Yep.  I'm going back to Comic-Con.

It's been a while.  For the last seven or eight years, I've done everything I can to avoid the event, just because it's so huge and at a certain point, my crowd claustrophobia kicks in and I start wanting to jump off a building.

But now that HitFix is planning to hit San Diego as a team, I'm onboard and ready to do the whole thing, from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday evening, and I'm excited to get started.  The first thing to do is go through the insane and unweildy schedule and try to figure out what I'm planning for the four days and preview night that now make up San Diego Comic-Con.

I'm surprised to see them doing actual screenings on Wednesday night, but I like the idea.  I actually wish they were having at least one of the big films screen that night, too, just to help relieve some of the logjam that's building up on every single night of the event.  There are things that haven't even been announced yet, and my dance card's already waaaaaay too full.

And, yes, there are some big giant events that are must-sees, like the premiere of the "Avatar" footage, but there's a lot of little stuff I'm just as excited about, and hopefully I'll highlight some of that in this column as well.

In addition, there are things that I know are happening that aren't listed on the website yet, so I'll be posting more follow-up stories as we get closer so if there's something fun happening, hopefully you can be there to see it with me.

I'm going to categorize things as either "WILL SEE" or "MIGHT SEE," just based on time constraints.  Let's see at the end of things how close I come to actually keeping this proposed schedule, and we'll all have a good laugh, I'm sure.

[more after the jump]

Wednesday, July 22

MIGHT SEE, although I won't stay for "The Vampire Diaries" even if I attend the other two:

6:00-9:00
Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings

Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television proudly present exclusive pilot premiere screenings of some of the most buzzed-about new TV series of the 2009-2010 season-Human Target, V, and The Vampire Diaries-as well as an exclusive preview trailer for additional upcoming shows.

Based upon the popular DC Comics title and starring Mark Valley (Fringe), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies), and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), the highly anticipated Human Target is an action-packed thrill ride about a mysterious private contractor who will stop at nothing, even if it literally means becoming a human target, to keep his clients alive. Executive produced by McG (Terminator Salvation), Jonathan Steinberg (Jericho), Brad Kern (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), Kevin Hooks (Prison Break), and Peter Johnson (Supernatural), the series is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Television. Human Target will air Wednesdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX, beginning in January.

Already one of the most talked-about new shows of the upcoming season, V is a thrilling reimagining of the groundbreaking miniseries, starring Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Morris Chestnut (Boyz n the Hood), Joel Gretsch (The 4400), Lourdes Benedicto (24), Logan Huffman (America), and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville), with Morena Baccarin (Firefly) and Scott Wolf (Party of Five). Scott Peters (The 4400), Jace Hall (The Jace Hall Show), Steve Pearlman (Related) and Jeffrey Bell (Angel) are the executive producers for HDFilms in association with Warner Bros. Television. V will premiere midseason on ABC.

Writer/producer Kevin Williamson (the Scream movies) is back with The Vampire Diaries, an edgy and romantic new drama in which two vampire brothers-one good, one evil-are at war for the soul of one girl. Based on the best-selling book series of the same name by L.J. Smith, the show stars Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Paul Wesley (Everwood), Ian Somerhalder (Lost), Steven R. McQueen (Everwood), Katerina Graham (17 Again), Sara Canning (Smallville), Candice Accola (Supernatural), Zach Roerig (Friday Night Lights), Kayla Ewell (Entourage), and Michael Trevino (The Riches). Williamson, Leslie Morgenstein (Gossip Girl), and Bob Levy (Gossip Girl) are the executive producers for Bonanza Productions Inc., Outerbanks Entertainment, and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and C BS Television Studios. The Vampire Diaries will air Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT this fall on The CW, premiering September 10.

