April 16, 2015 | 2:12 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Tears, droids and J.J. Abrams open the Anaheim fan convention

"Star Wars" fans wait in line to enter the Star Wars Celebration expo at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16. (Richard Shotwell / Associated Press)
J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy made bold promises for the “Star Wars” universe on Thursday morning, speaking to thousands of the most dedicated fans of the sci-fi franchise at the Star Wars Celebration expo in Anaheim. Asked how he can possibly please all “Star Wars” fans with his upcoming film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Abrams hunched his shoulders and said, simply, “Well, we will.” Judging by the reaction of the 2,700 attendees inside the showcase auditorium at the Anaheim Convention Center, the director is hitting the right notes. A second teaser for the December film was unveiled near the end of an hour-long panel — which started the four-day convention — featuring Abrams, Kennedy and multiple generations of “Star Wars” cast members. The new clip featured some old favorites such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a voice-over from Luke […]
April 16, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Watch the live stream from the Anaheim fan convention

This weekend’s Star Wars Celebration is the place to be for fans of all things related to the galaxy far, far away and a long, long time ago, but you don’t have to go to the Anaheim Convention Center to get an inside look at the fan expo. The convention, which kicked off Thursday morning with a presentation from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, is being live-streamed for the enjoyment of “Star Wars” fans across the globe. Click on the video above to stay in the loop. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview So far, key moments at Star Wars Celebration include the unveiling of the first full-length trailer for “The Force Awakens”; a Q&A with “Star Wars” cast members, including newcomers John Boyega, […]
April 16, 2015 | 7:00 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Thousands camp out, commune on eve of fan expo

The crowd at Star Wars Celebration waits to meet J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. (Todd Martens / Los Angeles Times)
I know a bit about fandom. Not too long ago, when a date first set foot into my apartment, she took a look around the place and said, “Jeez. Were you on the ‘Mickey Mouse Club’?” No, although that would have been awesome, but I had to settle for buying into Disney’s D23 fan club and decking out my place in Disney paraphernalia. I like Disney. I can list the reasons why — Disney’s reliance on imagination for transcendence, pirate rides, the power of a kiss — but outsiders aren’t going to get it. That’s OK. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview So I wasn’t totally surprised when I sat down for dinner on the eve of Star Wars Celebration and heard a man, apparently equating my look with geekdom, shouting […]
April 08, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: Diversity, authenticity are in focus

(Nickelodeon, BBC America, DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network)
Inside a large conference room at the Anaheim Convention Center, the line of fans waiting to question cast members of the BBC America sci-fi series “Orphan Black” at last weekend’s WonderCon was long. Most of the show’s enthusiasts expressed admiration for star Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple characters on the show (but was missing from the Saturday panel), and asked about plot points and any hints they could share about the show’s upcoming third season. But when one fan asked actor Jordan Gavaris about his portrayal of Felix, the unapologetically sassy and effeminate gay foster brother of main character Sarah Manning, the conversation turned into a more thoughtful discussion on diversity and authentic representation of queer characters. Felix’s uninhibited approach to sexuality sets him apart from more socially acceptable gay characters often seen in mainstream entertainment. “We get stuck sometimes […]
April 06, 2015 | 12:34 p.m.

Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon: Only the mightiest super-fans can survive

Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in 'Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron' (Marvel).
Think you’re the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe fan? L.A.-area viewers can prove their mettle by binge watching all 11 MCU films — including an early screening of the upcoming “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” — as part of the Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on April 20. For $70 a pop, fans will be treated to “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and, if they’re still awake (or alive) some 29 hours later, “Age of Ultron.” In addition to the films, the marathon will include a costume contest, raffles and giveaways, and “special guests” (keep your fingers crossed for Stellan Skarsgård). Viewers who survive all 11 films will receive an exclusive poster […]
April 05, 2015 | 9:59 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: ‘Orphan Black’ cast and co-creator dish on season 3

"Orphan Black" season 3. (BBC America)
Unfortunately for “Orphan Black” fans, Tatiana Maslany does not have any actual clones, but her absence from the BBC series’ WonderCon presentation did not deter members of the “Clone Club” from filling the room to capacity or diminish their enthusiasm Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center. “Orphan Black” co-creator Graeme Manson, along with cast members Jordan Gavaris, Evelyne Brochu, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun and Maria Doyle Kennedy were on hand to discuss the show during a panel that featured plenty of clips from the upcoming third season. Maslany appeared in a recorded video to send love to the show’s fans. “Orphan Black,” of course, follows Sarah Manning (Maslany) and her exploits as she further unravels the secrets behind the experiments that led to her and her sister clones’ creation while she tries to protect members of her now extended family. Last season […]
April 05, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: DC’s Convergence comes into focus

