Comic-Con 2014: Hollywood stirs fan fervor to the very end

July 28, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
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Christopher Maracha, of San Francisco, salutes on his way up a convention hall escalator. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Elias Meraz, left, poses with cosplayer Alicia Bellamy, dressed as the "Scarlet Witch." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The Gonzalez family of Santa Ana takes a rest on the convention hall floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans pass by BBC America's "Orphan Black" ad on a convention hall wall. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Beasley as the Hobbit's Gandalf makes his way through the crowd. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Kevin Uribe, of Red Bank, NJ, stands quietly, dressed as "Silent Bob." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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John Whitt of Minneapolis spreads his wings as "Batman." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Vick of Los Angeles touches up his makeup during a break from his role as "The Spoon Killer." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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"Orphan Black" fan Cynthia Perez walks away with a cardboard cutout of the show's character, Cal Morrison. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans pack an elevator to the convention center sky bridge. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Elisa Teague walks the convention center floor in an unconventional gown. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Bugs Mitchell of Westminster finds a quiet cove to check his email during Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Keeleigh West of Reno, Nev. spreads her homemade wings on the convention hall floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chopper the dog moves through the Gaslamp Quarter with his owner Mark Shaffer. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Clarke of San Diego reaches out to touch a macabre mannequin to see if it might be a real human in front of the Zombie Apocalypse Store in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A cosplay group entertains passersby in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter during Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Andrew Knighton, under the gigantic eyeball, heads into the Comic-Con convention center. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Convention attendees gather around a scale model of Star Trek starship USS Reliant. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Convention-goers stop at nothing, even if it means waiting in long lines, to buy Marvel merchandise. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A woman in a period gown takes the stairs after realizing it would be a tight squeeze into the elevator. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The face of fictitious mascot and cover boy Alfred E. Neuman shines through in a compilation of Mad magazine covers. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A pair of Supermen give onlookers a double take as they check out "Star Wars" merchandise at the convention. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Josh Roemele, 10, marvels at "Transformers" merchandise, just one item among a bevy of goodies. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans, dressed up and dressed down, take an escalator to the convention floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Cosplayers David Schoelen, left, and Paul Baum work up the right attitude. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Thomas Willeford of Harrisburg, Pa., appears in costume at Comic-Con 2014 as Steampunk Iron Man (circa 1889). (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Attendees enter the San Diego Convention Center as Comic-Con 2014 officially opens its doors for preview night Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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The Marvel booth at Comic-Con 2014 gives away free posters to the early arrivals during preview night Wednesday. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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A.J. Peplinski, 6, and his father, Allen Peplinski, of Las Vegas look up at a Bumbleblee figure from the "Transformers" movies at Comic-Con 2014. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Hannah Collier, right, explains the new video game "The Crew" to Robert Atwater at Comic-Con 2014. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Josh Buonocore of Orlando, Fla., takes a selfie with a zombie at "The Walking Dead" Terminus wall. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Children construct Lego projects during a contest at the Lego booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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San Diego friends Elizabeth Walsh, left, and Traci Haze clown around for a photo with a model of "The Hobbit's" Gollum. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Crys Harm of Langhorne, Pa., sports bright green contact lenses. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Zak Skelly rides on dad David's shoulders through a packed San Diego Convention Center. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A Thorin Oakenshield figurine, part of the Hobbit collection at the Weta booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A Han Solo in Carbonite. The life-size figure is part of a giveaway at the Sideshow Collectables booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Men are reflected in a glass case as they look over a Superman figure. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Adult Swim's master of ceremonies Randall Byers, center, supervises the Wheel of Wonder, which fans spin for prizes. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Kris Keyes as Dive Bomber, right, checks his email as passersby take his photo. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Renee White of Melbourne, Australia, snaps a photo of a giant Godzilla at Comic-Con in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Comic-Con 2014 in San Diego officially opens Thursday but fans arrive early to pickup credentials on Wednesday. Travis Jackson with 1540 production helps with the construction of Warner Bros.' 24-foot tall sculpture of Godzilla behind Hall H. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Lauren Moyer assembles flowers and billboards for the Interactive Zone at Petco Park as part of Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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SAN DIEGO- July 23 2014: Emily Graham, of Vancouver Canada waits in line for a preview event at Comic Con July 23, 2014 in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Arriving early at Comic-Con, para-olympic runner Blake Leeper of San Diego is the first double leg amputee in America in the Olympic games. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Anna Kegler, left, Rochelle Keyhan and Erin Filson, representing a group called geeksforCONsent at Comic-Con. The trio will be handing out anti-harassment paraphernalia at the convention. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Docy Elliott of Ottawa, Canada, is already in costume (Goku from "Dragonball Z") as he arrives early to pick up credentials. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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A worker helps assemble a giant billboard for the new NBC show "Constantine" near Petco Park as part of Comic-Con preparation. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Passersby look at a re-branded Hard Rock Cafe -- now the Ascension Cafe -- which is a Comic-Con placeholder touting the Syfy show "Ascension" in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The city of San Diego gets into Comic-Con as trolley cars are wrapped in ads from the CW's new "Gotham" television show. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

If Hollywood seemed a tad quieter than normal this past weekend, there was a good reason: Like moths to a porch light — or Batman to the Bat Signal — film and television creators, executives and stars were drawn en masse to downtown San Diego in an effort to drum up excitement for their upcoming wares at the annual Comic-Con International pop-culture expo.

