This weekend is WonderCon. It’s San Diego Comic-Con’s kid brother, a convention once described to me as “what Comic-Con was five years ago.” That doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing things happening there, though; here’s a look at some of the highlights from the schedule.
- 1) Netflix’s latest original series, “Hemlock Grove”
Eli Roth, best known for creating the “Hostel” movies, is bringing his horror filmmaking online and creating a 13-episode series for Netflix based on Brian McGreevy’s popular murder mystery novel. It tells the story of a Pennsylvania steel town where a 17-year-old girl gets brutally murdered, leaving behind a mangled body, with hints that the answer lies in the supernatural.
Roth will be in attendance, along with cast members like Famke Janssen. No idea yet how shows like this, “House of Cards,” “Arrested Development” and “Sense8” are going to make Netflix any money, but for now, you can enjoy some well-produced original programming. “Hemlock Grove” premiers April 19.
- 2) An early look at a brand new episode of “Doctor Who” and new series “Orphan Black”
It’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, and along with appearing on a recent cover of Entertainment Weekly, the show’s back for its midseason (or for you Anglophiles, “midseries”) premiere. In case you don’t get the chance to check it out, the BBC issued this prequel to that new episode, “The Bells of Saint John”:
They’re also debuting a brand new series, “Orphan Black.” If you don’t make it to this panel, you can watch both shows the next day on BBC America.
- 3) Geek & Sundry returns for a second season
Felicia Day’s popular YouTube channel Geek & Sundry recently announced it’s coming back for a second season, and you can get an early look at that new programming with Felicia herself at WonderCon. The new season starts Monday, April 1.
Watch Felicia Day explain where the channel is going, and how she defines the word “geek”:
- 4) DC debuts new animated movie “Superman: Unbound”
Friday night, DC Comics is debuting “Superman: Unbound,” a new animated movie ahead of this summer’s “Man of Steel.” On hand, they’re going to have voice cast members including Matt Bomer (“White Collar”), John Noble (“Fringe”) and both Molly Quinn and Stana Katic from “Castle.” It’s based on the “Superman: Brainiac” story by Geoff Johns.
- 5) Scott Snyder talks “Batman: Zero Year”
In one of the biggest comic book events of the year, Scott Snyder is once again redefining Batman’s early career with “Batman: Zero Year.” Snyder’s received widespread acclaim for his recent runs on “Detective Comics” and “Batman,” and now he has the chance to lay something down that could be the basis for Batman stories in a post “Dark Knight” film world. It’s also an ambitious project, scheduled to run for 11 issues of “Batman,” and fans at WonderCon can come for whatever details Snyder’s willing to spill.
- 6) Guillermo del Toro reveals more from “Pacific Rim”
Saturday’s the big movie day at WonderCon, and the raucous Guillermo del Toro will be in attendance to talk about his much-anticipated giant robots-versus-giant monsters movie “Pacific Rim.”
- 7) New shows “Under The Dome,” “Hannibal” and “Teen Titans GO!” debut
There’s a lot of genre TV on the way. It includes the chills of Stephen King’s “Under The Dome” and the new “Hannibal,” from “Pushing Daisies” creator Bryan Fuller, based on the Hannibal Lecter character of “Silence of the Lambs” fame. Sorry, though — no Anthony Hopkins this time.
If that’s not your thing, “Teen Titans GO!” may be more your speed, a reboot of the “Teen Titans” cartoon that was already targeted at kids. Personally, I loved the previous version of Teen Titans, so I’m intrigued to see where they take the show with its new style.
- 8) A sneak peak at the latest “Evil Dead” remake
“Evil Dead II” was itself basically a remake of the original “Evil Dead,” and it’s time for the series about a hero with a chainsaw for a hand to be rebooted once again. Old-school “Evil Dead” director Sam Raimi’s producing this one, with original “Evil Dead” star Bruce Campbell also serving as a producer. Bruce will be there to answer any “groovy” questions from horror fans, along with the director and cast.
- 9) Documentary “Necessary Evil: Villains of DC Comics” shoots Saturday morning
Want to be in a movie? DC is starting production of a new documentary, and from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, they’ll be filming around the DC booth at WonderCon, looking to interview fans dressed up like DC villains. So, dust off that Joker outfit from Halloween or rock a suit and a bald cap and tell everyone you’re Lex Luthor. The film’s also being narrated by one of the great villains in film — Christopher Lee, who’s played monsters like Dracula, as well as different types of monsters like Saruman in “The Lord of the Rings.”
- 10) Seth Rogen’s much-hyped “This Is the End” looks to get even more buzz
Seth Rogen is hitting WonderCon, along with co-stars including Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Evan Goldberg, to talk about what happens when the end of the world hits Los Angeles. No, Carmageddon didn’t count. You can watch the red band trailer below. (Warning: Contains adult language.)
- 11) Joss Whedon talks his indie Shakespeare movie “Much Ado About Nothing”
The legions of Joss Whedon fans who haven’t been able to catch the guerilla-shot “Much Ado About Nothing” on the festival circuit can whet their appetites for its theatrical release.
Whedon himself will be in attendance. He’s also bringing the stars from other projects he’s worked on whom he pulled into this project, including Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher from “Firefly,” Clark Gregg from “The Avengers,” Tom Lenk from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” Fran Kranz from “Cabin in the Woods” and “Dollhouse,” as well as several other actors.
The movie opens June 7.
- 12) DC Comics debuts its other new animated movie, "LEGO Batman: DC Superheroes Unite
Come Sunday, DC Comics screens the light-hearted, junior Lego Batman movie, with Superman and Batman teaming up to stop Lex Luthor and the Joker, all in Lego form.
There’s much more, including a panel on how the law would deal with people turning into zombies. Oh yes. WonderCon runs Friday, March 29 through Sunday, March 31.