Most people know about Comic-Con International’s yearly convention in San Diego (soon to be Anaheim?), but what you may not know is that the organization has more than one event every year. WonderCon is held annually in San Francisco, and the 2010 convention is this weekend, April 2-4. Find out what you can expect from the show this year after the jump.
WonderCon is essentially Comic-Con Lite, where comic book and other sci-fi/fantasy fans get together with those from the industry. While the convention has been around since 1987, it didn’t become part of the Comic-Con “family” of conventions until after 2000. In the past, early screenings for big comic book movies such as Batman Begins and Spider-man 2 have been shown. So, what’s happening this year for the movie lover out there? Here are our picks for what to go to (all descriptions provided by WonderCon, except for Tron Event).
Friday, April 2nd
12:30-1:30 Battlestar, Caprica, and Beyond Forum and Discussion— BSG actor Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek, Apollo) will host a Q&A and fan discussion of Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, and the forthcoming BG movie based on the classic series to be directed by Bryan Singer and produced by Tom DeSanto and Glen Larson. Room 220
1:30-2:30 The Book of Eli: From Script to Screen— Since its release in January, the controversial, violent, and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman has sparked intense debate, earned more than $100 million at the box office, and been nominated for three Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film. Now join its original creator and screenwriter Gary Whitta (Death, Jr.) for an in-depth and candid look back at how his original spec script became a Hollywood blockbuster. In conversation with IGN’s Dana Jongewaard, Gary will discuss Eli’s journey from script to screen, the screenwriting process, and his own personal journey breaking into Hollywood, with tips on how you can do it, too. Includes audience Q&A. Room 220
2:30-3:30 Geek Café: State of the Genre Report— Join our panel of experts as they examine the state of science fiction, fantasy and horror in film and TV from the living ever longer and prospering Star Trek franchise to Star Wars to what the success of Avatar means for the future of movies. Join Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, The Hills Run Red), Daren Dochterman (conceptual illustrator, Iron Man 2, Master & Commander), Steve Kriozere (Dead & Deader, NCIS), and Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, The Batman) for this freewheeling conversation about the state of sci-fi movies and TV today. Room 220
3:45-4:30 A WonderCon First! Exclusive Warner Bros. Television Screening: V— It’s us V them in one of the most talked-about new shows of the 2009–10 season. V is a thrilling reimagining of the groundbreaking miniseries in which Visitors appear in every major city in the world, promoting — they say — a message of peace. It is truly the dawning of a new day. WBTV presents the “”Pound of Flesh” episode, which will air April 6 on ABC. V stars Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Morris Chestnut (Boyz n the Hood), Joel Gretsch (The 4400), Lourdes Benedicto (24), Logan Huffman (America), Laura Vandervoort (Smallville), with Morena Baccarin (Firefly) and Scott Wolf (Party of Five). Scott Rosenbaum (Chuck), Scott Peters (The 4400), Steve Pearlman (Related) and Jace Hall (The Jace Hall Show) are the executive producers for The Scott Peters Company and HDFilms in association with Warner Bros. Television. V airs Tuesdays at 10:00 pm ET/PT on ABC. Esplanade Ballroom
4:30-5:15 A WonderCon First! Exclusive Warner Bros. Television Screening: Fringe— For the first time at WonderCon, Warner Bros. Television presents an exclusive screening of an upcoming episode of the buzzed-about series Fringe. Explore the ever-blurring line between science fiction and reality, where hybrid monsters tear through sewers, thieves walk through walls, portals open to worlds unknown, and an unlikely team has been assembled to investigate these and other dangerous phenomena. WBTV presents an advance look at the “Olivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver” episode of Fringe, which FOX will broadcast on April 8, 2010. Fringe stars Anna Torv (The Pacific), Joshua Jackson (Shutter), Lance Reddick (The Wire), Blair Brown (The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd), Jasika Nicole (She’s Out of My League) and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). The series was created by J. J. Abrams (Lost), Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman—the team behind Star Trek, Mission: Impossible 3, and Alias—and is executive produced by Abrams, Bryan Burk (Alias), Jeff Pinkner (Lost), and J. H. Wyman (Keen Eddie). Kurtzman, Orci, and Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend) are consulting producers. From Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Fringe airs Thursdays at 9:00 pm ET/PT on FOX. Esplanade Ballroom
6:00-7:00 What’s Next in New Indie Sci-Fi Movies— The most innovative sci-fi movies aren’t from Hollywood, but from the exploding indie/DIY sci-fi film movement. Get a sneak peek at red-hot upcoming indie sci-fi with DJ Bad Vegan (In-World War), Andrew Gernhart (Opponent), Lee Citron (Android Love), Lynn Hershmann (Killer App), Annalee Newitz (editor-in-chief of io9), and Mark Stolaroff (Pig). Room 232/234
8:00-? Tron Legacy Event – Encom Press Conference. Not technically part of WonderCon, but pretty close by and definitely worth the effort. Click HERE for more details. Justin Herman Plaza.