The unveiling of the first footage from the highly anticipated superhero mash-up “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and an extended early glimpse at “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” may have sent the biggest reverberations through the four-day film, television, video-game and comic-book fest. But there was plenty of other news to stir the excitement of the 130,000 or so convention-goers who descended upon the San Diego Convention Center, many decked out in costume, to watch exclusive trailers and first-look footage and engage with stars and filmmakers during panel sessions.

Kicking off the convention with a surprise, director Christopher Nolan and actor Matthew McConaughey made their first Comic-Con appearances on Thursday to offer an extended look at Paramount’s upcoming sci-fi epic “Interstellar,” which opens Nov. 7.

“We thought it would be fun to come down and see what the fuss was all about,” Nolan told the crowd. “It’s an incredible event. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world.”

PHOTOS FROM COMIC-CON: The scene | Cosplay | Full coverage

They weren’t the only A-listers visiting the convention for the first time: Benedict Cumberbatch of “Sherlock” fame was on hand to promote DreamWorks Animation’s “The Penguins of Madagascar” and the final installment in the “Hobbit” trilogy. Meanwhile, “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe, who turned 25 last week, was treated to a round of “Happy Birthday” from the 6,500 fans gathered in the convention’s cavernous Hall H, where he talked up his upcoming horror drama “Horns.”

Though Warner Bros.’ “Batman v Superman” just started shooting and isn’t due in theaters until May 2016, director Zack Snyder showed a brief teaser from the film and brought stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot — who play Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively — onto the stage in Hall H. None of the actors said a word, but given the uproarious applause they received from the crowd and the amount of press they generated with their mere presence, it seems they didn’t need to. Reinforcing the importance of imagery, Snyder also tweeted the first photo of Gadot in costume as Wonder Woman, which instantly went viral.

Warner Bros. stoked the furnace of buzz for director George Miller’s long-awaited reboot of his “Mad Max” franchise as well. Early footage from the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max: Fury Road” earned widespread raves after it was screened Saturday morning in Hall H. Later that day, Miller, who was also making his first appearance at Comic-Con, reflected on the kinship he felt with the fans gathered there.

“I feel very at home,” Miller said. “When I was growing up, I was the kind of kid who’d always find the other kids in class who could draw well and we’d draw cartoons and swap comics and read them in class under the desks. So I see these kids here and I think, ‘That was me.’”

Stephen Colbert attends the Warner Bros. Pictures panel for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." (Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

Stephen Colbert moderates the Warner Bros. Pictures panel for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” (Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

Demonstrating his own fan cred, Comedy Central host and self-professed J.R.R. Tolkien nerd Stephen Colbert moderated the Hall H panel for December’s final installment in the “Hobbit” trilogy, subtitled “The Battle of the Five Armies” — in costume, no less. Cast members from the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” films, including Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, and Elijah Wood, joined Peter Jackson on stage in what amounted to a final Comic-Con victory lap for Jackson’s phenomenally successful Middle-earth epics.

Out of all of the presentations in Hall H, though, Marvel Studios’ panel may have made the biggest splash — and the most noise. Nearly all of the major cast members from next summer’s superhero sequel “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” — including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth — gathered on the stage together to introduce a sizzle reel of footage from the film, which was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation. Marvel capped its panel with the announcement that it will release the sequel to its upcoming superhero space opera “Guardians of the Galaxy” in July 2017, with James Gunn returning to write and direct the film.

On the TV side, Comic-Con has become an ever more important promotional venue in recent years, and this one was no exception. The biggest news was HBO’s announcement of nine new cast members who will join the fantasy series “Game of Thrones” when it returns for Season 5, including Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow and Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell.

Camren Bicondova, who plays a young Catwoman, and David Mazouz, who plays a young Batman, of "Gotham" attend "Warner Bros. Television Presents A Night of DC Entertainment" at Comic-Con International. (Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images)

Camren Bicondova, who plays a young Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, and David Mazouz, who plays a young Bruce Wayne aka Batman, of “Gotham” attend Comic-Con International. (Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. gave a major push to its superhero-themed shows — including “Gotham,” “Constantine” and “The Flash” — AMC debuted the trailer for the fifth season of “The Walking Dead,” and the cast of HBO’s “True Blood” was on hand to take a final-season bow.

Of course, none of this song-and-dance salesmanship would mean anything were it not for the convention-goers themselves, who stood in line for hours — and sometimes even camped overnight — for the chance to get close to the creators and stars of the films and TV shows they love.

Early Sunday afternoon, as Comic-Con started to wind down, one of those convention-goers, 23-year-old Laura Egger, a student at Mt. San Antonio College, offered a fan’s-eye view of the Comic-Con experience. An avid comic-book reader, she has been coming to Comic-Con since she was 3. This year, she came in costume as Tina Belcher from the Fox animated show “Bob’s Burgers.”

Egger hoped to get into Friday’s “Bob’s Burgers” panel but was shut out. She also stood in line for six hours to get into the “Game of Thrones” museum exhibit near the convention, only to spend just 15 minutes inside the exhibit itself. Still, she wasn’t complaining.

“You spend a lot of time in line, but it’s worth it,” she said. “Hey, I got to sit on the Iron Throne!”

– Josh Rottenberg | @LATHeroComplex

[FOR THE RECORD: In a July 28 Calendar section article on Comic-Con International, actor Chris Hemsworth, one of the stars of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” was incorrectly identified as Liam Hemsworth.]

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Comments


One Response to Comic-Con 2014: Hollywood stirs fan fervor to the very end

  1. ss122348 says:

    Josh,

    ".. including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Liam Hemsworth"

    I think you mean Chris not Liam Hemsworth.

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