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Comic Con 2010

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Comic Con 2010: Abrams and Whedon: The Visionaries Panel

Geek Gods Unite at Comic Con

By Robert T. Trate     July 26, 2010

Abrams and Whedon leading the way at Comic Con.
© Bob Trate


J. J. Abrams and Joss Whedon are two minds that have shaped our collective pop culture. Whether it is creating new worlds or re-inventing old ones their names on a project easily draw our attention. Entertainment Weekly brought them together at Comic Con to discuss exactly where pop culture is headed. Their discussion covered everything from comics, 3D to the first time they “think” they met. Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen moderated the panel and made sure such topics as Super 8 and The Avengers were talked about.
The Avengers:
Joss Whedon made the official announcement that he was indeed directing The Avengers movie. When asked when he actually got into comics he revealed that his father (Tom Whedon) worked on the old Electric Company TV program when they were about to bring Spider-Man to the show. Huge stacks of Spidey books suddenly were everywhere. Though when asked what his favorite Avengers story was he replied the Death of Warlock, “a very underrated comic story arc”. What drew Whedon to the film was how none of these characters should be in the same room together. It is the “very definition of family”. Whedon answered a question from the floor that put many at ease. It had to do with finding the voice of the characters that were already in the Marvel Universe movie world. In writing those characters Whedon has found it easy because he already knows who is playing those parts. His biggest fear is living up to Abrams Star Trek reboot. Which he referred to as the new “gold standard” in summer blockbusters.
A quick side note: The rumor around Comic Con was that Nathan Fillion, from Weldon’s Firefly (along with a few other things) was cast as Ant Man. At this point it is still a rumor since he did not appear at the “Avengers Assemble” moment at the Marvel panel.
Super 8:
There wasn’t any footage screened, including the trailer, for the super secret J.J. Abrams/ Steven Spielberg project. Abrams stated that he hasn’t even started shooting yet (September) let alone cast any of the roles. What did come out was how Abrams and Spielberg got together. When Spielberg needed his original films from his childhood repaired Abrams and a friend spliced them back together (a sum of $300 which they were paid by the studio) during college. Abrams got to study early Spielberg first hand and feels as if now he has worked on those early films as an editor. The inevitable question (the most popular one at Comic Con this year) came up, would Super 8 be in 3D? Which Abrams promptly replied “no”. This, as it was for most of the panels, drew a huge round of applause from the audience.
Whedon is totally into 3D but hasn’t been writing his screenplays for it. When asked if Cabin in the Woods would get converted he didn’t have an answer. With MGM in crisis mode his film is on the back burner. Which seems appropriate since MGM can’t even mount a James Bond film at the moment. The fad of 3D is something that is making many of us cringe. Our two geek gods had little opinion on where it is going.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Part 2:
Whedon is open to the possibility of the sequel. In fact he is sure that it will happen. The main issue is time. A project that Whedon was working on with Warren Ellis, called “Waste Landers” even got put on hold because of The Avengers. Everyone is extremely busy and since they are all owners of the property we can all feel safe about the quality of this one-day, it will probably happen, sequel.
Mania’s Take:
This was our second year sitting in on EW’s Visionaries panel. Last year Peter Jackson and James Cameron gave us their outlook on the future of film and their own personal stories about working in the movie industry. As it was with this year it wasn’t all about the razzle-dazzle of footage and big announcements (outside of Whedon telling us what we already knew). It was a chance for our culture to see two extremely talented individuals and ask them questions about what they see happening in film, television, the Internet and comics. It has become one of our favorites and a must see for next year.
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Look for his coverage of The Walking Dead, The Expendables and the JJ Abrams/ Joss Whedon Comic Con panels.



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scoxocs 7/26/2010 3:15:18 AM

Whedon would like a "death" story.  How many Avengers will die in his movie? 


I still miss Wash and Shep. Book.

spiderhero 7/26/2010 4:13:34 AM

No more 3D please. No more.

gutsmgee 7/26/2010 5:01:41 AM

"His biggest fear is living up to Abrams Star Trek reboot. Which he referred to as the new “gold standard” in summer blockbusters."