Ballroom 20

Thursday, July 23

The first thing of the day is a WILL SEE, although that's not technically accurate.  More like WILL ATTEND, since I'm on this particular panel:

10:00-11:00
Masters of the Web

For the third year in a row the most popular genre and movie websites are coming together to discuss how new media have affected moviemaking, what it takes to run a popular site, and much more in a panel discussion and Q&A session. Participants include Robert Sanchez (IESB.net), Ryan Rotten (Shocktilyoudrop.com), Mike Sampson (Joblo.com), Jeremy Smith (Aintitcoolnews.com), Brad Miska (Bloody-Disgusting.com), Drew McWeeny (Hitfix.com), Devin Faraci (CHUD.com), Paul Christensen (Movieweb.com), Wilson Morales (Blackfilm.com/AOL Black Voices), Vic Holtreman (Screenrant.com), and George Roush (Latinoreview.com). Director Kevin Munroe (TMNT, Dead of Night) moderates, with Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington on hand to preview an exclusive sneak peek of their new film Dead of Night, based on the Dylan Dog comic books.

Room 32AB

This means I'll miss Summit's "Astro-Boy" panel in Room 6BCF, which is from 10:15 to 11:15.  Oh, well.  I'll also miss the "TheOneRing.net - The Hobbit" panel, but it looks like no one from the film's going to be on the panel, so I'm guessing this is more about early buzz and rumors.

I'm going to have to run from that first panel to make the second panel of the day, but I'm happy to do it since that second panel is an absolute WILL SEE:

11:00-12:30
Disney 3D Panel

Walt Disney Pictures presents key filmmakers, select cast members and previously unseen footage from its upcoming slate, including Disney's A Christmas Carol, Ali ce In Wonderland and Tron. Special guests include Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, Sean Bailey, Steve Lisberger, and moderator Patton Oswalt.

Hall H

There's no Universal presence at the Con this year, which means no "Scott Pilgrim," oddly enough.  If you're not into Disney 3D, then by all means, allow me to recommend that you stop by for this one:

12:00-1:00
Spotlight on Bryan Lee O'Malley

Comic-Con special guest Bryan Lee O'Malley (winner of the Doug Wright, Joe Shuster, and Harvey Awards) talks with legendary comics scholar Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, Zot!) about Bryan's groundbreaking slice-of-life graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim. From its genesis to the production of the upcoming film version, O'Malley speaks frankly about where Scott Pilgrim came from and where the series is going from here. With a fan Q&A to close the discussion, this is the must attend event of Comic-Con 2009!

Roo m 5AB

At the same time, but in a different room, there's an equally interesting panel, and this one actually is one I would recommend to anyone who cares about how comics are going to evolve into the digital age.  Rantz Hoseley, editor of the awesome Comic Book Tattoo from last year, has spearheaded a new project called Longbox, which is, essentially, iTunes for comics.  Interested?

12:00-1:00
LongBox Digital Comics

Rantz Hoseley (CEO LongBox, Inc., editor of Comic Book Tattoo) hosts this presentation of the LongBox Platform for Digital Comics. Rantz, along with special guests-including Jeff Katz (American Original Productions)-demonstrates LongBox, talks about the impending launch, and discusses some of the exciting partnerships and plans for what some are calling the future of digital comics.

Room 32AB

I'll be staying in Hall H for my next MIGHT SEE after the Disney panel:

12:45-1:30
3D Showcase with "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," "The Hole," and "The Final Destination"

Get a first look at 3 brand new films in stunning 3D! First up, it's Columbia Pictures and Sony Animation's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, inspired by the classic children's book, the film focuses on a town where food begins to fall from the sky like rain. See an extended 3D clip from this eagerly awaited animated film!

Next up, legendary director Joe Dante (Gremlins 1 & 2, Innerspace, Explorers, The Howling) makes his return to the genre he knows best with the 3D thriller The Hole. Three kids come face to face with their darkest fears after they unlock a bottomless hole in the basement that makes their nightmares come to life. Join Dante-along with actress Haley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley)-as he discusses his return to thrillers, working in 3D, and The Hole.

Catch a sneak peek at New Line Cinema's 3D visceral thrill-ride horror film The Final Destination. Producer Craig Perry introduces a clip from the film.

Hall H

Although I may skip that, as much as I love Joe Dante, to attend a different panel altogether, making this a MIGHT SEE:

1:15-2:15
Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture

EW moderates a conversation with Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), and Zoe Saldana (Avatar) about the actresses who have redefined the rules, and the female characters that have shattered the glass ceiling for all women. Basically, a discussion with women who kick ass.

Ballroom 20

I'm not staying in Hall H for the "Twilight: New Moon" presentation.  Let someone who genuinely loves the property have that seat, right?

