Green Lantern Presentation Rules Opening Day of WonderCon
04.02.11 by BJSprecher
The 25th Annual WonderCon comic book and popular arts convention kicked off yesterday with a bang. Comic book and related genre enthusiasts swarmed the San Francisco Moscone Center to buy comic books, original art, toys and hard-to-find anime DVD's, to gawk at and take pictures of the über-fans who turned out in their homemade "cosplay" costumes, and to catch seminars and panel discussions about everything from "Breaking into Comics" and "Figure Drawing for Popular Media" to studio-sponsored presentations that revealed exclusive footage of upcoming TV shows and movies. By far, the highlight of Friday's events was the incredible Warner Bros. (WB) panel presentation for director Martin Campbell's Green Lantern adaptation.
It was clear that Green Lantern was going to rule the day when, hours before the presentation, the traffic on the floor of the convention center screeched to a halt as hundreds of people mobbed the DC booth to try to get a glimpse of Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively as they signed autographs for a select few. Fast-forward several hours and the line to get into the Esplanade Ballroom to see the WB panel was like nothing ever seen before at WonderCon. Several hundred people in length, and wrapping half-way around the building, the line was very reminiscent of the kind of attention that studio panels generate at WonderCon's big brother, the San Diego Comic-Con, which has become as much about movies as about the comic books that inspired it in the first place.
WB gave no indication of what would be shown at WonderCon, but most fans hoped to see new footage of Green Lantern (Reynolds) in action and of the Green Lantern Corps' homeworld, Oa. Those in attendance were not disapointed. After a brief introduction by Green Lantern comic book writer and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, the room darkened and a lengthy montage of new footage from the movie was shown. Here's a summary of what was shown:
The scene opens with an exterior pan of an enormous alien spacecraft. Inside, alien Green Lantern Abin Sur [Temuera Morrison ("Jango Fett" in the Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones)] speaks with fellow Green Lantern Sinestro (Mark Strong) via hologram, relating that the planet he has been sent to evacuate has been utterly devestated. Just then, Abin Sur is attacked by the immense energy creature known as Parallax. A brief battle ensues in which Abin Sur tries to defend himself using his ring, but the creature is too powerful and delivers a mortal wound, forcing Sur to abandon the ship in an escape pod and head to the nearest inhabited planet in his sector...Earth.
Test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds) comes across the crashed escape pod and hesitates at first, but then rushes over to the craft when he realizes that there is a living being inside of it. Unjarred by the sight of the purple-hued Lantern, Hal tries to calm him down until he can get him some help. Abin Sur gives Hal his power ring and tells him that he has been chosen. He instructs Hal to wear the ring in front of the lantern and to speak "the oath" and then dies before telling Hal what the oath is.
We cut to Jordan's apartment and the drama of the preceding scene gives way to a light-hearted moment where Hal tries to guess what the oath might be, spilling out a garbled pseudo-Pledge of Allegiance in front of the lantern. Even though he's not even close, the lantern comes to life as Hal finishes his made-up oath and suddenly Hal speaks the classic Green Lantern oath: "In brightest day, in blackest night..." After he completes the oath, Hal is skyrocketed into space in a flash of green light energy, past astronauts performing a spacewalk, to the distant plant Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corps.
On Oa, Hal's costume materializes around him for the first time and he is greeted by the "fish man" Lantern, Tomar-Re (Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush, who only days ago was announced as the voice of the character), who welcomes him to the Corps and then takes him to an assemblage of Corps members. Sinestro descends to address the Corps and announce the death of Abin Sur and all eyes (and assorted visual organs) of the assembled alien Lanterns turn towards Hal. Comic book fans could—and probably will—spend hours just analyzing these few seconds of footage to try to identify all of the crazy Lanterns from the comic books that have been brought to life as CGI characters in this scene. Sinestro warns the Corps that Parallax is coming.
We also get to see more footage of Lively as Carol Ferris and Peter Sarsgaard (who was supposed to be at the panel and the roundtables after the panel, but was apparently home sick) as the hideously mutated Hector Hammond, and an action-packed snippet of footage showing Hal using his ring to create machine guns that rain green hellfire down on his unseen opponent (presumably Parallax).
Following the footage, Johns welcomed Reynolds and Lively to the stage for a round of questions from the audience. There was a lot of fun, lively (pun intended) banter between Reynolds and his on-screen love interest, but there were no real revelations here, other than the fact that Johns confirmed that a Justice League movie is "in development" at WB and that the new Green Lantern trailer would debut attached to Thor. The highlight of the Q&A with the stars was Reynolds leading the enthusiastic audience in a recitation of the Green Lantern oath.
The already "jazzed" crowd got even more fired up when they filed out (except those who stayed for the screening of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights that followed the panel) to find WB representatives at the doors passing out WB-logo paper tote bags containing a Green Lantern t-shirt and lanyard. Based on the conversations heard in the hallway outside and even on the street surrounding the convention center, the Green Lantern presntation went a long way toward changing the minds of fans who were on the fence about the footage and effects seen in the first Green Lantern trailer.