A Legendary Entertainment panel heavy on action footage provided the perfect platform for Comic-Con favourite Guillermo del Toro to sneak footage from Crimson Peak and poll the crowd on the idea of a pair of future projects.
“Hellboy 3?” The Hall H faithful roared. “At The Mountains Of Madness?’ Ditto. Del Toro had mischievously asked attendees to gauge their response for the benefit of Universal Pictures executives and their reaction left nobody in any doubt.
At the start of the panel, Legendary head Thomas Tull thanked Hall H for getting behind box office hit Godzilla and segued into a message of similar gratitude from Gareth Edwards, on site in san Francisco for Untitled Star Wars Project.
“As soon as that’s done I will be back on Godzilla,” said Edwards. Hall H then saw a montage that revealed three iconic characters set to join the sequel and drew a crescendo of roars from the masses: Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah.
Despite Legendary’s recent worldwide deal with Universal, all future instalments of the Godzilla franchise will go through former partner Warner Bros.
Duncan Jones took to the stage briefly to show first footage from Warcraft.
“There’s an awful lot to draw on for Warcraft and in this case it merits an origin story,” he said, referring to the film’s inspiration, the massively multiplayer online game World Of Warcraft. “We want to see how the world of Azeroth falls into conflict between orcs and humans.”
Jones cued up a montage of sequences in which humans and orcs prepare for war accompanied by sombre voice-overs. It opens in March 2016.
Back to del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which will open in October 2015. “It’s a gothic romance… the perfect way to return to the genre,” said del Toro, before introducing footage that dripped with creepy mansion shots, burning candles, dark corners and furtive glances.
“What I wanted was the opportunity to tackle a great adult story for a female lead.”
Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam star alongside Tom Hiddleston and there were mighty cheers every time the latter’s name was mentioned or his face seen in footage.
Del Toro explained that pre-production took close to one year as the crew built a three-storey mansion complete with operating elevators on set.
“We have scary ghosts and scarier humans,” he said.
Michael Mann makes Con debut
Earlier in the panel, Michael Mann made his Con debut to talk up the cyber-thriller Blackhat, formerly known as Cyber, and brought on stage his leading man Chris Hemsworth.
Footage showed Hemsworth’s hacker character called in by authorities to use his skills in the fight against a formidable criminal adversary.
The Australian said he took private coaching for two months from a maths and computing expert who taught him the basics of coding, hacking and… how to type quickly.
Mann said the 66-day shoot covered 74 scenes in four countries. “We wanted to do a large-scale crime story in Asia,” said the director, adding that his famed attention to detail was an important way of connecting with viewers.
“Audiences are smarter than they know and if they see a character resonate in a certain way they can tell the truth-telling of what they’re seeing.” Blackhat opens on January 16, 2015.
John and Drew Dowdle, co-directors of As Above So Below, turned up to discuss their horror film about an archaeology crew that enters the gates of hell in the Paris Catacombs, where each is confronted with a terrible personal fear.
“We have always wanted to do a sort of found footage Indiana Jones story,” said John Dowdle.
His brother Drew said theirs was the first production to be given permission to shoot in the off-limits area of the Catacombs. The horror film arrives in North America on August 29.
The Legendary panel ended with surprise footage of Skull Island, a kind of King Kong origins tale in which a stormy approach to an island revealed a massive ape beating its chest and roaring. That film is set to arrive on November 4, 2016.