Comic-Con 2014: ‘The Hobbit,’ Marvel surprises, ‘Gotham’ on Saturday

July 12, 2014 | 2:38 p.m.
Peter Jackson on the set of "The Desolation of Smaug," his latest fantasy adapted from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. (Warner Bros.)

Peter Jackson will be appearing at the Warner Bros. panel on July 26 to promote “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”  (Warner Bros.)

The July 26 schedule for Comic-Con 2014 was officially released Saturday, with big offerings from Warner Bros. and the always highly anticipated Marvel Studios panel topping the day’s events.

Warner Bros. will be kicking off the day from 10 a.m. to noon in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, the event’s 6,500-seat premier venue, in a big way. Peter Jackson will be on hand to share details of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” set to open Dec. 17.

Director George Miller will also be appearing to share an early look at “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which reimagines the post-apocalyptic saga and stars Tom Hardy (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) in the title role of Max Rockatansky. Finally, “Matrix” creators Lana and Andy Wachowski will be on hand to share their first original science fiction film since the iconic trilogy with an early look at “Jupiter Ascending,” which stars Channing Tatum as a genetically engineered ex-military hunter trying to track down Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), whose fate just may affect the entire cosmos.

At this point, the Saturday afternoon Marvel Studios panel in Hall H has become one of the marquee events of Comic-Con and always grabs headlines for its surprise star appearances and bold new announcements. It’s something the studio knows full well by now and thus allows it to be coy in the official listing, saying only “Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige and special guests provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon in a poster for "Gotham." (Fox)

Ben McKenzie will be on hand for the world premiere of  “Gotham,” in which he stars as Detc. Jim Gordon. (Fox)

So what might be on tap? Well, with Michael Douglas confirming a Comic-Con appearance to promote his role as Henry Pym in 2015′s “Ant-Man” earlier this month, it seems like a safe bet that Marvel will be putting a spotlight on the project. Plus, with “Guardians of the Galaxy” only days from its Aug. 1 opening, it’s reasonable to expect a major final push, perhaps including new footage and probable appearances from cast members. Finally, with shooting already underway for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” it’s a good bet that Marvel will unveil a sneak peek of the film and also invite cast members to the panel (James Spader, who plays “Ultron,” will already be at Comic-Con, promoting NBC’s “The Blacklist” earlier on Saturday). Of course, this is all just speculation and the panel might simply be a pleasant Q&A with Feige. Still, you might want to line up for Hall H well in advance of 5:30 p.m. just in case.

In the evening, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment provide the centerpiece of the programming with the world premiere of “Gotham,” which stars Ben McKenzie as Det. Jim Gordon in a pre-Batman saga of the grim city. It will be followed by a screening of the complete pilot episode of the CW’s highly anticipated “The Flash,” as well as exclusive video presentations of the CW’sArrow and the new NBC thriller “Constantine,” starring Matt Ryan as the irreverent antihero — all based on DC characters. (“Constantine” will have an earlier pilot screening and Q&A with cast members at 5:15 p.m. in Room 6BCF). Cast and producers from all four series will make special appearances onstage throughout the night, and the event, hosted by “Arrow” star Stephen Amell, runs from 8 to 11 p.m. in Hall H.

Not enough for you? Rest assured, the Saturday schedule has plenty more action, including appearances from “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening (10 a.m., Ballroom 20), the cast of “True Blood” (5 p.m., Ballroom 20) and many more. For a complete look at the day’s schedule, see the Comic-Con website.

What will you be checking out on Comic-Con Saturday? And who do you think will show up at the Marvel Studios panel? Let us know your predictions in the comments below.

— Justin Sullivan| @LATHeroComplex

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