Instead, I'm going to try to catch some lunch and then a bit of this panel, a partial MIGHT SEE:

2:30-3:30
DVD/Blu-ray Producers 2009: Now in Glorious High-Definition!

Bill Hunt, Adam Jahnke, and Todd Doogan (of The Digital Bits.com), talk about the latest DVD and Blu-ray developments with some of the leading special-edition producers in Hollywood! Panelists include Robert Meyer Burnett (The Hills Run Red, Free Enterprise: The Wrath of Shatner), Laura Gross (Coraline, 9), Charles de Lauzirika (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood), David Naylor (Fringe, Bad Lieutenant), and Cliff Stephenson (Crank 2: High Voltage, Gamer). You can expect inside talk, a Q&A, and a sneak peek at great upcoming discs!

Room 7AB

No matter what, though, I'll be back in Hall H for what I consider the main event.  Not just of the day, but of the entire Con.  Hell... of the entire year, unless I'm completely mistaken about what we're getting this Christmas, making this the only absolute MUST SEE of the whole week for me:

3:00-4:15
20th Century Fox and James Cameron present Avatar

In this first public screening of footage in 3D from his much-anticipated action/adventure/fantasy, James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and cast members take you to a spectacular new world beyond imagination. Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, Avatar breaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the movie-going experience.

Hall H

Thankfully, I can just stay in my seat in Hall H for my next WILL SEE:

4:30-5:15
Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of both Comic-Con and Monty Python, we welcome the sole American Python, the great animator and director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to introduce you to his new film starring Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, and Lily Cole. Dr. Parnassus is a fabulous anachronism, touring the streets of modern-day London in a horse-drawn carnival wagon accompanied by his beautiful daughter, devoted dwarf, and neophyte barker. On stage Parnassus plays a holy man whose Imaginarium can realize the innermost fantasies of all who dare to enter. Backstage, he is a drunkard, a gambler who centuries ago lost a wager with the Devil and must now pony up with his daughter once she turns sixteen. Tomorrow. Yet, there may still be hope for the Doctor and Valentina in the person of Tony, a well-dressed amnesic they rescue from a perilous fate and invite into their world of unrelenting magic and possibility.

Hall H

I would love to try to see some of this panel, a MIGHT SEE...

5:30-6:30
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: The First Active Cinematic Videogame

Representatives from Naughty Dog, the premiere Playstation 3 developer, discuss how they utilize the Naughty Dog 2.0 engine to hit a turning point in technology innovation by recreating reality and capturing human emotion. Creative director Amy Hennig and various cast members of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves discuss how for the first time, through high-quality cinematic presentation of scenes, characters, and dialogue, players become an active participant in the cinematic experience.

Room 6A

... but absolutely nothing is going to make me late for my next WILL SEE back in Hall H:

5:45-6:30
Kick-Ass

World premiere footage from Kick-Ass, based on Mark Millar's bestselling comic, is presented by director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layercake). Joining him on the panel are Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), and comic co-creator John Romita Jr., among others, including a surprise guest. You don't want to miss the chance to be the first to experience this gritty, brash, and funny actioner.

Hall H

That's it for things I know I'm doing on Thursday.  At that point, I plan to be so insanely exhausted that I just collapse into a weeping pile in my hotel room.

But let's just say I've still got some wind in my sails.  Here are a few more MIGHT SEE panels, including...

6:30-7:00
Focus Features: Thirst

Focus Features and Comic-Con present a rare U.S. appearance by acclaimed Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, whose "scandalous vampire melodrama" Thirst just won the Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival. Sang-hyun (played by top Korean star Song Kang-ho, of The Host) is a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes the priest, and a blood transfusion is urgently ordered for him. The blood he receives is infected, so he lives-but now exists as a vampire. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins. Park will show clips from the movie- which opens in select cities on July 31-and discuss his career.

Hall H

I'm going to see the film and possibly even talk to Park Chan-wook before the Con, but for anyone who admires the work of this singular and gifted filmmaker, this will be a fairly unusual chance to see him in the United States, and I'd strongly urge you to attend the panel.

