While the official description still reads merely "TBA," it's a safe bet that 20th Century Fox is coming to Comic-Con International: San Diego 2013 for one primary reason: to talk about the X-Men franchise. With The Wolverine just around the corner, X-Men: Days of Future Past well underway, and X-Force in early stages of development, there's a lot to talk about. So follow along live as we bring you the news.
The utterly packed Hall H is ready to kick-off Planet of the Apes and The Wolverine coverage. Geoff Boucher of Entertainment Weekly is moderating.
"You're not going to believe what is going to happen at this panel," Boucher started off by saying.
"Before Marvel Studios, before the Batman Franchise, before Start Trek films, before Star Wars, the first great sci-fi film franchise was all about the Apes."
Matt Reeves came out to talk a little about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He's directing, but was not involved with the first of the reboots. "I was always obsessed with Planet of the Apes, I wanted to be an ape. When I saw Rise, I felt it, I was an Ape emotionally. To me, that was the thing I wanted to carry forward, was to honor that story. I wanted to do a Cesar-Centric story. There's a viral apocalypse about to begin, it's about getting us to the point of "Planet of the Apes."
Some cast members were brought out, Jason Clark, Keri Russell, and Andy Serkis, who does the motion capture for Cesar the ape.
Serkis said "Now Cesar has to be a leader with responsibility, try to bring some of the humanity he grew up with into his society of about 2000 apes. All apes together are strong. He's a mature leader, a peaceful leader, he has a wife and infant son. He has a council of apes, and the humans arrive. It's about how he reacts to that.
"He is also trying to teach the apes to communicate more with sign language, more than just Ape vocalization."
Russell said, "I'm here because of Matt Reeves. Matt's sensibility in taking this story on, I feel he's created a world where these two communities are just trying to survive, protect their own families."
Jason Clark says that Serkis "leads the way," and then the other apes are Cirque Du Soleil and such "doing these live stunts that are motion captured," with the Ape body put on top of that. "It's incredible to watch every single day as they leap over you and bounce around."
Reeves said he likes that this is a story about "why" not just about "what happened," which he loves. He thinks knowing they get to the point of the 1968 movie is a good thing because of that.
These panelists shot until 5 in the morning then flew here for this panel because they desperately wanted to be here. Today's footage is "a tease," as the movie doesn't come out until July of next year. The footage was shown as they left the stage.
The footage mentions four years fighting a virus, and another four "fighting each other." The human leader goes to find the apes and says he needs to speak to Cesar. A slow shot from his eyes and back out, the ape has his face painted, and lowers his hand to signal his apes to attack. Thunderous applause for the tease.
Boucher said "In 1982, I bought a comic book by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller called Wolverine #1." Then James Mangold, director of The Wolverine took the stage. He said of the film, "this is a tough guy movie. We set out to make a movie about Logan, his journey of where he comes from, where he's headed.
"The Japanese setting gave me license to change the tone. I made the action more intense, more physical. Logan is a superhero who can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, can't fly out of the atmosphere. What is so important to me is that we get inside the anger and the rage that has defined the character in the comic for years, and we haven't yet seen that on film."
Mangold compared Hugh Jackman's Logan to Sean Connery's Bond, and noted that "he's never been in this kind of shape for a movie before. I think it's pretty phenomenal."
Do we have a video message from Hugh? Mangold said, "We have a special thing we should show," and went to a clip.
Nearly all-new footage led the clip off. Logan starts a fight by saying, succintly, "go F*** yourself, pretty boy." There's lots of ninja action, Silver SamuraiAnd we see Logan being poisoned by Viper - perhaps how he loses his healing factor? Seeing a few scenes straight out of the comic book. The clip ends with Logan being stabbed through the chest by a sword, and the stabber saying "what kind of monster are you?" He replies, "The Wolverine." then extends his claws into his foe. Incredible applause after.
Mangold said he enjoyed it so much, he wanted to see it again, and the clip was repeated. After he said "When you see this in a few days, you'll see that my partner and I took care, and my partner is Hugh Jackman," who then took the stage.
