For fans of “Twilight,” it was the end of an era. “Breaking Dawn Pt. 2,” the final installment in the blockbuster movie saga opened Comic-Con International’s Hall H presentations Thursday, with new footage, a few funny quips and the official debut of 11-year-old Mackenzie Foy, who plays Renesmee, the “half-vamp kid” of protagonists Edward Cullen and his human-cum-vampire wife Bella Swan.
Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner still enjoyed the bulk of the spotlight — the only principal missing from the festivities was director Bill Condon, who is currently in London scoring the movie with his longtime collaborator, Carter Burwell; even series author Stephenie Meyer, who returned to Comic-Con for the first time since “Twilight” was released in 2008, joined in on the fun, participating with her long-time collaborators. (She also brought footage from the “The Host,” Andrew Niccol’s upcoming film adaptation of her novel, following the Twilight presentation.)
But never one to disappoint his fans, Condon, in a video message, introduced the squealing Hall H crowd to the opening seven minutes of the movie, though the effects were incomplete. The footage marked the first introduction to Bella as a newly turned vampire, all blood-thirsty and wicked strong. (She even squeezes her beau, Edward, too hard when she first embraces him.)
The footage gave audiences a clear sense that this film, unlike the first part of “Breaking Dawn,” will be much bigger in scope with sweeping shots of Edward and Bella hunting in the Canadian forest. Fans seemed really pleased when the previously delicate Bella takes down a mountain lion in an attempt to sate her hunger.
Even Stewart’s co-star was impressed. “I haven’t seen the movie yet,” said Elizabeth Reaser, who plays Edward’s “mother” Esme. “I didn’t think you could pull it off, you eating a mountain lion. But you were so great.”
Stewart, for one, was thrilled with her transformation. “It felt so good to break her in. To see how fast the car goes,” she said during the panel. “I loved the running. That was so much fun.”
The presentation opened on a serious note, however, with Comic-Con head of marketing and PR David Glanzer, expressing his condolences to the family and friends of Gisela Gagliardi, a 53-year-old woman from New York, a “Twilight” fan who was killed Tuesday when she was struck by a motorist while crossing the street in front of the convention center. Moderator Eric Moro also took a moment to comment on her death.
Mostly, though, the “Twilight” panelists and fans kept things light and celebratory. In her debut trip to Comic-Con, Foy, in a separate interview, mentioned that she’d been taking in the sights, admiring the group of Star Trek characters that lurked on the patio below her hotel room. She also was intrigued by the number of adults in “Avengers” costumes.
“I think it’s really fun and cool to dress up as anyone you like,” said Foy. “I like dressing up. I do it at home. I think you are never too old to dress up.”
But the biggest thrill so far for the Palm Springs area local was the visit with all the fans Wednesday night, where she and the rest of the supporting cast handed out “Twilight” swag and visited with the hordes of loyalists camped out in line on the sidewalk.
Even “50 Shades of Grey” author E.L. James, who began her bestselling trilogy as a piece of “Twilight” fan fiction, got into the action, spending a few hours in line Wednesday with her fellow Twihards.
“I’m a Twihard,” James said Thursday morning before the “Twilight” panel, speaking with enthusiasm. “I was down in camp ‘Twilight’ yesterday and it was really nice. I was there with a bunch of friends. It was great fun. This is the last go.”
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” is due out Nov. 16.
— Nicole Sperling
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