I'm actually also interested in this:

8:00-9:30
Green Lantern: First Flight World Premiere

Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation proudly present the World Premiere of Green Lantern: First Flight, the fifth DC Universe animated original PG-13 movie. Green Lantern: First Flight finds Hal Jordan recruited to join the Green Lantern Corps and placed under the supervision of respected senior Lantern Sinestro. The earthling soon discovers his mentor is actually the central figure in a secret conspiracy that threatens the philosophies, traditions and hierarchy of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Hal must quickly hone his newfound powers and combat the treasonous Lanterns within the ranks to maintain order in the universe. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) leads the cast as the voice of Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. The cast includes Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber (Milk, Titanic), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and John Larroquette (Night Court). Produced by animation legend Bruce Timm, Green Lantern: First Flight is directed by Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman) and scripted by four-time Emmy Award-winning writer Alan Burnett (The Batman). Warner Home Video will release Green Lantern: First Flight on Blu-ray Hi-Def and DVD on July 28, 2009.

Ballroom 20

I like the animation that DC and Marvel are producing right now.  It's not genius, but it's strong and interesting treatments of some of the more adult and complex stories on their shelves.  Hopefully I'll get a BluRay of this for review, though, and I seriously need time to recover for Friday and Saturday, as well as write.

And finally, for anyone who has been reading the buzz and the hype for the last few years, allow me to point out...

9:30-12:00
Halloween Comes Early: Trick 'r Treat Screening

Be among the first to see writer/director Michael Dougherty's (Superman Returns, X2) creepy, darkly comic celebration of the scariest night of the year. Trick 'r Treat takes the Creepshow/Tales from the Crypt approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night: a high school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer; a young virgin whose quest for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens who carry out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man who battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon. Prior to the screening, Ain't It Cool News mogul Harry Knowles will moderate a panel featuring Michael Dougherty and members of the cast, including Anna Paquin (True Blood, X-Men), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse), and Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity, X2). A collection of creepy stories that mixes fun with fear, candy with poison, and laughter with screams, the critically acclaimed Trick 'r Treat will be released on Blu-ray Hi-Def and DVD and On Demand by Warner Home Video in October.

Ballroom 20

Go.  If you haven't seen it, go.  If you have seen it, I'm sure Harry's going to throw a party at this screening.  That's his style.  And he looooooves this movie.  Rightfully.  Go.

I plan on sleeping until about 9:55 AM and then sprinting across the street for...

Friday, July 24

... the day's first WILL SEE:

10:00-12:30
Warner Bros.

Join WB for a look at their much anticipated slate of upcoming genre films, including Where The Wild Things Are, The Book of Eli, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Box, Jonah Hex, and Sherlock Holmes.

Hall H

You know why Warner's giant presentation, that's two and a half hours long, gets only three lines?

Because that's all they need. 

"Where The Wild Things Are" is a very special film, and I am dying to be in the room when people really get a sense of just what they're going to get when the film hits screens this fall.  I think "Sherlock Holmes" is going to surprise people tremendously when it arrives.  I'm hoping "The Box" is the film where Richard Kelly hits the home run he's been revving up to so far.  "Jonah Hex" is a very cool gamble.  Overall, I think Warner Bros. is a studio that has their shit together right now, and whatever they've got planned for that two hours-plus, it'll be worth it to be there.

Still, a part of me wishes I could see some of this...

11:45-12:45
Caprica/Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

The present meets the past as the makers of Battlestar Galactica deliver the highly anticipated Syfy original series, Caprica and the 2-hour event, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, directed by Edward James Olmos. This is your chance to get the inside scoop on these exciting projects and see two generations of Adamas on stage together for the first time. Executive producers Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, and Jane Espenson sit down with Caprica star Esai Morales (Joseph Adama) and Battlestar Galactica's Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama), director of The Plan, to reveal the truth about these two new chapters in the mythology of BSG.

Ballroom 20

I really liked "Caprica," and I'm excited to see where they're going to go with it as a series.

Most likely, though, I'll finish the Warner panel and stay seated for the next WILL SEE:

12:45-2:15
Disney Animation Panel

Walt Disney Pictures, Disney•Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios present a director panel with previously unseen footage from its upcoming animated slate, including Toy Story & Toy Story 2 - Double Feature, Beauty And The Beast, Toy Story 3, Prep & Landing, The Princess and the Frog and Ponyo. Special guests include Lee Unkrich, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements, John Musker, and Hayao Miyazaki. John Lasseter hosts the panel, with Patton Oswalt moderating.

Hall H

Patton Oswalt's got, honestly, the best gig at the entire Con this year, hosting this particular panel.  Kudos, sir, and I can't wait to see everything they're showing.  "Toy Story 3" footage?  Maybe?  Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please...

There's no room to even get up to go pee, it seems, with the next WILL SEE panel starting right after, in the same place...

2:30-3:30
Focus Features: 9

Focus Features and Comic-Con present an exclusive look inside director Shane Acker's animated fantasy epic 9, the feature-length expansion of his short film of the same name. Directors Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov are among the feature version's producers. The action-packed adventure-opening nationwide 9/9/09-takes place after our world fell to pieces, when a group of "stitchpunk" creations must summon individual strengths well beyond their own proportions. While showcasing a stunning steampunk-styled visual brilliance, 9 dynamically explores the will to live, the power of community, and how one soul can change the world. Join Shane Acker, Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, and actors Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly LIVE for this panel presentation!

Hall H

I love everything I've seen of this film so far, and I'm really curious to see it ASAP.

If they show "Legion" first, I'm screwed at this next panel, because I am absolutely leaving early.  I have no choice.  So this is a WILL SEE, but with a ticking clock built in:

3:45-5:00
Sony Pictures Entertainment: Legion and District 9

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Screen Gems introduce two great new movie projects exclusively to Comic-Con attendees!

Legion

When the last angel falls, the fight for mankind begins. Having lost faith in the human race, a legion of angels descend to Earth to bring about the Apocalypse. Humanity's only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner and the Archangel Michael himself (Paul Bettany). Appearing on stage: Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, The DaVinci Code), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights, Supernatural), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, Death Race), Doug Jones (Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Abe Sapien in Hellboy), and director Scott Stewart (helming his first feature film after working on VFX for Sin City, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, and Iron Man, among many others). From Screen Gems.

District 9

Peter Jackson makes his eagerly and long-awaited first visit to Comic-Con to introduce you to the world of District 9, which focuses on a world in which extraterrestrials have become refugees in South Africa. Thirty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa's District 9 as the world's nations argued over what to do with them-as well as their powerful technology and advanced weaponry that can only be activated by Alien DNA. Please join Peter Jackson as he gives fans a first look at scenes from District 9 and takes your questions along with director Neill Blomkamp and star Sharlto Copley. From Sony Pictures Entertainment

Hall H

What would make me walk out of that panel early?  What would force me to bolt to find room 6A, wherever that might be?

An event so rare as to be only fabled until this moment, at least for those of on this side of things.  Only recently, with all three series showing up on my doorstep, have I become fully immersed in all things "Boosh," but I've certainly enjoyed bits and pieces of their work before now.

Yes.  It's true.  And after "Avatar," it is only the second "MUST SEE" of the entire thing:

4:45-5:45
The Mighty Boosh

Creators/stars Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding, along with actors Michael Fielding, Rich Fulcher, and Dave Brown, will be on stage to take questions from fans and discuss the magical, bizarre, and exciting world of The Boosh, which The San Jose Mercury News describes as "an acid-trip fantasy-comedy [that] is seriously deranged and seriously funny."

Room 6A

Now here's where the clones come in.

How am I supposed to juggle the three things I'm interested in that take place over a span of the next two and a half hours or so?  There's too much overlap to enjoy any of them.

I'd love to do this one, especially if there's any chance they'll show the test footage they've done for the animated film:

6:00-7:00
Goon, This Is Your Life!

It's the Goon's 10th Anniversary, and creator Eric Powell reminisces about the life of the lovable thug with special surprise guests. Come discuss the Goon's sordid past and his future in the picture shows! That's right, some folks from Blur Studio will be on hand to talk about the animated Goon film!

