Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center was host to one of the biggest Friday events at all of Comic-Con: the Watchmen panel. As expected, lines were insanely long, snaking all throughout the courtyard outside. I'm actually curious with this, and the Twilight panel, how long that first person was in line. I mean, seriously. These lines make Six Flags look like a drive-thru line.
After that arduous line process, we were let to the enormous edifice as we settled in and waited for the Watchmen cast to come out. We were treated to a stellar panel with actors Patrick Wilson, Malin Ackerman, Billy Crudup, Carla Gugino, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Hailey along with director Zach Snyder and the illustrator on the original comic book and graphic novel series, Dave Gibbons.
Like most of the Triple H panels (Huge Hall H) I've been at this year, most of the panelists seemed a tad nervous at the turnout. You would think that they'd be happy there are so many fans out to support their film... but they're likely nervous for the converse reaction if they screw the movie up. Essentially, they're looking at 6,500 of either their biggest fans... or worst enemies.
After the moderator asked Snyder about how the project started and it was even more clear how nervous he was. After rambling for awhile about the genesis of the film, and how the film was knocked around the Hollywood system for qutie sometime, he started on about his time at Comic-Con last year, talking about how he had nothing to show. "I just was going, 'Yeah, it's gonna be really cool. There's gonna be cool stuff in it and... I've got nothing else." He also thanked Dave Gibbons for the poster Gibbons provided for the Comic-Con visit, which was really all Snyder had.
Gibbons also talked about being on the set, saying that, "I expected I was going to be pinched and I was going to wake up. It's the stuff of dreams, really. Something to step out of your head and become real," said Gibbons.
Snyder also talked about trying to get a trailer attached to The Dark Knight and how certain fanboys responded to the news of a trailer online, mimicking, "I know what it's gonna be. It's gonna be the word Watchmen... and that's it... then the date."
Shortly thereafter, Snyder showcased some scintillating footage cut especially for the Comic-Con crowd. The footage can probably be best described as a trailer without title card graphics, dialogue or Don LaFontaine's voice narration. This is just a hodgepodge of footage so describing the footage doesn't really seem necessary. I will say that at the end of the footage, Patrick Wilson's Nite Owl throws Jeffrey Dean Morgan's The Comedian out of a window, in a super-sweet slo-mo sequence as we follow The Comedian as he plunges to the concrete, with that little blood-specked yellow smiley face button following behind. It's pretty damn slick, folks, and the whole place went nuts after the footage was shown.
After the panel it was opened back up to questions, first from the moderator, who asked Billy Crudup how it felt to portray that character, since he is, "neither bald, nor blue, and I'm guesing you're not omniscient..." Billy replied, "I know what this question is already... and I've answered it." He continued, seriously, by saying that, "It's nothing that I had a frame of reference for. You have to try and take a point of view of what he's capable of, and how he lives a mundance life and an exotic life at the same time. The second is how you pretend to be the 6'4", buffed-out master of matter, while you're a 5'9", 40-year-old jackass." Laughter ensued.
This was truly one of the most engergetic panels that I've been on during the Con. The fanbase is simply huge here and I have no doubt that it will be another Zach Snyder hit when this blasts into theaters on March 6, 2009.