<p>Kathleen Kennedy and JJ&nbsp;Abrams are hard at work preparing for the start of production on 'Star Wars:&nbsp;Episode VII'</p>

Kathleen Kennedy and JJ Abrams are hard at work preparing for the start of production on 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

John Williams will return to score the new 'Star Wars' trilogy for JJ Abrams

More news should start breaking out of SWCE2013

Right now, Star Wars Celebration Europe 2013 is underway, and that means there will be news about all the different corners of the "Star Wars" universe and what fans should be looking forward to in the near and far future. Of course, the majority of the attention of the fan community right now is focused on "Star Wars Episode VII," and all you have to do is look at the way any rumor of any substance ripples through the entire Internet to know how keen the anticipation is out there for this film, whatever it's going to be.

I think JJ Abrams has a terrifying job. Seriously. I think anyone after him who directs anything related to "Star Wars" has permission to play, and we're going to see just how flexible a film universe it is in the next decade or so. But for JJ Abrams, this is the moment. For "Star Wars," this is the moment. The prequels left a divided fandom. The television projects have divided fandom. There are fans so hurt that they don't consider themselves fans anymore. The only thing that is going to truly bring fandom back together in a meaningful way is if this next film gets it right. Abrams has to convince us all that there's something left to tell, some reason for these movies to go on. It's not just "And then some more stuff happened!" This is "Star Wars." It's got to be a story that feels like it takes everything that's come before and spins it into something new and engrossing and fun and exciting and different.

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<p>Lorraine Warren trusted James Wan to tell her story on film, and we sat down with both of them to talk about 'The Conjuring'</p>

Lorraine Warren trusted James Wan to tell her story on film, and we sat down with both of them to talk about 'The Conjuring'

Credit: HitFix

Winning the creepy Annabelle doll from 'The Conjuring' is as simple as sending a Tweet

Plus check out the director of the year's scariest film with the real-life inspiration

UPDATED: We are pleased to announce that Linda Vee Sado (@LindaVeeSado on Twitter) is the winner of the Annabelle doll contest, and will soon be welcoming the haunted doll to her house. You're very brave, Linda, and congratulations!

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW

Normally, I would have posted all of the interviews we had for "The Conjuring" before the film opened last Friday, but a couple of things prevented that from happening.

First, we ended up with a whoooooole lot of James Wan in one seven-day period thanks to a press day they had for "Insidious: Chapter Two" in LA, and we decided to space the interviews out a little bit so as not to overload you guys. Second, Comic-Con. It might seem like there's no verb in that sentence, but trust me… "Comic-Con" encompasses whatever else I might say on the matter.

I am thrilled to see how well "The Conjuring" is doing, and not because I really care about numbers, but because I think this is an uncommonly good version of what a studio horror film can be, and I want to see them rewarded for not only making a very good movie, but also for selling it right. They have been carefully laying the groundwork for that opening weekend for most of this year, and it really paid off.

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<p>David Twohy seemed pleased by the reception to the footage they showed Friday at Comic-Con from his new film 'Riddick'</p>

David Twohy seemed pleased by the reception to the footage they showed Friday at Comic-Con from his new film 'Riddick'

Credit: HitFix

David Twohy talked to us about the creative struggles of getting a new 'Riddick' made

We talk about playing pulp with a straight face

David Twohy has carved out a very specific place for himself in the world of genre movies, and I think it's amazing he's been able to pull it off considering how sincerely he treats it.

Sincerity is not a virtue in modern pop culture, or at least it's not treated as one. Everything in pop culture seems to be winking at you all the time these days, and the more post-modern something is, the more it feels like it fits into the current landscape. I don't mind some of that, and done right, like in this summer's "This Is The End," it can pay off surprising dividends. Done wrong, though, and it highlights the artificial nature of film in a way that kills it for me.

I would much rather see someone do something they mean sincerely, even if it is just a crazy action film or a weird science-fiction flick. Twohy started out plugging away in the low-budget genre world in the late '80s as a writer on "Critters 2" and "Warlock," making his debut as a filmmaker with 1992's "Timescape." He had his first big mainstream success the following year as the screenwriter of "The Fugitive," and then as one of the many writers who had their hands on "Waterworld."