That's too bad, I guess Joss Whedon is too stupid to know that Star Trek is beneath him, since it's only a stupid action film, with no intellectual substance, and no actual basis in science....What the hell would a no talent hack like him know about engaging Science Fiction, ...I'm sorry Science Fantasy, with an ensemble cast set on board a spaceship?.................Right Kara?

(For those of you who seem to be sarcasm challenged: The above is what sarcasm looks like when typed.)

jfdavis 7/26/2010 5:54:22 AM

Fillion's Twitter feed claims the Antman casting mention was a joke but I guess we'll have to see...

Hobbs 7/26/2010 6:38:24 AM

Somebody please remind Whedon that his Firefly and Serenity are 100 times better than Abrhams Star Trek reboot....the standard??? Really?  So Joss is basically going to dumb himself down when he makes Avengers. 

This was my biggest fear....that people would see the Star Trek reboot as the way to make films and write scripts thus we all become more stupid as a nation and teach people how write scripts the wrong way.

Wiseguy 7/26/2010 7:00:49 AM

Love both of these guys. Although I wasn't into Whedon's last series I still love most of his work. JJ's too for that matter except for Lost which I dropped early on but I'm the exception to that one

Glad to hear Whedon is into 3D since I'm sure The Avengers will most likely shoot in the format to avoid the conversion process both Thor and Capt.America will be undertaking

Oh and yeah maybe ST isn't as intelligent as some may prefer but JJ revived a pretty much dead franchise at the end of the day. Not to mention that he gave us the first watchable film since part 4 or 6


I didn't realize you had to write stuff specifically for 3D. I'd think you just write as good as script as possible and then decide wether or not to do it in 3D.

JJ's Cloverfield would've been all kinds of awesome in 3D. 3D plus shaky cam, people would've been getting sick all over the place. Theaters would've had to issue puke buckets at the door

Btw, don't we already know where 3D is heading? It's here to stay. Theaters worldwide just invested millions if not billions altogether to upgrade screens and movie studios know there's money to be made. The industry has accepted it and so have many fans even if the negative nancys are louder and bitch the most evn though they can strill watch the same movies in regulkar format they still like to biutch like a bunch of girly men

HudsonTaco 7/26/2010 7:01:10 AM

When I saw the whole cast stand up for a group photo I got goose bumps.

Whedon stated on a video interview, that I saw with my own eyes that the Ant-Man/Fillion casting was a joke and that Ant man is not in the Avengers. Not a rumor, that came staright out of his mouth.

"You know what the big rumor is now? That you admitted at the Joss Experience that Nathan Fillion was Ant-Man. Is that true?"

"No that was a joke. Unfortunately there is no such thing as sarcasm at Comic Con. That's why I explained that he's not actually Ant-Man - although by the way I think he would be great - Ant-Man does not appear in The Avengers. I just like to play with Nathan. And if you ever get a chance to ask him to do his Ant-Man audition, you will not be disappointed."


CaptAmerica04 7/26/2010 10:07:31 AM

Hobbs, have faith that Whedon will do what he always does so right:  navigate an ensemble cast through a great story with outstanding dialogue.  Have faith, brother (though I agree that the Star Trek re-boot was NOT mindblowing as so many others seem to think it was).

Avengers will OWN ALL in 2012.

gutsmgee 7/26/2010 10:24:04 AM

I don't believe the word "Mindblowing" was used or implyed...Try literacy, it will save your life one me on that.

karas1 7/26/2010 10:56:23 AM

Nathan Fillion and Robert Downey Jr in the same film would be something to see.  Too bad it was just a joke.  It would rock!

My biggest fear about The Avengers is that it will be so crowded that no one character will get enough screen time.  Either that or the film will concentrate on one or two characters and all the others will get pushed into the background.  Balancing all the characters successfully will be a hard trick.

I'm hoping that Joss Whedon's quote about living up to Star Trek is in regard to the film's financial success or the quality of the FX, not the quality of the script.  In any event, superhero films are science fantasy, not science fiction.   Characters who grow, shrink, fly, turn into superstrong green giants etc. are pretty much impossible.

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