(Photos by Jeff Enlow)
WonderCon has been a fantastic Xanadu of geekery thus far, with Saturday containing the majority of big money exclusives. Panel discussions from the X-Files creative team and Jon Favreau's upcoming Iron Man film were the sweetest payoffs, but there were lots more surprises lurking about. I wish I was a patron saint bringing you bootleg footage of all the juicy clips exclusive to WonderCon, but that wouldn't be right for the attendees that paid to get in. That, and the security was extra tight. However, here's a list of highlights and observations. -- Oscar Pascual
-- The panel for the upcoming X-Files sequel presented a teaser that was downright mysterious. But hey, that's why it's called a teaser. The new footage suggested nothing about the plot but featured Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly and...Xzibit? The cast wasn't concerned that the former Alkaholik turned Pimp My Ride host might tarnish the X-Files name. In fact, during the discussion Gillian Anderson revealed that they loved him.
Another major bombshell dropped when a fan posed the question of whether recurring characters such as the Cigarette Smoking Man or the murderous Alex Krycek would appear in the film. Apparently creator Chris Carter adopted a comic book cliche and hinted at the possibility.
"Nobody's ever really dead from The X-Files," said Carter.
(Click "More" for all notes of importance, or just downright awesomeness.)
Aside from those two earth-shattering revelations, the rest of the panel was deduced to standard fan questions like "What's your favorite episode?," "What do you guys believe in?," and "How can X-Files compete with CSI?"
Carter, along with writer/producer Frank Spotnitz and actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were said to be on a short break from filming for the sole purpose of their WC appearance. All questions led to ambiguous answers, much like the answers special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully received throughout the series and prior film.
However, Carter did promise that the film will "scare the pants off you," and that we will see Mulder and Scully in a whole new way.
The film is scheduled for a July 25 release, which sucks because that's the same day The Dark Knight comes out. Having to brave two two-hour sessions of waiting in a line, oy vey!
-- Jon Favreau came to WonderCon to introduce Iron Man, and he was welcomed with someone yelling "You're so money!" Favs is still money indeed, as evident in the mouth-watering clips he brought from his project that's still in the production process. Fans were treated to exclusive footage of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Starks, the alcoholic industrialist turned armor-clad superhero, fumbling around while testing out equipment. Iron Man's thruster boots and gloves were on display amidst a work lab housing an impressive row of fine sports cars. A final clip showed the prototype armor-suit, devoid of the iconic red and yellow, but still ranking high in the awe-factor. Quirky, comical quips and gags ran aplenty throughout the collection of clips, reminiscent of Favreau's subtle and effective humor.
-- Video game developer Capcom announced their stellar lineup of titles this year, headlined of course by Street Fighter IV. Previously unreleased footage of actual gameplay displayed beautiful 3-D character models, but didn't seem to divert from the staple fighting system we've grown accustomed to. SF III's advancements in gameplay were an amazing progression in the series, but the biggest gripe was the exclusion of several memorable fighters. Capcom addressed this issue to the delight of gamers with the return of classic characters like Guile, E. Honda, Zangief, Blanka, and Dhalsim. And trust me, they all look great.
Capcom also showed off the next gen rework of Bionic Commando. The classic title takes all the grappling gun-swinging action and gives it a big ole shot of HGH with breathtaking 3-D cityscapes of crumbling buildings in near ruins. Environments are very impressive, as nearby toppling buildings shake the ground as they fall, creating realistic movements of dust and debris in its wake. The main character also makes gestures appropriate for specific conditions, such as covering his eyes with a free hand when said dust and debris fly about. If this game plays just as good as it looks, it could be a solid contender for one of the best games of the year.