8:30-10:00 Star Wars: Last Fan Movie Standing— Choose the last Star Wars fan movie standing at this friendly competition hosted by Lucasfilm’s Mary Franklin. The Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge, now in its ninth year, honors promising moviemakers who do outstanding work, with the top prize each year chosen by Star Wars writer/director George Lucas. How do your movie tastes compare? Come and support your favorites, and you just might take home a Star Wars souvenir at the end of the evening. Room 103
Saturday, April 3rd
11:00-12:00 New ABC TV Series: Happy Town— Be on hand for the exclusive premiere screening of ABC’s Happy Town from the producers of Life on Mars, followed by a Q&A panel discussion with cast members Geoff Stults (She’s Out of My League), Amy Acker (Dollhouse), and M. C. Gainey (Lost) and producers Josh Appelbaum (Mission Impossible IV), André Nemec (Mission Impossible IV), and Scott Rosenberg (October Road). Esplanade Ballroom
12:00-1:45 Walt Disney Pictures and Disney•Pixar: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Toy Story 3— Walt Disney Pictures and Disney•Pixar bring exclusive footage from their exciting 2010 lineup: Join Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Mike Newell (director), Jake Gyllenhaal (actor, “Prince Dastan”), and Jordan Mechner (screen story, game creator), as they take the WonderCon stage to show an exclusive sneak peak from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time before its May 28 release. Join Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Jon Turteltaub (director), Nicolas Cage (actor, “Balthazar Blake”), Jay Baruchel (actor, “Dave Stutler”), Teresa Palmer (actress, “Becky”) live on the Esplanade stage to present an exclusive look at The Sorcerer’s Aprentice. Join director Lee Unkrich live on the WonderCon stage to present an exclusive sneak-peek at Toy Story 3. Esplanade Ballroom
1:45-2:15 Screen Gems: Resident Evil: Afterlife— In case you missed last night’s exclusive WonderCon World Premiere at the Metreon of the 3-D trailer for Screen Gems’ fourth film in this fan favorite franchise, writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson along with stars Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter will be on hand to show it again (in 2D) and answer your questions. In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, Alice (Milla Jovovich), continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. Her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation reaches new heights, but Alice gets some unexpected help from an old friend. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead takes them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive the city is overrun by thousands of Undead—and Alice and her comrades are about to step into a deadly trap. The fourth installment of the hugely successful Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil: Afterlife is again based on the wildly popular video game series, and will this time be presented in 3-D. Esplanade Ballroom
2:30-3:30 The Spirit of Star Trek— Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) joins Curtis Webster (The Spirit Of Star Trek) for an exploration of the spiritual, moral, and ethical themes that run through Star Trek in all of its various forms. Room 236/238
3:00-4:00 Galaxy Quest: A 23rd “Anniversary” Galactic Celebration: Never Give Up, Never Surrender!— It’s been 23 years since the best sci-fi TV series of the 80s, Galaxy Quest, first debuted on television, and now our panel of Questsperts discuss their favorite episodes, whatever happened to the cast, and the future for the franchise. Although the series has been dormant for two decades (despite some bad JN/AD slash fiction and old VHS and laserdiscs), there’s always hope for the future. Never give up, never surrender! Featuring Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise), Daren Dochterman (VFX, ST: TMP Director’s Cut), and Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot). Room 220
4:00-4:30 Trailer Park— It’s a WonderCon tradition! Here’s your chance to see the latest and greatest trailers for upcoming movies, all in one place. Esplanade Ballroom
4:30-5:30 The Kick-Ass Cast Can’t See Through Walls But They Can Kick Your Ass!— Join the cast and creators of the new superhero action flick Kick-Ass to learn what it takes to be a superhero! You don’t need special powers to seriously kick ass! This highly anticipated film’s panel will talk about the making of the film, which opens on April 15. Learn how to pick a superhero name and what your costume should look like with screenwriter Jane Goldman, comic book creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. and the stars! Esplanade Ballroom