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<p>Hiroyuki Sanada finds himself surrounded by Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto, just as he is in James Mangold's new film 'The Wolverine'</p>

Hiroyuki Sanada finds himself surrounded by Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto, just as he is in James Mangold's new film 'The Wolverine'

Credit: HitFix

The Japanese cast of 'The Wolverine' talks about joining Hugh Jackman on his journey

Two first-timers are joined by a veteran Japanese star

Perhaps the most striking thing about "The Wolverine" is how Fox committed to a film that features a largely Asian cast, which much of the film subtitled. That's a fascinating decision that goes completely against the thought process that we see studios utilize much of the time.

I'd say that both Yukio and Mariko benefit from the adaptation process, emerging as more interesting characters in the film than they were on the page. It helps that Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto are playing the parts, and they both seem like they saw this as a huge opportunity.

It makes perfect sense to me that Fukushima is a model, because she's one of those people who is just plain interesting on-camera. I joked about her resemblance to Christina Ricci in my review of "The Wolverine," but like Ricci, she seems to be about 87% eyes. In our chat, we talked about her crash course in swordsmanship, and the fact that she looks as proficient as she does in the film is just a nice reminder of how much illusion is involved in movies.

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<p>Katee Sackhoff talked to us about her fondness for the character of 'Riddick' and her experience working with Vin Diesel on the film.</p>

Katee Sackhoff talked to us about her fondness for the character of 'Riddick' and her experience working with Vin Diesel on the film.

Credit: HitFix

Katee Sackhoff on being 'incredibly odd' and playing make believe with Vin Diesel for 'Riddick'

The 'Battlestar Galactica' star found a place for herself on this film

SAN DIEGO - I've liked Katee Sackhoff since watching the first season of "Battlestar Galactica," but over the span of two days at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, I've come to think much more highly of her.

First, she's a great spokesman for "Riddick," the latest chapter in the space opera serial that David Twohy and Vin Diesel have made, and she seems excited to be joining the series. On the panel in Hall H and then again when we spoke later in the day, she seems thrilled to be in the film and to have been given the character to play. Dahl is a bounty hunter who shows up as part of a team that has been tracking Riddick because of something that happened in "Pitch Black," and she manages to find all sorts of grace notes in what could easily have been a very thin stereotype. David Twohy writes genuine no-apologies pulp movies, and I think actors have to be willing to dig in and find something real to play in a situation like this.

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<p>Keanu Reeves is suddenly everywhere, including 'Man Of Tai Chi,' which will be featured at this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin.</p>

Keanu Reeves is suddenly everywhere, including 'Man Of Tai Chi,' which will be featured at this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin.

Credit: RADiUS-TWC

Fantastic Fest's first wave of programming includes Keanu Reeves in 'Man Of Tai Chi'

Plus the amazing 'Cheap Thrills' and many others

I feel like I've been on the road nonstop for the last two months, and I'm leaving again for another trip on Saturday. Because of this, I'm hoping to spend most of August at home in Los Angeles, enjoying the end of the summer with my kids, especially since September means nearly a full month on the road at film festivals each year. There's the Toronto International Film Festival, and then there's Fantastic Fest.

For someone who doesn't go to festivals often, it would be hard to explain why Fantastic Fest remains my favorite film event each year even over Cannes or Sundance. I think every festival has a distinct identity, or at least the ones I attend do, and that's important. If you're just showing a bunch of movies, that's not a festival. If you're creating a curated experience that is designed to bombard an audience with awesome, that's a festival. And that's Fantastic Fest all over.

They typically announce their programming in waves, and today, we've got a look at the first batch of announced titles, with our thoughts punctuating the line-up.

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<p>Keanu appears to, once again, be the One in the upcoming action epic '47 Ronin'</p>

Keanu appears to, once again, be the One in the upcoming action epic '47 Ronin'

Credit: Universal Pictures

First '47 Ronin' trailer promises gorgeous scenery, Keanu swordfights and CGI beasts

I think it's safe to say this is not a traditional approach to the story

When I moderated Universal's Comic-Con panel this year, we covered two films. "Kick-Ass 2" and "Riddick" were perfect fits for that crowd, and I can tell you that we didn't have a spare minute up on that stage. Just giving those two films their time was frantic, so there wasn't room for Universal to bring and showcase anything else in that hour.

