Comic-Con, Day 3: Marvel and more

Last week, Comic-Con descended on San Diego for four days for non-stop fanboy (and fangirl) fun. Last Saturday (July 14) was the busiest day of the convention, with a lot of TV, movie, and video game panels. While yours truly won’t be able to go through all of them due to time and space constraints, here’s a quick (and snarky) roundup of day three’s events:

– After skipping out on last year’s Comic-Con, Marvel returned in a big way this year, with the announcement of release dates for new movies: Guardians of the Galaxy is set to be released on August 1, 2014; Captain America: The Winter Solider comes out on April 4, 2014; Thor: The Dark World is being released on November 8, 2013; and Iron Man 3 has May 3, 2013 as its worldwide release date. Ironman star Robert Downey Jr. made a surprise appearance at the movie’s panel and in the Ironman 3 trailer shown to the crowd, with Tony Stark losing his mansion as it falls off a cliff (and not to foreclosure for a change.)

– On the television side of the ledger, Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb (a former co-producer on the TV series Heroes) said there is room for both Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and a new Marvel series previewed at Comic-Con, Avengers Assemble. Loeb noted Assemble has a 52-episode order and had a darker tone from Mightiest Heroes and a similar one to the blockbuster Avengers movie. Assemble is part of Marvel’s Sunday morning block on Disney XD in 2013; also on tap is Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H., and Marvel Mash-Up. Also announced is Marvel Knights, a DVD collection of more mature material featuring Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men series and more.

– Another popular panel at Comic-Con on July 14 was the one for HBO’s True Blood. Currently in its fifth season, the sex and vampires series (believe it, folks!) Showrunner Alan Ball told the crowd there would be three new romances this season. For more on the cast’s rather odd exchanges at the panel and to see the new trailer, click here.

– Here’s a new way to attract new viewers to a TV show: During Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ panel according to the LA Times’ Hero Complex, a person was just hanging out at the room waiting for the Halo 4 presentation (that’s a video game, in case you didn’t know), and told the director and supervising writer of the show he had never seen the show. He was so impressed with Clone Wars, he decided to go out and view every episode (he’d better get started – he has 88 episodes to watch.)

As for the upcoming fifth season, certain elements were teased, but the guys on stage told the audience on how Darth Maul returned to the series – Thanks to George Lucas. He pitched the idea to the writer’s room (yes, even Lord Lucas has to pitch ideas – the writer’s room rules all), which got the writing staff excited. While many don’t think of it, Lucas is actually involved in the series’ production more than people think. Unlike most “animated” series, Clone Wars hires writers with a live-action drama background. Writers currently on staff include those with credits on Lost, The Wire, and Six Feet Under.

Sound familiar? In the 1970’s, the Saturday morning animated Star Trek series had writers from the original series on board, including Dorothy Fontana, David Gerrold, and Paul Schneider.

Here’s the Clone Wars season five trailer:

– Bryan Fuller and NBC screened a four-minute trailer for the new Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane, which has yet to be picked up by NBC, but its prognosis looks good. Portia deRossi and Jerry O’Connell are stepping in the Herman and Lily Munster role, originated by Fred Gwynne and Yvone DeCarlo in the original series, and John Schuck and Lee Merriweather in the 1980’s syndicated revival (Munsters Today.) Butch Patrick, who was on hand for the panel and starred in the ’60’s original gave his stamp of approval for the project.

Fuller’s other project (Hannibal) has been picked up by NBC as a series.

– Seth MacFarlane spoke at a panel for his animated shows and said he would be open to making a sequel to Ted, the runaway theatrical smash from the Family Guy creator, according to Deadline Hollywood. MacFarlane also said his Flintstones project isn’t dead- yet. MacFarlane said his overcrowded schedule forced Flintstones onto the backburner (lets face it – unless one of his three other animated series bites the dust, Flintstones won’t likely make it onto the air.)

MacFarlane did give fans a sneak peek of the upcoming seasons of Family Guy and American Dad, as the entire voice casts for both shows were present at the panels. Family Guy plans to feature a Mount Everest adventure in the season premiere; Spiderman and a trip to the strip club are also on tap (it seems this isn’t really new.) American Dad meanwhile, plans to feature guest voices from Will Forte, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Danny Glover.

– Other news and notes: …Glee (which has no business being at Comic-Con) held a rather lackluster panel previewing its for its fourth season, but creator Ryan Murphy and star Jane Lynch were not present. While new students will be present at the high school, we’re somehow following Rachel Berry to New York to deal with a new dance teacher played by Kate Hudson… Vampire Diaries‘ panel was moderated by Kevin Williamson and had previews for the upcoming fourth season. At the end of the panel, the cast made vampire sex a running gag in response to a question asked by a fan. What do they think this is, True Blood?… Don’t ask me how Person of Interest managed to snare a panel at Comic-Con, but they did – the showrunners of the CBS prodecual plans to bring back Amy Acker, but if fans wanted to get answers for last season’s cliffhanger, they are shit out of luck… Finally, surprise hit Once Upon A Time unveiled its second season, with Captain Hook being added to the show’s storyline. Meanwhile, Lara Parrilla delivered one of her Evil Queen lines at the panel: “I will destroy you if it’s the last thing I do!” Guessing Randy Michaels and Merlin Media should’ve used her services when they had the chance?