Jackman siad, "This is one of my greatest joys, to come here to Hall H and thank you guys for letting us do this."
Talking about Logan's journey, Jackman said, "This is something completely fresh, completely different. It emanates from one of the most famous comic book arcs." Jackman read the book for the first time 13 years ago when he was shooting X-Men, and he said "This is the movie we need to make!" Now, he promises, "you'll finally get to see the berserker rage in full."
Mangold said he wanted to explore the idea of him being near-immortal and having to constantly lose the people you care about, are intimate with. "At some point you'd start to withdraw and get low. So we wanted to begin when he'd lost everybody, Professor X, Jean Grey, and by his own hands, no less."
Logan being a lover and a fighter is a big part, too. "His saving grace and his kryptonite is women," Jackman said. "There are four incredible women in this film, and on behalf of Wolverine, I appreciate that."
Mangold said of the slight changes to the look, his hair is less "80s rock", and there are more bevels on the blade of his claws, mimicking how Miller drew it.
Jackman said that the claws were very real, he accidentally cut his thighs, his forehead, and even his stunt double once while shooting.
Hiro Yuki and Hugh's fight (we saw the end), "is something to behold in the film, and was something to behold in real life. Those two bad asses were going at it with the blades," said Mangold.
Boucher pointed out that with Days of Future Past, Wolverine will tie Superman in number of films he's appeared in, but with Jackman every time compared to five different actors. Jackman said, "I'm not someone to take things for granted, but who knows, this might be the last time I'm out here, and I have to point out Len Wein, who's here today." Wein wrote Hulk #180 & 181, Wolverine's first appearance. "From this man's head, hand, and heart came my career. Thank you, Mr. Wein."
He said he fought for the role, and "I'm not going to give it up easily." The Wolverine is out July 26, 2013. After starting to go off stage, Jackman introduced Bryan Singer, director of X-Men: Days of Future Past!
"It's great to be back here, it's been like a decade!" started Singer. "We're up in Montreal making X-Men Days of Future Past, it's going very well. Because we're a year out and have a month of shooting to go, none of the visual effects are ready, but I cut a little thing together. We shot in 3D so put your glasses on!"
Huge applause for "Marvel" coming across. Xavier's voice, Wolverine, Storm, Bobby, Rogue, Kitty, a "glimpse from the past." Bishop, Thunderbird, Blink looks straight out of the comic. "Side by side to end this war before it ever begins." Wolverine will be sent back into his younger body by both Xavier AND Magneto. Xavier says "I was a very different man. Lead me, guid me, be patient with me. "Patience is my strongest suit," he deadpans. Lots of Mystique shots, kicking some ass. Magneto vs. Mystique at one point! "We need you to hope again," old Xavier says to young. Crazy applause.
Boucher said, "This is a big ass table!" alluding to the cast coming out, and promised he'll be showing it again. Singer introduced writer and co-producer Simon Kinberg, producer Lauren Schuler-Donner, producer Parker, and "a whole bunch of people," said Geoff before taking over.
Omar Sy, Ellen Page (huge applause), Shawn Ashmore, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Holt, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters! Ladies and gentlemen, the X-Men!"
Evan introduced himself as Quicksilver and said, "I'm really fast." Dinklage said, "I am Bolivar Trask."
Jennifer Lawrence said she's "getting closer to the Mystique she's going to be."
Fassbender hid behind the podium to watch the footage and is really excited. James McAvoy said "How you doing Comic-Con?! It's amazing the passion you have, it's awesome to be among you.
Singer said he loves working with an ensemble, there's "a lot of interesting people and things to cut to." Specifically of directing again, "It's wonderful to return to this family and work with these new people."
Jackman said it's two great movies in one, and he's so honored to be a part of it.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen got even bigger applause than their younger counterparts. Stewart said this is the cast he feels closest to outside of Star Trek. McKellen said, "I feel safe in California now that you've gotten rid of Prop 8. I'm looking for a husband, nice to meet you, Michael," and looked down at Fassbender.
