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Comic-Con 2014: Twelve Panels You Don’t Want To Miss On Saturday

Comic-Con 2014 is almost here! Beginning this Wednesday, one of the largest pop culture events around will completely overwhelm San Diego. There’s so much going on, it’s a monumental task just to figure out which of the countless panels and events you want to try and see. Well, we’re here to make your life just a little bit easier by running down all the panels that should be at the top of your must-see list. Here are our picks for the Saturday events you can’t afford to miss!

FuryRoadWarner Bros. Pictures (10:00am – 12:00pm, Hall H)
Warners has got two major science fiction pictures to show off in their Hall H presentation: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road and the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending (as well as the upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies). Unfortunately, the program guide doesn’t currently list which guests will be on hand to promote things. I would be very surprised if the notoriously media-shy Wachowskis put in an appearance, but I wouldn’t rule out stars Channing Tatum and/or Mila Kunis. On the Mad Max front, I’d guess we might see Miller on hand, and possibly even the new Max himself, actor Tom Hardy. I’d put the chances of somebody asking him to do the Bane voice at 230%. If nothing else, we know the panel will be screening footage from both movies.

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J. Michael Straczynski Aims To Turn Harlan Ellison’s Repent, Harlequin Into A Movie

RepentHarlan Ellison has a notoriously explosive relationship with Hollywood. His TV credits include work on dozens of series spanning from the ‘60s up through our own fledgling century, most of which seem to have gone off without a hitch. But when things go wrong, they tend to go wrong spectacularly, usually owing to the lunkheadedness of your average studio executive, Ellison’s disdain for compromise when it comes to his writing, and the author’s well-known penchant for vengeance. (His story, “The Man Who Was Heavily Into Revenge,” could describe quite a few notorious incidents from Ellison’s colorful history.) So it’s not surprising that the person who might finally succeed at bringing one of Ellison’s most-acclaimed stories — the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” — to the big screen is J. Michael Straczynski, Ellison’s friend and occasionally collaborator since the days of Babylon 5.

Deadline reports that Straczynski and his Studio JMS company have optioned the rights to Ellison’s “Repent, Harlequin” with the aim of turning it into a film. But Ellison is notoriously protective of his work, so even though he’s chummy with JMS, he still had one requirement before he’d grant the option: Straczynski had to deliver a completed screenplay. JMS did exactly that, and apparently it was up to Ellison’s standards. Moreover, if the combination of Straczynski and Ellison isn’t enough to excite you, Deadline piles it on by pointing out that JMS plans to approach both Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro in his search for production partners and a director.

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First Details On Sense8 From The Wachowskis And J. Michael Straczynski

sense8It seems like forever ago that we first heard about Sense8. We’re intrigued by the idea of Netflix’s dump-an-entire-season-into-your-lap-at-once strategy, which facilitates our fondness and propensity for watching shows in marathon form. The strategy has served the freshly minted content creator well, with shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards winning critical acclaim. On its own, we’d be interested enough to see what they can do in the sci-fi realm, but when you consider the creative force behind the new show, we start clapping and gibbering like spastic idiots. With Matrix creators Andy and Lana Wachowki in the driver’s seat, you already have our full attention. Invite Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski to the party as showrunner, and you have the makings of a full on epic genre rager. Up to this point details about Sense8 have been on the sparse side, but the situation has changed a great deal, as we’ve found out a decent number of plot details.

According to TV Line, Sense8, which Netflix initially green lit almost a year ago, centers on a group of eight people, scattered all across the globe. In a move that calls to mind the Wachowski’s 2012 epic Cloud Atlas, these people, otherwise living their own isolated lives, are connected by a collective vision of violence. We don’t yet know what they see in this shared vision, but that’s a promising start. Each episode will follow one character’s story as “one entity tries to bring the octet together and tries to kill them.”

