11 hot things you MUST see at Comic-Con in San Diego this month

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Comic-Con can be an overwhelming four days of multimedia spectacle, and unless you can clone yourself or you have access to time travel, there's no way to attend every cool event. That's where we can help.

The schedule's not even out yet, but we've already gotten wind of dozens of must-see happenings. For those of you corporeal beings traveling to San Diego July 22-26, here are SCI FI Wire's recommendations for 11 Comic-Con events not to miss. (The movies, panelists, days and times are all tentative; check Comic-Con's official Web site closer to the convention for the full schedule.)

1) James Cameron and Avatar. Director Cameron will reportedly return to Comic-Con for the first time since some dude handed him a VHS tape when he was promoting Steven Soderbergh's Solaris. This time he has footage of his upcoming 3-D sci-fi epic to show. So far, only a few folk have been privy to this hot property, and Comic-Con is rumored to be trying to equip the San Diego Convention Center's 6,500-seat Hall H with 3-D projectors to accommodate the footage.↓

James Cameron on the set of Avatar

2) Peter Jackson's first-ever appearance. This year marks the director/producer's first physical manifestation in San Diego. He's bringing District 9, the sci-fi allegory he produced and which is directed by Neill Blomkamp (it was teased last year with those cryptic signs saying "Humans only" all over the convention center). Something tells us Jackson will have to field a lot of fanboy questions about the Hobbit movies and maybe even The Lovely Bones.

3) Ninja Assassin. Of all the studios coming to Comic-Con, Warner Brothers will have the most varied and plentiful slate that appeals to the sci-fi fan (Jonah Hex, The Book of Eli, The Box), but the real movie to watch for is Ninja Assassin, the Wachowski brothers' and James McTeigue's martial-arts opus, which takes the well-worn genre and amps it up to a new level of bloody action.

↑ 4) ABC's Lost. Saturday is your last chance to ask executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse questions they won't answer about the final season of the maddeningly elliptical sci-fi series. They're also promising surprise guests. Could it be Maggie Grace, Ian Somerhalder, Dominic Monaghan?

5) V pilot screening. TV fans will face a Sophie's Choice among the new and returning genre shows on display, but the real one to camp out for is the pilot screening of V in Ballroom 20 on Saturday, a first look at ABC's re-imagining of the classic 1980s sci-fi series, featuring Firefly/Serenity's Morena Baccarin as Anna, the alien lizard queen; the show doesn't hit the airwaves until January.↓

6) Doctor Who, David Tennant, in person. In his first appearance, Tennant will co-host a panel with writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies to talk about four Doctor Who specials. (If you're a Torchwood fan, catch star John Barrowman and behind-the-scenes crew later that day in Room 6BCF, just two days after the last episode airs.)

7) Caprica/Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. There will be a panel for SCI FI's upcoming Caprica prequel series, and as well as a trailer for the upcoming prequel movie The Plan, the Edward James Olmos-directed story told from the Cylons' perspective, the first time you'll likely get a glimpse at the film, which doesn't have a firm release date yet.↓

From left: Ron Moore, David Eick, Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos of Battlestar Galactica

8) Tron. Disney will reportedly bring several films to the con, but the must-see event would be a 3-D screening of footage from the new Tron sequel/reboot. (Remember that sneak footage of a light-cycle race last year? That was simply demonstration footage, so you ain't seen nothing yet.)

9) True Blood. The fans will get more access to the cast of this HBO vampire series than the press will, so don't count on us to report any potential season-three scoops from behind the scenes. Season two will be halfway finished by then, so start taking notes now and have something really juicy prepared for your turn at the mic.↓

True Blood

10) Zack Snyder's live Watchmen commentary. If you loved Watchmen, you can view Snyder's full three-hour director's cut for the first time, with the director himself answering questions live at a San Diego theater. The event will also be made accessible remotely through BD Live. Stay up late on Saturday for the midnight screening, which could go until at least 4 a.m.

11) ABC's FlashForward. This highly anticipated fall series, from The Dark Knight writer David Goyer and Star Trek veteran Brannon Braga—the duo behind CBS' Threshold—won't screen at the con, but you'll get a first look at clips from it and get to query members of the all-star cast, which includes Joseph Fiennes, Star Trek's John Cho, Jack Davenport and Sonya Walger, as well as Goyer and show runner Marc Guggenheim.

Bonus item: At 4 p.m. on Friday in Ballroom 20 you can catch a screening of "Epitaph One," the bonus episode of Fox's Dollhouse that was produced for the upcoming DVD but never aired and doesn't fall within the present-day continuity of the show. It's set in the future and features an appearance by Felicia Day, a favorite of show runner Joss Whedon (she is one of the stars of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog).