The Big Con

Out of the basement and into the spotlight, Comic-Con 2007 is the place to be

New Line has a couple of heavyweights to show. Clive Owen will be on hand to present the highly anticipated shoot-'em-up called, er, Shoot 'Em Up, and you just know someone will ask him why he refused to let NECA make a Sin City action figure of Dwight in his likeness. After that, there's The Golden Compass, the first in a proposed trilogy of Philip Pullman fantasy novel adaptations considered by many to be the "anti-Narnia." All we know is it has armored polar bears, which rock. Disney still has the actual Narnia, with a look at Prince Caspian, and a preview from Pixar's next cartoon, a robot adventure titled WALL.E.

Rob Zombie tends to be a bit of a blowhard in person, but when he shows off scenes from his Halloween remake at the Dimension Films panel, they should be quite a sight. In another scheduling incongruity, he's followed by Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, currently hard at work on a new Stephen King adaptation: The Mist.

Universal genre divisions Rogue and Focus gave us Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant last year to promote Balls of Fury, and since it ended up not coming out yet, they're back again! Also showcased will be Doomsday, the latest from The Descent director Neil Marshall. As for Universal proper, they're giving us a new, more action-oriented Hulk movie with an all-new cast—Edward Norton (Bruce Banner), Liv Tyler (Betty Ross), Tim Roth (Abomination) and William Hurt (General Ross) will tell you all about it, alongside director Louis Leterrier (of the beautifully dumb Transporter 2).

There's something for everyone at the Sony panel, as Milla Jovovich and Josh Hartnett will promote Resident Evil: Extinction and 30 Days of Night, respectively. And even if you don't dig zombies or vampires, you may get a kick out of the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Superbad. The actors in it are way less sexy, but they'll make you laugh intentionally.

Comic-Con isn't just about the big studio extravaganzas, either: Stan Lee will discuss a new documentary about himself called True Believer; special-effects veteran Ray Harryhausen is back at it with the new Ares: God of War—undoubtedly inspired somewhat by the recent video game—and he'll also perform a feature-length live commentary track at a screening of his 1957 20 Million Miles to Earth; Adam Green brings horror heroes Robert "Freddy" Englund, Tony "Candyman" Todd and Kane "Jason" Hodder to promote his new slasher comedy Hatchet; George Romero talks about zombies and his new movie featuring them, Diary of the Dead; WB animation will screen the new direct-to-DVD Superman Doomsday in full, as will Marvel Studios with their new Dr. Strange animated feature; Joel Silver has a direct-to-DVD House on Haunted Hill sequel starring Jeffrey Combs; Ridley Scott will explain how his new "final cut" of Blade Runner differs from the previous versions; Kevin Smith will ramble on about whatever he feels like; and Troma Studios' Lloyd Kaufman finally has a new theatrical feature that's sure to offend, titled Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.

TELEVISION
Lost, Heroes and Jericho are among the TV shows that were first screened at Comic-Con, and all three are back for more. After a maddening second season that seemed designed to torture its fans, Lost recovered this season both narratively and credibility-wise when creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse announced the series would have a definite end date. Badger them with all your pressing questions as they reveal Season 3 DVD extras and preview season 4, but don't expect any concrete answers. As for Heroes, the entire principal cast is going to preview their next season of superheroics. The post-nuke drama Jericho is only getting a second season because fans protested its mid-cliffhanger cancellation; Skeet Ulrich and Ashley Scott now have the chance to thank them all personally. Also back for more is The Boondocks animated series, season 2 of which is more highly anticipated since creator Aaron McGruder quit doing the daily comic. Making its long-overdue Comic-Con debut is 24, but sorry, you don't get Kiefer, just the executive producers. Proving that she loves you more than Jack Bauer, Sarah Silverman will be bringing the entire cast of her Comedy Central series in tow, but it's probably best not to bring the kids to that particular panel.

Vying for the title of Next Big Thing in genre TV, we have a few upstarts. Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood hasn't been easy to see in the U.S., but nerds have their ways and will welcome star John "Captain Jack" Barrowman. Kevin Smith directed the pilot of the new series Reaper, in which a 21-year-old (Bret Harrison) finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil (Twin Peaks' evil daddy Ray Wise), and now he must work for him as a bounty hunter.

300 queen Lena Headey steps into Linda Hamilton's shoes to take on Terminators in The Sarah Connor Chronicles; you can meet Lena and watch the complete pilot episode. Other pilots you can check out early include NBC's Chuck, executive produced by McG, in which an average Joe somehow downloads the entire CIA database into his brain; the newly remade Bionic Woman, from X-Filesproducer Glen Morgan; and Pushing Daisies, about a man who can resurrect the dead.

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