None of the Sense8 cast is in place, but now we have descriptions of the key characters. Among others, we’ll get to know “a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver, and a transgender American blogger.” That’s definitely an eclectic bunch, but that’s not all. There’s also a man named Jonas, described as a: “magic African-American,” as well is a guy named Mr. Whispers, who is his evil counterpart. Mr. Whispers will also be the name of a slew of cats that belong to nerds.

It’s no big deal that no one has been cast in Sense8 yet, since shooting isn’t scheduled to begin until June. We likely won’t be hearing much any time soon. Still, when production does kick off, they plan to fill all over the world, including American cities like San Francisco and Chicago, as well as the UK, Mexico City, Seoul, Mumbai, Berlin, and Nairobi.

Sense8 has a weird collection of characters, a constantly changing international setting, and a ton of creative talent behind the series. We’re not sure if this will be an ongoing show or a one-off, but right now that doesn’t really matter, because this sounds like it has a ton of potential.

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The Twilight Zone Invades TV And Comics: Today In Science & Science Fiction

TZHeaderThere are a lot of folks having a lazy afternoon right about now, enjoying a vacation day and nursing that hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebrations last night. If that hangover is substantial enough that you’re having trouble even deciding how to while away your time, GFR has got your back. Syfy is continuing the second day of their Twilight Zone marathon, airing classic episodes such as “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” where William Shatner has a nasty encounter with a gremlin on the wing of his passenger plane. The marathon runs into the wee hours of the night, so set the DVR for eps you might wanna watch later. (Or just watch them on Netflix or Hulu.)

Meanwhile, The Twilight Zone is also infiltrating the comics page. Today sees the launch of Dynamite Comics’ new TZ comic series, penned by no less than Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. TZ creator Rod Serling is one of JMS’ idols, and Joe also has some experience in the Zone, having worked on the underrated ‘80s relaunch of the series. You can find out more, and purchase the issue, right here. Here’s the official synopsis:

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J. Michael Straczynski’s Twilight Zone Comic Releases An Intriguing Trailer And First Pages

Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski has been all over the place recently, but very soon he’ll step through a door—a very specific door whose knob is the human mind and whose peep hole is an eyeball that can only see inwards—a door that takes him into…The Twilight Zone. (My written Rod Serling impression is second to none, I’m aware.) Just in time for the new year, Dimension Comics will release issue #1 of Dynamite Entertainment’s rebooted Twilight Zone comic series. To pump up they’ve put out a trailer and released some pages. Hopefully you don’t break your glasses before watching, because that’s not fair…that’s not fair at all!

This is a pretty interesting clip, mixing images from the pages with lighting and movement in ways that most motion comics present things. It appears to be introducing potential readers to the debut issue rather than the first handful, and while it’s a pretty solid way to advertise the issue. I could go for something a bit more exciting with some clever wordplay, or at the very least, someone could have raised Serling from the grave and made him narrate it. I mean, they want people to buy the issues, right? Make the effort.

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J. Michael Straczynski Takes On The Terminator Universe: Today In Science & Science Fiction

TermSalWhile most of us learned the name “J. Michael Straczynski” via his excellent Babylon 5 series, he’s also worked extensively in comics over the years, penning memorable series such as Rising Stars and Midnight Nation, not to mention playing in the Big Two’s respective sandboxes on titles including The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, and Superman. Today he takes his talents into one of the most beloved fictional apocalypses around, the universe of the Terminator franchise. The first issue of Dark Horse’s Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle hits comic stands today, with JMS scripting, art by Pete Woods, and colors by Matthew Wilson.

The Final Battle will have everything you’d expect from a good Terminator tale: time hopping, murderous robots, future rebellion leaders who scream at directors of photography who walk onto the set during a scene. The 12-issue series is set in the aftermath of 2009’s Terminator Salvation, with an adult John Connor continuing to lead the human resistance against Skynet’s genocidal machines. Back in July, JMS told Comic Book Resources:

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