Comic-con shows its X fac­tor

Fans en­thralled as stu­dios re­veal their hand with new X-men, Hunger Games, Thor, Cap­tain Amer­ica and Avengers movies

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODENTERTAINMENT - PIYA SINHA- ROY

STU­DIOS brought A- list sur­prises to San Diego’s Comic-Con to pro­mote forth­com­ing su­per­hero block­busters.

Last week’s Comic- Con is the largest an­nual gath­er­ing of fans of the comic book, sci-fi and fan­tasy gen­res, draw­ing around 125 000 peo­ple over four days, and has be­come a ma­jor bat­tle­ground for moviemak­ers.

In re­cent years the con­ven­tion has seen more and more con­tent show­cased as stu­dios fight to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of fans.

This year, 20th Cen­tury Fox de­liv­ered the big­gest sur­prise, pre­sent­ing the heavy­weight stars of X-Men: Days of Fu­ture Past, in­clud­ing Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jack­man, Halle Berry, Pa­trick Ste­wart and Sir Ian McKellen to an ex­u­ber­ant 6 000-plus crowd.

The new film will unite two gen­er­a­tions of ac­tors play­ing Mar­vel’s X-Men heroes, as Bryan Singer, the di­rec­tor be­hind the orig­i­nal X-Men that spawned a fran­chise in 2000, uses time travel to have the older ac­tors in­ter­act with the younger cast.

Days of Fu­ture Past, due out next year, is a se­quel to 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which in­tro­duced younger ver­sions of the X-Men char­ac­ters, with ac­tors in­clud­ing Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fass­ben­der.

In an ex­clu­sive trailer shown at Comic-Con, Jack­man’s Wolver­ine is seen trav­el­ling through time to his younger self, played by McAvoy, to try to change the fu­ture.

Fox is not the only stu­dio seek­ing to cap­i­talise on the pop­u­lar­ity of comic-book films.

Re­cent box of­fice suc­cesses have in­cluded Dis­ney’s Mar­vel fran­chises, Iron Man and The Avengers, Warner Bros’s Dark Knight Bat­man tril­ogy and Sony Pic­tures’ The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man.

Singer called the mix­ing of the two casts “ex­tremely unique”, and the film is likely to tap all key de­mo­graph­ics, with pop­u­lar older and younger cast mem­bers.

Ste­wart gave a sly nod to the cal­i­bre of the en­sem­ble cast, quip­ping: “I would like to play any fe­male char­ac­ter in any X- Men movie, be­cause then I may stand a chance of win­ning the Acad­emy Award,” re­fer­ring to Lawrence and Berry’s Os­car wins.

Mem­bers of the X-Men cast fea­ture in a plethora of other fran­chises with avid fol­low­ings at Comic-Con – McKellen with Lord of the Rings, Ste­wart with Star Trek, Lawrence with The Hunger Games, Anna Paquin with HBO’s True Blood TV se­ries, and Peter Din­klage from HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Lawrence was the main at­trac­tion dur­ing Lions Gate’s The Hunger Games panel, where fans of the young adult film and book se­ries were shown an ex­clu­sive trailer from the up­com­ing Catch­ing Fire in­stal­ment due in cinemas in Novem­ber.

Dis­ney’s Mar­vel film panel, which rounded out Comic- Con’s packed sched­ule, did not skimp on sur­prises ei­ther, with ac­tor Tom Hid­dle­ston ap­pear­ing dressed as Thor vil­lain Loki, teas­ing the char­ac­ter’s re­turn in the up­com­ing se­quel, Thor: The Dark World, which was shown in a trailer to fans. The film is due in cinemas in Novem­ber.

Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Chris Evans and Sa­muel L Jack­son led the cast of Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier, out next April, and the au­di­ence was shown a new teaser for the film.

Zoe Sal­dana and Beni­cio Del Toro were joined by their co- stars of up­com­ing Mar­vel su­per­hero film Guardians of Galaxy, in­clud­ing Chris Pratt, Lee Pace and Karen Gil­lan, who showed off her shaven head for her role as Neb­ula. The film will see a new cast of Mar­vel’s char­ac­ters join­ing forces.

Di­rec­tor Joss Whe­don ran out on to the stage at the end of the Mar­vel pre­sen­ta­tion to an­nounce the an­tic­i­pated new ti­tle of the next Avengers film, Avengers: The Age of Ul­tron. The film is due out in the mid­dle of 2015.

Ear­lier that same day, San­dra Bul­lock showed up to pro­mote Grav­ity, and Jeff Bridges rep­re­sented Sev­enth Son at the Warner Bros pre­sen­ta­tion, while Aaron Eck­hart in­tro­duced Lions Gate’s I, Franken­stein. –

Su­per­man

PIC­TURE: AP

SU­PER-DUPER: Henry Cav­ill on the

75th an­niver­sary panel on day four of Comic-Con In­ter­na­tional in San Diego.

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