If you'd asked me a few days ago what the most eagerly anticipated panel at Comic-Con was, I would have said "Tron," but now, I don't think that's true. I think the events of the last few days and the announcement this morning, via Geoff Boucher at the Hero Complex blog, that both "Thor" and "Captain America" will be given the full 3-D treatment before they are released next year makes the Saturday evening Marvel panel the single most important hour for anyone who's covering the event, and for any fan who has any interest in understanding what the next few years of Marvel movies might look like.
When I visited the set of "Thor," a day I hope we get permission to write about soon so I can finally explain some of the enthusiasm I've got for the film, it was obvious that the conversations were already underway about whether or not to release these movies in 3-D. With "Captain America," the discussion about shooting it in native 3-D was still ongoing, and according to Boucher's article, they actually had Joe Johnston direct a test using the 3-D cameras. He didn't like the process at all because of the way the gear changed the style of shooting he wanted to do on the film. He just didn't feel comfortable using the big bulky 3-D rigs.
So now it looks like we're going to see films that are being shot and immediately handed over to 3-D conversion teams a full year before they're in theaters, with all the visual effects work being produced for 3-D specifically. That last detail may not sound like a big deal, but it could easily make the difference in how the films work visually and how well they integrate the process with the storytelling.
Or it could just turn out to be another couple of movies that leave us unconvinced that 3-D post-conversion works at all. We'll see. So far, nothing I've seen released to theaters has even come close to matching the potential on display in the presentation Lightstorm showed me years ago, with 3-D clips from "The Two Towers," "Star Wars: A New Hope," "Titanic," and more. I have faith that there is a great version of the process possible. I just haven't seen it used on a feature yet, not consistently.
Boucher also has some new details about what to expect from the panel that's in Hall H at 6 PM on Saturday night, and it sounds like it's going to be well-orchestrated and, one would hope, convincing. This is them making the big push, and I have no doubt they'll be addressing the situation with The Hulk. How they'll address it and who they'll announce? I have no guess at this point.
It will be a fascinating dynamic in that room, though, and I can't wait to be there, and to see all the other great stuff that this year's Comic-Con seems to promise.
More on that in the days ahead. For the full text of Boucher's story and the full-sized exclusive reveal of that image of Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Chris Hemsworth (hammer in hand) as Thor, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, make sure you visit the Hero Complex blog.
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