Following last year’s tradition, Comic-Con International: San Diego’s Thursday programming schedule has arrived exactly two weeks in advance, and like always, there’s no “easing into” things with this event — a staggering 16 panels are scheduled for the very first hour of the show, with the doors of the convention center barely open. We had all of DC’s programming earlier, so here are a few selected highlights of what to expect on July 21. The full, massive list is here, and check back in the coming days for the rest.
10:00-11:00 Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe— For fans of USA’s hit series Burn Notice who’ve always wanted to know what happened before Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) teamed up with Michael Weston and Fiona, Comic-Con attendees are invited inside the USA made-for-TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, debuting on DVD exclusively at Comic-Con! The Burn Notice prequel chronicles what turned out to be the last military mission of former U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Axe and the expedition that took him from the jungles of Colombia to sunny Miami Beach. Go one-on-one with Bruce Campbell, star of Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, and Burn Notice creator, writer, and executive producer, Matt Nix. Ballroom 20
Bruce Campbell and Comic-Con — a classic combination.
10:45-11:45 Oh, You Sexy Geek!— Does displaying the sexiness of fangirls benefit or demean them? When geek girls show off, are they liberating themselves or pandering to men? Do some “fake fangirls” blend sex appeal with nerdiness just to appeal to the growing geek/nerd market, or is that question itself unfair? And what’s up with all the Slave Leias? Action flick chick Katrina Hill (ActionFlickChick.com) asks Bonnie Burton (Grrl.com), Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model), Clare Grant (Team Unicorn, “G33k & G4m3r Girls”), Kiala Kazebee (Nerdist.com), Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Nerdy Bird Jill Pantozzi (“Has Boobs, Reads Comics”), Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon) and Chris Gore (G4TV’s Attack of the Show!) to discuss whether fans can be sexy and geeky at the same time — and if they should! Room 6A
Hey, our “Hey, That’s My Cape” columnist Jill Pantozzi is once again a Comic-Con panelist!
11:15-12:15 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1— Summit Entertainment presents a sneak peek at the highly anticipated next chapter of The Twilight Saga. This is a must see for fans interested in the story’s final chapters. You’ll see exclusive footage from The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 and be treated to a filmmaker and cast Q&A session providing details on the first half of the epic two-part finale. Hall H
When will the Twihards start lining up for this? Or have they already?
12:00-1:00 Putting the “Epic” in Epic Fantasy: Writing to Excite!— A selection of classic fantasy authors discuss how to tell stories that are “epic” in both senses of the word. Panelists include George R. R. Martin (A Game of Thrones), Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings), Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind), Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle), Peter Orullian (The Unremembered), K. J. Taylor (The Fallen Moon series), and Kevin J. Anderson (Terra Incognita). Moderated by Michael Spradlin (The Youngest Templar series). Room 6A
This might seem like a pretty typical Comic-Con panel, but given the recent rise in George R.R. Martin’s profile due to the rampant success of the HBO Game of Thrones series, a bigger-than-average crowd seems like a good bet.
12:00-1:00 Dark Horse: Fall Publishing Highlights— Three supersecret surprise megastars from the entertainment and publishing worlds (revealed on Preview Night at the Dark Horse booth) discuss their thrilling new comics at this special panel. Discover their spine-tingling new projects coming in fall 2011 and get an exclusive San Diego Comic-Con print, which you’ll be able to see larger than life at the Dark Horse booth! Room 32AB
Surely the “supersecret surprise megastars” has something to do with the “Cast” teaser that Dark Horse circulated this week, no?
1:00-2:00 Stan Lee, Yoshiki, and Todd McFarlane— The worlds of music and comics collide, as legendary creators Stan Lee (POW! Entertainment) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) join forces with rock superstar, Yoshiki (X Japan) to create a bold new hero, Blood Red Dragon. Lee, Yoshiki, and McFarlane are joined by renowned writer Jon Goff (Halo Evolutions) for a captivating panel and Q&A session. Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
What a trio!
