WonderCon 2017 took place at the Anaheim Convention Center March 31-April 2! In Part 4 of our Saturday Report, Josh talks about the Warner Bros. Pictures panel, which featured the films Annabelle: Creation and Wonder Woman.
It was about 3:30pm by the time we made it to our seats, and an advance screening of a Riverdale episode was already playing. We were able to save a seat for @cyberaug (John), who came and joined us while we waited. The Riverdale episode finished up around 4:00pm, and there was an extended break until the Warner Bros. panel, which was scheduled to begin at 4:30pm.
The Arena was pretty packed when we got there, and only filled up more when the Warner Bros. panel began.
Tiffany Smith was the moderator, and the first film she talked about was Annabelle: Creation, a spinoff of The Conjuring movies. On the panel was the director of the film, David F. Sandberg.
As for the panel, Tiffany Smith talked to David F. Sandberg about a number of things, including working with James Wan, who directed The Conjuring films. Sandberg described James Wan’s style as being able to extend a scare over a period of time, which is what he wanted to do for this movie as well. Sandberg also talked about the making of his short film Lights Out which James Wan liked enough to help produce the full length movie that came out in 2016, also titled Lights Out.
Sandberg also spoke a bit about this movie, describing it as a prequel, where apparently viewers will see how the doll was first made, and its story takes place in an orphanage, where one girl seems to discover the doll. Interestingly, Sandberg talks about how it was a conscious decision to not have the doll be seen moving like a “Chuckie” doll, so any time the doll moves, it is either underneath something, or is just plain not seen.
We saw a couple of clips from the movie as well. One clip, had the young orphan girl playing with a dollhouse, that seemed to be the same layout as the house they were living in. She finds a door which opens, and a key comes out. Of course the room is very dark and creepy as it is, but this girl picks up the key, and tries it in the lock that she found in the room. The girl unlocks the door, opens it, and the girl can see the creepy Annabelle doll sitting there with her grin on her face.
The girl decides that it is probably best to close the door, and does so, and walks away. Well, Annabelle doesn’t like this, and winds up opening the door — but maintains her same spot on the chair. So the girl goes back, closes the door, and this time turns the key. She walks away again–and the door opens again. Getting a little creeped out now, she grabs a sheet, tosses on Annabelle, and closes the door again. Well, this time the door opens, and the camera cuts away to the girl looking outside. We have seen that the sheet is moving, and then it appears right next to the girl, and then the sheet falls, revealing nothing underneath it. It was a pretty creepy scene, that is for sure.
Sandberg talked a little bit more about the movie and between him and the trailer, of which we got to see the premiere, a bit more about the story is learned. Apparently a girl named Annabelle, whose parents are those who run the orphanage, was killed by being hit by a car. Her spirit seemed to stick around though, and the girl somehow asked to be put into a doll, and that seems to be the “birth” of creepy-doll Annabelle.
Sandberg also talked a bit about working with the young star of the film, Talitha Bateman, who he has high praise for working with. He also remarked how it seems like young girls are better at handling the scariness of horror movies than boys, as girls seem much more excited about these types of film. Another thing that seemed to come up was that Talitha’s brother, Gabriel Bateman, was in Sandberg’s film Lights Out.
While I myself am not a big horror fan, it seems as though David Sandberg really enjoys the genre. When asked by Tiffany if he thought he would get tired of the horror genre, and he said probably not. Tiffany also asks him his favorite part of making horror movies and he talks about the giggling and screaming reactions that come after a big scare. They seem to make it pay off for him.
Hopefully those who enjoy horror movies will have a good time with Annabelle: Creation.
After the Annabelle: Creation panel, Tiffany Smith introduced the Justice League trailer for the room to watch. While it was the same trailer we saw already drop online a few days ago, it was fun watching it on the big screen. Unfortunately, that was all that was really said about Justice League, and the panel rolled into Wonder Woman.
Tiffany Smith then handed over hosting duties to Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer at Warner Bros., who also is an Executive Producer for Wonder Woman, and on the panel for Wonder Woman was director Patty Jenkins.
Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins talked about making aspects of making the film. Geoff Johns complimented Patty Jenkins quite a bit for her dedication to Wonder Woman, and Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins thanked the producers for the movie.
Geoff Johns then discussed with Patty why the movie should start with a origin story. Patty Jenkins explained that superheroes should have their moment in the spotlight. Patty Jenkins also talked about how she felt she was Superman when the original Richard Donner film came out. She also explained that her favorite superhero is Wonder Woman, and that she felt it was very important to tell her origin story.
Geoff Johns talked about the three H’s DC has for their characters: Heart, Humor and Heroics. He then talked about the training that Diana would go through as a character in the film, and Patty explained that for Diana to be a hero she should know how to fight. Geoff Johns agreed, arguing that Wonder Woman is the best fighter in the DC Universe.
Geoff Johns also talked about the iconic pose that Wonder Woman has (her crossing her wrists), and he expects that to only grow more popular with this movie coming out.
Patty then spoke about the history of Diana’s people, which was a group of Amazonians that broke free from the men’s tyranny. Patty talked about how Diana is trying to become a great warrior like her predecessors, but she also has to walk the line of the two factions that seem to divide the Amazonians.
Patty talked about who Diana is, regarding her compassion, with how she wants to try to help man as much as possible, but if required she will use force. Johns interjected that the DC Universe strives to do this with all of its characters.
Patty then raised a good point as to why the superhero genre is probably here to stay — it seems to be a new way to express stories about life, just like many other historical periods have had their myths and legends portrayed in theater and literature.
As for footage, there are a couple good pieces of film we get to see from the movie. The first one is an extended look at the scene we see in the trailer for the film, where Diana blocks a bullet, saving Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine). In the scene, we see a bunch of gangster looking thugs surround Steve and Diana, and Diana winds up blocking dozens of bullets with her gauntlets, and Steve is pretty impressed with her abilities.
Patty Jenkins talked about Steve Trevor’s relationship with Diana. She described Trevor as an “Indiana Jones” like character, that is a bit pessimistic, while Diana remains the hopeful optimist that figures everything can get done with enough effort. Patty talked about how Steve basically starts to come around to her type of thinking over the course of the film’s story. Additionally, both Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins gushed about how good of a job Chris Pine did acting in this film, expressing exactly what they wanted in the film.
In another piece of footage, we get to see Diana on the battlefield of World War I, where she inadvertently jumps into a room full of what I presume is Germans, and winds up having take them down, and does so quite efficiently, and flashy at the same time.
That about wrapped up the panel though, and Tiffany Smith came out and wrapped things up after taking a few audience questions.
The panel seemed to be cut a bit short, as there was a good 20 minutes left of the scheduled panel. I certainly became more excited for Wonder Woman after this panel, but I had hoped for some other movies to be talked about as well. I am curious if there was a panel that wound up being cancelled, or what exactly happened to cause the panel to be a bit shorter than expected.
Our End of Day Wrap-Up For Saturday
After the panel, the four of us decided to get some food at the food trucks before Violet and I took off. We chit-chatted a little bit outside and did some people watching of some of the great cosplay that was going on outside the convention center. We saw another example of awesome Overwatch cosplay, this time with a girl cosplaying as D.va.
Violet and I walked back to the car and thankfully, it went much better this time in terms of getting out of the parking lot and we made our way back home with relative ease.
Only one more day of WonderCon remained! Click here for our Sunday Report, featuring more of the Exhibit Hall, plus the Collider Movie Trivia Schmoedown!
Check out more photos from the Warner Bros. Pictures panel below!