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Comic Con Movies: J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon panel

A little while into the panel, the crowd went wild as Whedon “confirmed” his involvement with and plans to direct The Avengers. However, he jokingly said it was “just a gig.”

As far as actual news, one of the hot topics of course was Super 8, Abrams’ upcoming project with Steven Spielberg. When he was asked about working with one of his icons, he said, “It’s sort of a dream come true, honestly.” However, he can’t really talk too much about the project since it’s so early in development. It will begin shooting in September. So all of the amazing footage in the trailer? None of that was even from the movie. Abrams also confirmed that the film will not be in 3-D to very positive audience reaction.

Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which starred Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion, received a hugely enthusiastic reaction from the audience when it was mentioned. When asked about a potential sequel, there was no official “yes” or “no” answer, but he said that he knows “what the movie is,” indicating that there is likely a defined story/plot. He also said that confirmed project Wastelander will be pushed back because of “Avengers.”

When asked about reconciling the established tone and backstory of The Avengers and his own personal style, Whedon said he “will bring some of himself to it … create something that comes from within… will be respectful of that [established tone].” He also stated that he loves “how completely counterintuitive it is… [it’s] the definition of family.”

The rest of the panel was less about updates and more about inspirations, their previous work, and thoughts on the industry at large. One of Abrams’ first jobs was working at a comic book store in Los Angeles. He said that, “when [he] was a kid, [he] would send fan letters to people I love… they were usually the make-up people.” He received the tongue prop from The Exorcist upon writing a fan letter to the make-up artist from the film.

It is obvious that both Abrams and Whedon have a passion for telling stories, so it seemed like fair game to ask them about what made them want to pursue this career. Abrams said that he loved being “the idiot who loved to do magic tricks for my relatives… it was sort of that feeling of creating an illusion…” Whedon stated that he “always wanted to be a storyteller… I just knew I couldn’t make an honest living cause that sounded hard. I didn’t study writing.”

In similar tone to the subject of storytelling, the two visionaries were asked about who has inspired them. One of Abrams’ current inspirations is Edgar Wright, who directed the upcoming action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. He said that he had seen the film and loved it. Whedon stated that he “must be awesome” because of his involvement with “Avengers.” He also noted that he has “actual moments of sheer f***ing panic [over J.J. Abrams] because I love Star Trek so much.” He claimed that it was the “gold standard” for summer blockbusters.

The subject of 3-D came up, and there were some interesting things said. Whedon loves the technology of 3-D filmmaking but notes that 3-D is not for every film. He actually satires the 3-D phenomenon, saying that a film in 2-D can be marketed for not being in 3-D. He also stated that he doesn’t believe it to be a fad.

Although the most exciting happening at the panel was probably Whedon’s "Avengers" confirmation, it was still quite fascinating to watch two media maestros discuss their beginnings in the industry and their craft.


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