Comic-Con weekend recap: DC Comics, Marvel and the prequel ‘Xerxes’

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The Independent Culture

After a big opening day at Comic-Con last Thursday, Friday was Star Wars Day and also featured a panel devoted to the legendary Stan Lee. But Saturday made an even bigger splash at the convention with companies rolling out presentations for upcoming superhero films and fans lined up for up to four hours to get a seat.

At the nonstop events, the highlights included the following films:

The day kicked off with DC Comics' Green Lantern panel showing early footage with an appearance by star Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal) as the human who joins a galactic police force. He pleased the crowd with a recitation of his character's oath.

At Marvel's presentation, a rough scene from Captain America: The First Avenger was shown by director Joe Johnston ( The Wolfman) along with renderings of Chris Evans' work-in-progress costume.

Director Kenneth Branagh unveiled a made-for-Comic-Con trailer for Thor, opening May 2011 with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman answering audience questions. "My first movie was Henry V," Branagh said relating to the tale of the Norse God banished to earth, "and it contained an epic battle and a man with a very dysfunctional family."

Marvel finished its session by bringing the all-star cast of the upcoming The Avengers on stage which included Captain America, Thor, Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. Then director Joss Whedon ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer) announced the new Hulk joining the team would be portrayed by Mark Ruffalo ( Shutter Island) replacing Edward Norton.

The crowd's cheers weren't without some dissent during the Q&A session with questions about the Green Lantern costume and asking "Where's Ed Norton?"

Other hit presentations for the 6,000 fans at Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center were two August releases, cop comedy The Other Guys with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg joking around, plus a panel for the graphic novel adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World starring Michael Cera and directed by Edgar Wright ( Shaun of the Dead). The panel included the cast interacting with attendees making T-shirts. The much-anticipated film was also screened for fans.

Iron Man director Jon Favreau introduced his new project, Cowboys & Aliens, only in production for the last month, with its stars Daniel Craig (aka James Bond) and a debut visit to Comic-Con by Harrison Ford, despite playing Star Wars' Han Solo, plus Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde.

Lower-profile films that also got some traction with fans were Sucker Punch, a hybrid of genres, directed by Zack Snyder (upcoming Legend of the Guardian, Watchmen) who announced he will shoot Xerxes next, the prequel to his 300.

An obvious fan favorite, Paul by director Greg Mottola ( Adventureland), is about two Comic-Con fans meeting an alien. The stars were on hand to discuss the film, including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, and Seth Rogen, the voice of the alien.

The Drive Angry 3D (with Nicolas Cage) and Priest (with Paul Bettany) brought up the discussion of controversy over quality in converting to 3D.