The pair are also doing two Broadway shows together.
Halle Berry says that she loves that Storm is so calm and collected, the "Earth mother" of the group. But she hates that Storm "doesn't get some! Is she asexual in the comics?"
Paquin said "I got cast in this role when I was 13, and it feels incredible to be back."
Ashmore said, "As you grow as a person, as an actor, getting to return to this franchise and these amazing people. I think there's some really cool stuff people have been waiting to see from these characters."
Page siad the first movie "blew her mind" with the size and scale of it. "Never did I expect to be back playing Kitty Pryde again and I couldn't be more excited."
Newcomer Omar Sy, talking about his character Bishop, said, "he's a guy from the future, and he fights for survival, like all of us."
Boucher asked the producers what was most important, and Kinberg said, "the most important thing is to stay loyal and honor the original books and original stories." Schuler-Donner thanked the crowd and said she shares their love of the X-Men. "Getting to this one for me personally, I almost want to cry, I'm so happy."
"Now that you're expanding the X-Men Universe, any room for Deadpool?" Singer, "Anything's possible. Not in this particular movie. It occured to us though, the X-Men Universe is every bit as large as the rest of the Marvel Universe or the DC Universe. So if we go movie by movie, we could expand the X-Men film canon, there's room for solo films, for other teams, more."
Boucher asked Jackman, if his Wolverine met Iron Man, "would that be a can opener situation?" and Jackman said, "I wouldn't want to be responsible for taking down Iron Man... but I would love that, I'd love to have a big mashup, but that's waaaay above me."
If you could pick another character to be, who would you choose? Lawrence said, "The good thing about my character is that I can do that - I can be anyone!" with a laugh and lots of applause.
Do you have to do anything different to get into the Wolverine groove in the solo films versus the ensembles? Jackman, "I like that, the Wolverine groove. No, it's no different, and I am so grateful to be working with the man who started my career again, I love it, every single day," to which Singer rested his head on Jackman's shoulder.
Ever going to see any Gambit and Rogue involvement? Paquin said "Brian?" Singer, "We're exploring all options at the moment." Paquin, "I'm down with it!"
Boucher asked about Quicksilver popping up in "different places." Singer said "He was always a part of this story, the casting took awhile. I can't speak to the Avengers, but our character exists here... Evan, describe the character." Peters, "He's quick, he's a spaz. Everyone is slow to him, it feels like he's always at the ATM waiting for someone in front of him to finish." Fassbender said, "He has great genes."
Singer said his costume will be "a very 70s look. I forgot how terrible some of the clothing was in the 70s, it's hideous." McAvoy said, "Woah, I look amazing in this film, I want it said!" Singer joked that Dinklage "looks like my father in this film," and he responded, "he was THAT handsome?"
Jackman joked that, this morning, got dressed in his full Wolverine costume and walked onto the floor, and one person said "not bad," and another said, "way too tall, buddy."
A fan said it's the best night of her life, and who their favorite character is outside of the character they're playing.
Evan: Wolverine, Peter Dinklage: Mystique, Hoult: Beast from the cartoons, but Magneto. Jennifer: Storm, Fassbender: Mystique, McAvoy: Gambit "He has a crazy accent and if people can understand him, they can understand me." Singer: "Professor X, cause he's in charge and I'm in charge." Jackman, "Deadpool." Stewart, "I would like to play any female character in any X-Men movie because then I might stand a chance of winning an Academy Award!" McKellen, "If I can't play the younger Magneto, I'd like to grow wings and play Angel." Berry, "I'd like to give a run at Mystique." Paquin, "Wolverine! Unless Rogue could fly... that would be nice, then I'd stick with that." Ashmore, "Without a doubt, Nightcrawler." Page, "I am really into Bishop, I have to say," with a grin towards Sy who grinned and laughed uncomfortably. Sy, "Professor X," Kinberg, "Mystique," Schuler-Donner, "Jean Grey."
Before they show the footage once more, a standing ovation for the cast and crew who took the stage.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for Marvel Studios!