele Lim (One Tree Hill), Meredith Averill (The Good Wife), Josh Appelbaum and Andee Nemec (Alias), and Scott Rosenberg (Con Air). Star-Crossed premieres this fall on The CW.
The Secrets of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: 11am – 12pm, Room 32AB
Learn the tricks of the trade from the likes of Raymond Feist, David Gerrold (Star Trek), Marc Scott Zicree (Babylon 5), Trevor Crafts (Lantern City), Matthew James Daley (Lantern City), Jimmy Diggs (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Matt King (The World of Steam), and Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5, Lantern City).
The Witty Women of Steampunk: 11am – 12pm, Room 5AB
Guests include Robin Blackburn (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), Anina Bennett (Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel), Kaja Foglio (Girl Genius), Jaymee Goh (Silver Goggles), Claire Hummel (BioShock Infinite), and moderator Dina Kampmeyer (LadySteam).
Video Games to Movies: Is the Golden Age Upon Us?: 11am – 12pm
GFR fans will likely be most interested to hear from VP of EA Entertainment Patrick J. O’Brien, who hopefully might have some tidbits about the Dead Space or Mass Effect movies.
Inside the Looking Glass: Building Halo Worlds and Wonders, Past, Present…and Future: 11:45am – 12:45pm, Room 6BCF
Get the lowdown on the future of the Halo gaming franchise, and all the related multimedia tie-ins. Guests will include 343 Industries franchise development director Frank O’Connor, executive producer Dan Ayoub, Dark Horse Comics director of custom programs Nick McWhorter, 343 Industries senior producer Graeme Jennings, Vanguard creative director Martin de la Ronde, and Halo franchise writer Brian Reed.
Transformers 30th Anniversay: 12 – 1pm, Room 25ABC
The new line of Thrilling 30 action figures will be previewed, and there will be a Q&A with folks from the Transformers team.
Europa Report: 1:10pm – 2:20pm, Hall H
This indie sci-fi flick has been slowly building buzz for a while now, and you can check out our review right here. On hand to talk about Europa Report will be director Sebastian Cordero, composer Bear McCreary, producer Ben Bowling, and actress Karolina Wydra, as well as JPL scientists Steve Vance and Kevin Hand. Astronomer Dr. Phil Plait will be moderating.
TV Guide Celebrates The X-Files’ 20th Anniversary: 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Ballroom 20
This is one of the big ones, a panel that will reunite series creator Chris Carter onstage with X-Files stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. The panel will also include writer/producers David Amann, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, and Jim Wong. Who knows, we might finally get some official announcements about new X-Files projects (other than the comic that just launched.) Plan to get in line early, people.
Ender’s Game and Divergent: 3:50pm – 4:50pm, Hall H
Summit will be showing off two of its upcoming science fiction properties: the much-anticipated, surrounded-by-controversy Ender’s Game and Divergent, based on the New York Times best-selling YA novel by Veronica Roth. You’ll get to see new footage from Ender’s Game, followed by a Q&A with stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin, as well as producer Roberto Orci and director Gavin Hood. On the Divergent front, they’ll debut the first footage from the futuristic thriller, and then have another Q&A with Roth, director Neil Burger, and actors Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Ansel Elgort, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lamb, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, and Christian Madsen.
I Can’t Believe It’s Over: The Best and Worst Series Finales Ever: 4pm – 5pm, Room 23ABC
The panel will address several iconic sci-fi finales, including Battlestar Galactica (Syfy version), Lost, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more. Mark Altman (Free Enterprise will moderate a panel that includes Kathryn Reindl (Millennium), Nikki Griffin (GEEK Magazine), Ashley E. Miller (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Steve Melching (Starship Troopers).
The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Panel: 4:15pm – 5:15pm, Room 6A
Series creator Robert Kirkman will discuss the comic series, the spin-off AMC show, and more during a Q&A panel.
Entertainment Weekly’s Brave New Warriors: 4:45pm – 5:45pm, Ballroom 20
There are always a few panels that feel like sort of random or arbitrary groupings of diverse people, and this is one of those. Among others, this one will feature Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun.
Exclusive Preview of The Zero Theorem, Directed by Terry Gilliam: 5:10pm – 5:40pm
Gilliam’s projects are always fascinating, and nearly as often cursed. We’re hoping The Zero Theorem will be more the former than the latter. In addition to a short preview of the film, producers Zev Foreman and Dean Zanuck will be on hand, as will Gilliam’s daughter Amy, who also worked on the film.
The Science of Science Fiction: 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Room 24ABC
The title’s pretty self-explanatory, innit? On hand will be Amy Berg (Eureka, Person of Interest), Kevin Murphy (Caprica, Defiance), Kevin Grazier, Ph.D. (science adviser, Defiance, Falling Skies, Gravity), Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Jaime Paglia (Eureka). The panel will be moderated by Dr. Phil Plait (Phil Plait’s Bad Universe).
Zombies in Pop Culture: 7pm – 8pm, Room 7AB
Max Brooks (World War Z), Matt Mogk (Zombie Research Society), Steven Schlozman (The Zombie Autopsies), Scott Kenemore (Zen of Zombie), journo/TV host Aaron Sagers, neuroscientist Bradley Voytek, and DailyDead.com’s Jonathan James will discuss those undead, brain-eating bastards we love.
Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse: 8pm – 9:30pm, Room 7AB
If the previous panel didn’t tickle your zombie spot enough, this one surely will. Forensic psychiatrists H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D, lawyer James Daily, and professor Jeff Trexler explore how to get your client off on grounds of uncontrollable undead hunger.
Robotech Industry Panel: 8:15pm – 9:15pm, Room 6DE
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles director Tommy Yune and writer Steve Yun (no relation) discuss what’s going on in Robotech land these days.