6:00-7:00 Star Trek: Between the Cracks— Rifle through Star Trek’s “attic trunk” with author/editor Larry Nemecek (ST: TNG Companion). Having covered, consulted and created in “Trekland” for almost 20 years, Larry opens his image collection for the humor, the what-ifs, the bizarre—and even a little metaphysics—from the truly odds-and-ends of the Paramount stages. And oh yeah: all-new blooper stills—come ready to hoot! Room 220
7:45-8:55 BBC America Presents the U.S. Premiere Screening of the new Doctor Who only at WonderCon! (2nd Screening)— On April 17 a new era of the BAFTA-winning series, Doctor Who, premieres on BBC AMERICA. From new lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, the series follows the adventures of The Doctor, the mysterious traveler who, with his human companions, journeys throughout all of time and space, facing a variety of foes and righting wrongs. This latest series sees Matt Smith’s debut as the new, Eleventh incarnation of the famous Time Lord alongside a new travelling companion, the enigmatic Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). Together they explore sixteenth century Venice, France during the 1890s, and the United Kingdom in the far future, now an entire nation floating in space. Doctor Who is television’s longest running science fiction series. Here’s your chance to see the very first episode weeks before it premieres! Doctor Who premieres Saturday, April 17, 9:00 PM ET/PT on BBC AMERICA. More info at www.bbcamerica.com/doctorwho. Room 103
8:30-11:00 Sixth Annual WonderCon Masquerade— Saturday night’s big event is the return of the WonderCon Masquerade. Click here for more details. Esplanade Ballroom
Sunday, April 4th
1:15-2:30 Human Target New Episode Screening and Q&A— Human Target makes its WonderCon debut with an exclusive advance screening of the new “Victoria” episode—airing April 7 on FOX—followed by a Q&A session with executive producer Jonathan Steinberg (Jericho) and series stars Mark Valley (Fringe) and Jackie Earle Haley (upcoming A Nightmare on Elm Street). Based on the popular DC Comics title about a mysterious agent for hire who assumes different identities, literally becoming a human target on behalf of his clients, the series is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. Television. Human Target airs Wednesdays at 8:00 pm ET/PT on FOX. Esplanade Ballroom
2:30-3:30 Chuck Special Presentation and Q&A— Chuck returns to WonderCon for a Q&A and special screening of exclusive footage! Co-creator/executive producer Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and co-creator/executive producer Chris Fedak will be on hand to talk to fans, along with series stars Zachary Levi (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) and Adam Baldwin (Serenity), and Joshua Gomez (Invasion). Airing Mondays at 8:00 pm ET/PT on NBC, Chuck is produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound, and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television. Esplanade Ballroom
3:30-5:00 Starship Smackdown XIV: Captains’ Courageous Edition— The must-see panel of WonderCon and Comic-Con International returns for another action-packed year as the greatest spaceships in the history of the universe and this or any other dimension compete for the highly-coveted Smackdown title. Will the Enterprise once again defeat an Imperial Star Destroyer? Can the Serenity make mincemeat out of the Battlestar Galactica? And what exactly is the Captain’s Courageous lightning round anyway? Our panel of expert spaceshipologists vying to outwit, outplay, and outphaser includes Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, Hills Run Red), Daren Dochterman (conceptual artist, X2, Iron Man 2), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Transformers), and special surprise guests. End your weekend the San Diego way with a REAL San Francisco treat! Room 103
It’s not surprising that many of these programs are in the large Esplanade Ballroom. Of course, there are other movie and TV related programs, as well as great comic book and animation ones, so check out the full schedule, available as a PDF download. You can also download the program map to help you get around the Moscone Center.
If you’re going to WonderCon, let us know! If you attend one of these (or any other) programs, let us know what you thought of them.