It was an insane — not to mention insanely fun — weekend at WonderCon here in San Francisco. I already reported back on the exciting Watchmen panel, and now I'm giving the lowdown on the panels I attended for Star Trek and Terminator Salvation. The directors of both movies showed up to explain to a crowd of devotees how they think they've done right by fans with these reboots. To read what J.J. Abrams and McG had to say about reviving beloved franchises with care,
Warning!: The following might be considered spoilery.
- Well, Heroes may not be pleasing all the fans lately, but Zachary Quinto (who plays Spock in the movie) remains a hot commodity to this crowd — the lady screams were loud and long when he appeared onstage. Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zoe Saldana (Lt. Nyota Uhura) also showed up alongside J.J. Abrams for the panel.
- Anton Yelchin has big parts in both Star Trek and Terminator but didn't take the stage for Star Trek.
- Everyone talked with deep reverence for the Trek canon, though their levels of fandom vary (Abrams admitted he never really watched the show but was still excited about this movie).
- It sounded like Quinto got a lot of time with Leonard Nimoy, and Pine said of following in William Shatner's footsteps, "Mr. Shatner's incredibly funny . . . it's that twinkle in his eye that's like, you know, anything can happen. Something I couldn't try to re-create for the life of me."
- We saw a brand new world premiere trailer that is similar to the last one, but includes new goose-bump-inducing scenes like a young Kirk sitting down in the captain's seat on the Enterprise bridge for the first time.
- J.J. Abrams threw the crowd some Cloverfield sequel news crumbs, too, saying, "We have an idea for something that's pretty cool . . . the idea is pretty sweet!"
- Director McG entered the stage and was pumped about his movie. He kicked things off with the premiere of a whole new trailer that fans will see before Watchmen and that is totally different than anything we've seen so far. This one focuses more on story and less on robots, as we learn that humans are being collected and harvested by Skynet.
- One of the funniest moments of the panel was when McG responded to the moderator's request to address the now infamous Christian Bale on-set meltdown with, "What don't you f*cking understand?"
- Talent included Yelchin (who plays Kyle Reese, Connor's dad), Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Connor), Common and Moon Bloodgood. They all seemed genuinely impressed and speechless after seeing this new trailer along with the crowd for the first time.
- Another cute moment came from Common who answered a question about how he got involved with this movie: "I wanted to do a movie with Christian Bale."
- We saw a few more unfinished clips and it's a lot of action, a lot of robots, etc. Pretty heart-pounding, though not at all unexpected.
- I thought it was funny how everyone on the panel constantly gushed about the first two Terminator films — the elephant in the room being the third movie, directed by Jonathan Mostow. Everyone sort of agreed to be polite about it but it was clear they consider it a blemish on the franchise.
- Finally, McG danced around it a bit, but he made it seem like the odds were pretty decent that the T-800 will make an appearance, which is the model Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the series. Will the Governator make an appearance? I'm betting yes.