Convergence is a major cross-title event. (DC Comics)
DC Comics’ Jeff King did double duty at Anaheim’s WonderCon. The writer of the comic company’s major crossover series “Convergence” also served as the moderator of the comic convention’s panel designed to hype the comics and hopefully answer a few questions about the upcoming special event. It may not have completely succeeded in the latter, but with some of the interesting pairings and crowd-pleasing images, it certainly did OK with the former. Like its rival Marvel’s Secret Wars event, the people speaking about the comic book super series could not reveal too much about what was about to go down. However, an all-star panel consisting of Len Wein, Scott Lobdell, Dan Jurgens, Marc Andreyko and colorist Peter Steigerwald did show images from the titles that they’d be working on, and all talked a bit about how their characters would fit into the “Convergence” universe. First, King did go […]
April 04, 2015 | 5:55 p.m.

WonderCon 2015: Warner Bros. shows off ‘San Andreas,’ ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

From left, Riley Keough as Capable (Brainy), Courtney Eaton as Fragile (Cheedo), Charlize Theron as Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, PHS-4, and Abbey Lee as Dag (Smiley), in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Jason Boland / Warner Bros.)
The Rock was missing, but explosions were plentiful at Warner Bros. WonderCon presentation, which kicked off Saturday’s lineup in the Anaheim Convention Center’s 9,100-seat arena. The studio showed footage from the upcoming Dwayne Johnson disaster flick “San Andreas” as well as George Miller’s much anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “San Andreas” director Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”) was on hand to discuss the film, along with cast members Carla Gugino (“Watchmen,” “Sin City”) and Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians”). Absent was Johnson — a force of nature in his own right — who stars as a rescue helicopter pilot who sets out to save his ex-wife (Gugino) and daughter (Daddario) after a massive earthquake and resulting tidal wave leave the California coast decimated. It’s a big-budget action movie, but during the panel, Peyton emphasized the film’s […]
April 04, 2015 | 11:58 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: Cosplay looks from the Anaheim expo

Carter Stednitz, 8, as Star-Lord from "Guardians of the Galaxy" at WonderCon Anaheim 2015. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Legions of Links, citizens of the Land of Ooo and the various iterations of Batman descended upon Anaheim on Friday for the first day of WonderCon, the annual pop culture expo celebrating everything sci-fi, horror, fantasy and comics. Last year the convention drew nearly 60,000 attendees to the Anaheim Convention Center. Many of the most devoted attendees are fans who, via their costumes, display their creative talents and knowledge of even the most obscure characters, from TV franchises to web-comics. Some of the cosplayers spotted so far include new favorites such as StarLord to classics such as Batman and Joker. WonderCon, now in its 29th year, was born in Oakland and moved to Anaheim after renovations at San Francisco’s Moscone Center forced the convention to seek a new home in 2012. Produced and operated by San Diego’s Comic-Con International, WonderCon […]
April 04, 2015 | 9:14 a.m.

WonderCon 2015: ‘Wayward Pines’ actors tease mysterious twist

Juliette Lewis, left, Melisa Leo, Matt Dillon, Tim Griffin, Toby Jones, Terrence Howard, Shannyn Sossamon, Charlie Tahan, Reed Diamond and Carla Gugino in "Wayward Pines." (Frank Ockenfels/FOX)
“Wayward Pines,” a new show that combines the government conspiracy crime mystery of “X-Files” and the creepy, exclusive small-town community of “Stepford Wives,” screened at WonderCon on Friday to a large crowd that seemed to grow until people were standing along the walls as the screening continued. The 10-episode Fox show, starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Juliette Lewis, Reed Diamond, Tim Griffin, Carla Gugino and Melissa Leo, is based on the novel “Pines” by Blake Crouch and produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs”). “Always answer the phone” is the creepy refrain that many in the crowd were repeating as the lights came up after the screening. A short panel discussion afterward included producer Donald De Line and actors Diamond and Griffin, with Entertainment Weekly’s “Sandra Gonzalez moderating. De Line talked about reading the book and […]
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