If there was any other film I would have been interested in having up there, it would have been "47 Ronin." This is, by most published accounts so far, a deeply troubled movie. This was supposed to be in theaters in November of 2012, but instead, that's right around the time Universal took the film away from director Carl Erik Rinsch. Some people are reporting the film's budget as high as $225 million, with Universal officially stating it's $175 million, which is still GIGANTIC.

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<p>Aubrey Plaza is front and center for 'The To-Do List,' a new film by writer/director Maggie Carey.</p>

Aubrey Plaza is front and center for 'The To-Do List,' a new film by writer/director Maggie Carey.

Credit: CBS Films

Exclusive debut of Dave Berns artist's poster for Aubrey Plaza's 'To-Do List'

Maggie Carey's movie gets a special variant one-sheet

This is one of the first years we've had a partner for our annual preview night of Comic-Con HitFix party, and it was CBS Films on behalf of "The To-Do List," the new comedy written and directed by Maggie Carey, starring Aubrey Plaza in what one might argue is the first real test of her as a stand-alone lead in a film.

I'm fascinated by Plaza. I think she's got one of the few truly original comic personas in film right now. I'm not sure I think she's found the right overall showcase so far, but she's great on "Parks and Recreation," she's the secret weapon in "Safety Not Guaranteed," and she gives the most "are you f**king with me?" inscrutable interviews possible these days. She's given herself permission with her comedy character to really screw around with people, and she seems to be enjoying that license these days.

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<p>Caesar's back and he's leading a revolution this time in 'Dawn Of The Planet&nbsp;Of The Apes,' one of the films discussed in our final wrap-up from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.</p>

Caesar's back and he's leading a revolution this time in 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,' one of the films discussed in our final wrap-up from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Lego,' 'Warcraft,' 'Apes' and Tom Cruise round out our Comic-Con 2013 coverage

Plus we recount the single most serious and awesome moment of the Con

SAN DIEGO - There's no way to give everything that happens in San Diego during Comic-Con the full print attention that it deserves, and that's because from the moment you arrive in town on Wednesday, everything's a blur. One day at Comic-Con can pack in as many things as I normally do in a month's worth of work in Los Angeles, and so we publish what we can publish as fast as possible, and almost always end up with some spare odds and ends that we don't know quite what to do with. To that end, I'd like to share some impressions from the rest of the Con.

WARCRAFT

Chris Hardwick was everywhere this year, evidently, I'm pretty sure that the real purpose of Nerdist Industries is to create clones of Hardwick to handle moderating duties everywhere for everything. The geek world's Ryan Seacrest is unstoppable now, and he plays along with the theatricality of a lot of these presentations. For example, during the Warner/Legendary panel on Saturday morning, Chris stopped at one point to take a phone call from Thomas Tull. He said he had to take it "because Thomas owns me."

He pretended that Tull had just ordered them to reveal something that was not on the original schedule, and it turned out to be a very short proof of concept thing for a movie based on Blizzard's enormously popular "Warcraft" franchise.

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<p>Sandra Bullock's a long way from her comfort zone in Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling story of survival in space, 'Gravity,' part of this year's Comic-Con presentation from&nbsp;Warner Bros.</p>

Sandra Bullock's a long way from her comfort zone in Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling story of survival in space, 'Gravity,' part of this year's Comic-Con presentation from Warner Bros.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Cuaron and Bullock show off 'Gravity' footage: Watch the 2 minute clip

The Oscar-winner's first trip to Hall H is a success

SAN DIEGO - Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" seems like an odd fit with Comic-Con. Sure it's set in outer space, but it's not another "Guardians Of The Galaxy." There's no bad guys, no Joseph Campbell structure, no outrageous genre-bending twists. It's a hard science survival story, something closer to "127 Hours" than "Star Wars." Still, Warner Bros. couldn't have made this thing cheaply, and if they're going to turn this movie into a hit this year, they've got to sell it to everyone.

[Watch a portion of the footage Cuaron screened at Comic-Con in the embed at the top of this post.]

Cuaron hasn't made a feature film since "Children Of Men," and that seems absolutely cruel when you think about how strong his filmography was, how much life and raw talent was apparent in his work. "Gravity" has been a long time coming, a four year process for the filmmaker, and when he showed up at Comic-Con to share some footage, he seemed worn out but pleased.

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