1:45-2:45 Ringer— Sarah Michelle Gellar makes her highly anticipated television return in the gripping new thriller Ringer, as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin — only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. Be the first to see an exclusive sneak peek at the new series about family secrets and stolen identities, followed by a panel discussion with series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Nestor Carbonell (Lost, The Dark Knight), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), executive producer Pam Veasey (CSI:NY), and co-executive producers Nicole Snyder (Supernatural) and Eric Charmelo (Supernatural). Ballroom 20
This is actually only Sarah Michelle Gellar’s second appearance at Comic-Con — the first one was for The Grudge. So: Ringer 1, Buffy 0.
3:15-4:30 20th Century Fox— At past Comic-Cons, 20th Century Fox has previewed Independence Day, X2, Avatar, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. You won’t want to miss the excitement this year, as Fox presents first-looks at some of its most-anticipated pictures of 2011 and 2012. Hall H
That’s… surprisingly vague.
4:00-5:00 Masters of the Web— Some of the most prominent and influential film pundits on the web discuss the film industry, writing for film online, film fandom, and a whole lot more. Panelists include Peter Sciretta (Slashfilm.com), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Jen Yamato (Movieline.Com), Scott Beggs (FilmSchoolRejects.Com), Sasha Perl-Raver (Movieweb.com), Vic Holtreman (Screenrant.Com), Jenna Busch (Moviefone), and Mike Sampson (JoBlo.Com), hosted by John Campea (AMC Theatres). Room 5AB
Another Newsarama contributor, Jenna Busch, makes a panel appearance!
4:15-5:15 TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites— TV Guide is back with an all-star panel for the fans! Moderated by editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum, Fan Favorites features your favorite talent from your favorite shows — in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Panelists include Nestor Carbonell (Ringer), Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz), Leslie Hope (The River), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries), Matt Smith (Doctor Who ), Kevin Williamson (Vampire Diaries), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), and others. Ballroom 20
Quite the eclectic mix, and interesting to see them slip Matt Smith in there third to last.
4:30-5:30 Marvel: Next Big Thing— The Marvel Universe is where the biggest comic stories happen — so wouldn’t you like to be the first to know what Marvel has planned? Get the latest news on Marvel’s plans for their biggest heroes and villains, with some surprises along the way. Panelists Greg Pak (Incredible Hulks), Jonathan Hickman (FF), Jim McCann (Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol), Nick Spencer (Ultimate X), editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, and others answer all your burning questions while giving you a sneak peek at the future of Marvel. Room 6DE
The first big Marvel panel of the con!
5:00-6:00 Beavis & Butthead— In 1993, Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butthead) and MTV knocked their heads together and launched a cartoon series starring a couple of lunkheads and unwittingly started an animated pop culture revolution. Now, Beavis and Butthead are coming back to MTV in 2011 to unleash on music videos, Jersey Shore, viral videos, and more. See the first footage from the new episodes, and join Mike as he discusses the duo’s return to MTV! Room 6A
Insert your own Beavis & Butthead quote expressing excitement here.
6:00-7:00 LGBTX: The X-Men’s Queer Characters, Themes, and Fans— The X-Men and their universe have always been popular with LGBT comics fans. The idea of mutants is seen as an allegory for the reality of difference and persecution, as well as community and power, experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The X-Men have also included compelling queer characters in their roster, including the first gay superhero, Northstar. How have these themes and characters been handled? What are the plans for the future? Moderator Chance Whitmire (Fanboys of the Universe) tries to make sense of it all with panelists Peter David (X-Factor), Phil Jimenez (Astonishing X-Men), Chuck Kim (Age of X), Marjorie Liu (Daken: Dark Wolverine), Scott Lobdell (Uncanny X-Men), and Zack Stentz (X-Men First Class). Room 32AB
Cool to see Scott Lobdell on the panel even though he hasn’t written the X-Men in years — he was the writer of Alpha Flight #106, where Northstar came out.
8:00-11:00 Hall H and Ballroom 20 Thursday Panel Playback— Didn’t get into either Hall H or Ballroom 20 today? We feel your pain! In this three-hour block, Comic-Con rebroadcasts some of the day’s popular panels from those two giant rooms. Best of all, those in attendance will get to vote on what they want to see. It’s democracy at its finest and it’s a second chance to see these panels. (Please note: these playbacks will include only the panel discussions. None of the film clips or footage shown at the live events will be shown.) Room 25ABC
Good news: Replays! Bad news: No footage.