Comic-Con day one: from 'Breaking Dawn' to 'Beavis and Butt-head'

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The Independent Culture

The annual three-day sci-fi/fantasy extravaganza Comic-Con released the official schedule for its first day, July 21, with more than 150 panels and presentations scheduled from 10 am to 11:30 pm in Hall H, Ballroom 20 and breakout rooms.

Highlights for fans include The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Guillermo del Toro, Jon Favreau, the return of MTV's Beavis and Butt-head, and surprises.

Panels and presentations include actors and filmmakers and in most cases a preview of footage from the film or television show.

At 1:15 pm, an exclusive sneak peek will be shown of the much-anticipated The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the penultimate film in the series, followed by a Q&A session with the cast about the epic 2-part finale.

Sony Pictures previews films with Aardman, the studio of Wallace and Gromit, making their first appearance at Comic-Con to show two of their upcoming animated features:

Arthur Christmas, a 3D, CG-animated family comedy, answering every child's question: "How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?"

The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a 3D, stop motion animated tale starring Hugh Grant as the captain and his rivals played by Jeremy Piven and Salma Hayek.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a Guillermo del Toro production starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, will be presented through footage and a Q&A. Also, on a panel called "The Visionaries," Jon Favreau ( Cowboys & Aliens) will speak with del Toro on the future of pop culture, discussing inspirations and how technology is changing the landscape.

An award winner at Cannes, Drive, a film-noir version of a car-heist revenge story, features a standout cast who will answer questions after the screening: Ryan Gosling ( Blue Valentine), Carey Mulligan ( An Education) and Christina Hendricks ( Mad Men).

20th Century Fox presents Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and a first look at "some of its most-anticipated pictures of 2011-12," including a big secret presentation. Glee the Concert in 3D? Ridley Scott's Prometheus with Michael Fassbender?

Another surprise comes from Robert Rodriguez, who isn't revealing details about his "special guest collaborators." Quentin Tarantino, his partner in Grindhouse, perhaps? Since it is not his upcoming Spy Kids 4, is it Sin City 2 or the sci-fi thriller Madman?

Television panels with a buzz include:

Beavis and Butt-head, the return of MTV's sensation cartoon series by Mike Judge from 1993, about a pair of morons who watch music videos.

Wilfred screening and Q&A with Elijah Wood ( Lord of the Rings) on the US version of an Australian hit series.

Game of Thrones, the HBO hit, an epic medieval series based on the fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin, who will moderate the panel with the cast.

Napoleon Dynamite, animated version of the 2004 indie film hit, with the original actors including Jon Heder and a preview screening.

Panels on a variety of topics, scheduled all day, include focuses on graphic novels, video games, toys and collectables, indie publishers and big ones like DC Comics and Stan Lee. Also, sessions with illustrators, writers, how-to workshops on 3D and academic discussions on phenomena like cosplay. Other notable panels or events include:

• "Harry Potter Fandom" with bloggers from The, Mugglenet and a representative of the International Quidditch Association, and more.

• Hobbit Talk - one of the most influential fan sites discusses the movie in production.

The evening ends with the Star Wars Fan Movie Awards, chosen by writer/director George Lucas.

For the first time, a three-hour Thursday Panel Playback allows attendees who could not get into Hall H and Ballroom 20 to observe panels and presentations but will not include screenings.