Two of the more anticipated panels at this year’s WonderCon were the ones for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek and McG’s continuation of the “Terminator” saga with Terminator Salvation. The two movies have a lot more in common than the fact they are the return of popular and long-absent franchises opening in May that both happen to co-star soon-to-be 20-year-old actor Anton Yelchin in key roles. Both movies decided to take advantage of the WonderCon crowds to world premiere their new trailers, which will precede Zack Snyder’s Watchmen next Friday.
ComingSoon.net has had chances to see a lot of footage from both movies, which you can read about here and here, but the trailers shown at WonderCon will likely be the last theatrical trailers before the movies open in May. (Actually, there’s an opportunity for one more before X-Men Origins: Wolverine but who knows how much more the filmmakers and studio will want to show?)
(NOTE: We are giving a general spoiler warning for the footage description below, because it does reveal a few major plot points for both movies.)
As the Star Trek panel began, Abrams strode out on stage, grabbed a mic and began pacing back and forth across the stage, obviously excited to be there, though he also claimed that having come straight from the airport after a trip to Japan, he was still a bit up from the Ambien he took for the long trip.
The new trailer begins with the familiar scene of Chris Pine’s James Kirk riding a motorcycle through the desert environment of his hometown, briefly shows the bar fight that we saw during the roadshow footage, then cuts to Bruce Greenwood’s Captain Pike telling the young Kirk about how his father saved the lives of three hundred people on the ship–unlike the footage we saw earlier, the trailer shows a brief glimpse of the actual disaster which ultimately killed his father–and Pike challenges Kirk to do better, to “enlist and serve” and follow in his father’s footsteps. We then see Kirk as a private in his early years at the Starfleet Academy and one of his instructors is Zachary Quinto’s Spock telling the class, “You will experience fear.”
Throughout the trailer, we saw quite a few bits from the extended clip where Kirk and Sulu freefall towards a Romulan drilling platform hovering over Vulcan and get into a fight with two guards, but as we learned before, they’re not successful and in one impressive shot, we see the results of the Romulan bombs as we see an entire planet (presumably Vulcan) being disintegrated.
A title card appears that reads “Prepare” and Kirk says that he’s been waiting for this day his whole life, then Kirk as First Officer is told to take over for the captain, to which he says “Hell yeah” and we see Kirk taking a seat in that famous chair on the Enterprise bridge for the first time in what should be a very exciting moment for long-time Trek fans (The scene got a huge burst of applause from the audience.) The follow-up title card reads “ For the Beginning.” Throughout the trailer, we see a few bits with Eric Bana’s Romulan leader Nero, at one point telling someone, “James T. Kirk was a great man” and then ordering his Romulans to attack, and we see a lot of “prepare for battle” sequences on the Enterprise bridge.
One thing we didn’t really see in the Roadshow footage were actual scenes of the Enterprise and other ships in space, but there are much more outer space shots in the new trailer, as it ends with a brief shot of an enormous space battle with the Enterprise being attacked, presumably by Romulan ships.
After that fantastic trailer, J.J. Abrams introduced the panel, which included co-producers Bryan Burk and Roberto Orci, as well as actors Zoe Saldano, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine, who play Uhura, Spock and Kirkm respectively. They all talked about the research they did into playing the characters, what it was like working with J.J . the usual comic-con panel banter basically.
A couple of hours later, McG took a similar direction with his own panel for Terminator Salvation, kicking things off with the world premiere of the movie’s new trailer, which was actually very different from the footage shown at New York Comic-Con a few weeks back. McG also wanted to make sure that the film’s cast in attendance could see the new trailer for the first time, so he called out Anton Yelchin (who plays Kyle Reese), Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Connor), Common (Barnes) and Moon Bloodgood (Blair) who climbed off the stage to get a better view.
As with the previous teasers and trailers, this one is narrated by another Christian Bale voice-over that begins, “We’ve been fighting a long time, we are outnumbered by machines. Humans have a strength that cannot be measured. This is John Connor. If you’re listening to this, then you’re the Resistance.”
The opening bars of Nine Inch Nail’s “The Day the World Went Away” kicks in as the deliberately story-driven trailer unfolds and the narrative begins to explain Skynet’s masterplan to take human prisoners and use them to replicate human tissue.
The trailer then shows what might be the most interesting aspect, which was something we hadn’t seen in any previous footage, which addresses Marcus’ predicament about being a cyborg. We see a shot of the clearly half-cyborg Marcus, played by Sam Worthington, with Bryce Dallas Howard’s Kate Connor operating on him as Bale’s Connor looks on. He tells them his name is Marcus to which Connor responds, “You think you’re human.” “I am human,” Marcus counters.
As the trailer progresses, we see many shots from the footage we had seen earlier, brief glimpses of the Moto-terminators, the Harvester (both its claw crashing through the ceiling and a full-on shot), the Hydrobots, the Hunter-Killer, as well as the classic T1 robots throwing various people around, and a homage to the famous shot of half a Terminator crawling towards the camera. All of it was cut together fairly quickly, though it didn’t seem like there were many, if any, scenes of Kyle Reese in the new trailer, let alone Moon Bloodgood or Common for that matter. The music and footage continues to build to Connor screaming, “If we stay the course, we’re dead, we’re all dead!” followed by Marcus claiming, “I’m the only hope you have.” The clip ends with a recreation of that awesome flash teaser poster of the two explosions in downtown L.A. as the camera pans back for the cityscape to become the face of a classic Terminator robot. (In all honesty, it was a near-perfect trailer in letting people know the story and seeing a good deal of the robot action they’ll want to see.)
McG and the cast then talked a bit about the movie and their characters and he showed two of the unfinished clips that were a part of the roadshow back in January, the one of the gas station attack by the Harvester and of Connor and Marcus taking on the Hydrobots.
You can guarantee we’ll have a lot more about both these movies leading up to their releases in May. In the meantime, you can see photos from both panels in our Star Trek WonderCon Gallery and Terminator Salvation WonderCon Gallery.