Room 8

But I think it's most likely I'll be attending this one instead, especially if I duck out of the "District 9" stuff earlier for the sake of the "Boosh."  That makes this a WILL SEE for me:

6:30-7:30
Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries

A discussion with iconic filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Peter Jackson (District 9) on the Future of Film-EW moderates an in-depth conversation with these two cinematic giants about the art of film narrative and how technology and global culture will alter the art of on-screen storytelling in the next 20 years.

Hall H

Uhhhhh... yes.  Definitely.

And that unfortunately means I'll miss this...

7:15-8:15
RiffTrax Live

Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (RiffTrax.com, Mystery Science Theater 3000) perform a live, hilarious riff to a classic short!

The panel is hosted by Veronica Belmont (host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network). Join the gang for fun, laughs, and the latest news from RiffTrax.com, the site where MST3K-style humor meets mainstream movies, TV shows, and vintage shorts! At RiffTrax.com they don't make movies, they make them funny!

Room 6DE

... which is a damn shame.

There are dozens of ways for me to disgrace myself in San Diego on Friday night, but I'm hoping I'm smart and pace myself so I don't have to face two more days of work feeling like death warmed over.

Particularly in light of how I plan to start ...

Saturday, July 25

... with a WILL SEE that I hope our TV editor Dan Fienberg doesn't mind me attending.  I am, after all, the giant dweeb who recapped this past year of the show.

11:00-12:00
Lost: The Final Season Begins, with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

In appreciation of all the fan support through five seasons of Lost, co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will pay homage to all the fans at their final Comic-Con appearance for Lost. Questions will be answered. Fun will be had. And you won't want to miss the surprises in store for the audience!

Hall H

That panel could be ten hours long on Saturday, and it wouldn't be long enough for me.  I'm so there.

I also think another TV panel sounds like a ridiculous amount of fun, even if I don't think the latest stuff is as good as the show's first classic run.  This is a strong MIGHT SEE from me...

1:00-1:45
Futurama: Life or Death?!

Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news.

Ballroom 20

On the other hand... Mike Judge is also a strong MIGHT SEE from me...

1:30-2:30
Miramax: Extract

Mike Judge, the creator of such comedy classics as Office Space, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill is back with his latest film Extract starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live). Join Judge and his cast for a discussion and first look at scenes from their new film.

Hall H

... especially with that cast.

This next one is a "sure, why not" for me.  I'm not rabid about either film, but I'm interested enough to go check out the footage.

2:45-3:45
Sony Pictures: Zombieland and 2012

Sony Pictures previews two exciting new movies at Comic-Con!

Zombieland -What if the Zombies won? Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) doesn't have fears. If he did, he'd kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they're about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other. Also starring Emma Stone and Abigal Breslin as two sisters who seem to constantly cause even more trouble for our erstwhile heroes. Appearing on stage: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and director Ruben Fleischer.

2012-Director Roland Emmerich has tried to destroy civilization before, but nothing you've seen will prepare you for what he has in store for the world in 2012. Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. 2012 is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. Roland will be onstage to reassure us it's all make-believe...we hope.

Hall H

And then I'm not moving, because the next panel is an absolute WILL SEE for me, and for anyone else who wants to know what's up for "Iron Man" next year...

4:00-5:00
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment: Iron Man 2

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel superhero Iron Man. Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 stars Robert Downey Jr. Joining Downey in the cast are Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Hall H

Earlier, Jon Favreau Tweeted that he wanted to post the entire list of actors coming to the panel, but it went over the limit by 61 characters.  This is gonna be fuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

I'd love to stay and see this panel...

5:15-6:45
Kevin Smith

Direct from New York City, where he's directing the new Warner Bros. film A Couple of Dicks starring Bruce Willis, Seann William Scott, and Tracy Morgan, Kevin Smith returns to the Hall H stage for his annual report to the masses. And remember: he flew in just for YOU.

Hall H

... but it's more likely I'll be running to make sure I see this one, which will be interesting if American Original is announcing their first slate of material, making this a WILL SEE:

5:30-6:30
American Original: Birth of an Original

Jeff Katz (Booster Gold, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash), president and founder of American Original, Marc Silvestri (Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia), and Matt Hawkins (president of Top Cow) give you the 411 on the genesis of their "Nerd Machine"! Find out what's coming from American Original first, and get introduced to their mix of talent from a spectrum of comics, film, television, sports entertainment, and animation! Plus enough surprise guests to fill a three-ring circus!

Room 7AB

There's a huge event that night that I'm intrigued by, but I don't know if I've got the stamina:

8:30-12:15
Watchmen: Director's Cut-Live with Zack Snyder! Plus Sneak Peek of Batman: Arkham Asylum with Mark Hamill & Kevin Conroy

Get the ultimate inside track on two landmark Warner Bros. releases with the world premiere screening of Watchmen: Director's Cut and a first-look panel for the breakout Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game Batman: Arkham Asylum. The festivities will open with a Batman: Arkham Asylum panel led by the benchmark voices of Batman and the Joker, Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars), as well as award-winning writer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series). Then Watchmen director Zack Snyder, legendary illustrator Dave Gibbons and actor Jackie Earle Haley discuss the nuances of the film's Director's Cut- which hit stores on July 21. And for the pièce de résistance, Snyder will host a BD Live Community event-providing a real-time, in-person director's commentary for Comic-Con attendees (and BD Live viewers at home) as the film rolls. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of Snyder via computer kiosks within the room, making for an entirely interactive viewing experience.

Room 6BCF

I'd like to check out this 3D indie noir film, but again... I have no idea what shape I'll be in by 10:00 on Saturday night.  I am an old fat man, remember.

10:00-12:00
Give 'Em Hell Malone Screening and Panel

Catch an exclusive early screening of the upcoming noir-action film Give 'Em Hell Malone, followed by a Q&A with stars Thomas Jane (The Punisher) and Chris Yen, along with director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander) and writer Mark Hosack.

Room 6DE

Sunday, July 26

I've heard a fair amount of grumbling about Sunday so far this year.

There are things worth attending, folks.  Admittedly, it looks a little thin so far, but check out these options:

10:30-11:30
The Art of Adapting Comics to the Screen

Jeff Goldsmith (senior editor for Creative Screenwriting magazine) examines the in-depth process of adapting comic books to the big screen with a stellar panel including David Hayter (Watchmen), Gregory Noveck (Sr. VP of creative affairs, DC Comics), and Josh Olson (A History of Violence).

Room 5AB

Great moderator.  Strong panel.  Good subject.

I'd like to personally urge you to attend the next panel, which I'm moderating, and I am delighted to be able to introduce the members of DERRICK Comedy to Comic-Con.  I was smitten with their film "Mystery Team" at Sundance this year, and having finally met them a little over a week ago, I think they seem like really sharp and funny people who have a genuinely great little film they want to share with you.  Please... make this a WILL SEE for yourselves:

12:30-1:00
Roadside Attractions: Mystery Team

They were kid detectives. Now they're 18 and still solving child crimes. When challenged to solve a murder, the Mystery Team sees an opportunity to prove they're real detectives. A dark world of drugs, violence, and swear words awaits them. Mystery Team is the first film by popular Internet comedians Derrick Comedy, and at this panel the group-writers/stars Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson, producer Meggie McFadden, and director/editor Dan Eckman-will be on hand to discuss the film, along with a special VIP moderator. The group will also be debuting an all-new Mystery Team short film.

Ballroom 20

I'm also going to stay in the same spot for the next panel, immediately after, about another charming Sundance comedy from this year:

1:00-1:30
Overture Pictures: Paper Heart

Despite professing a belief that she's incapable of love, comedian and actress Charlyne Yi finds herself falling for "Michael Cera," played by Michael Cera, in this intoxicating mix of documentary, improvisation, and romance. Charlyne Yi, producer/co-writer Nick Jasenovec, and co-star Jake Johnson will be onstage to show clips and pursue the ultimate question: Does true love really exist?

Ballroom 20

I'm sure I can find some more trouble to get into on Sunday, but for now, that's all I'm positive about.  And believe me... that's enough.  What a crunch.  I'm looking forward to seeing all of it, even if it does seem daunting, and to bringing you lots of coverage as the con unfolds.  Make sure you come here to HitFix for all your Comic-Con needs... we'll have a ton of people on the ground.

Speaking of which, we'll contact the winners of the T-shirt contest and get those shirts out to you ASAP.  And I can't wait to see you in them in San Diego.  Very exciting!

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