Full Prince Caspian Report from Comic-Con – Part 1

2007 San Diego Comic-Con Report – Part 1

by Gymfan15

Over the last two days I’ve had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International, and today I was able to attend the Disney panel, featuring Prince Caspian! It was one of the biggest thrills of my life, and I have SO much to tell you all. This report is probably going to be really long and drawn-out, so get comfy.

But, where to begin … there’s so much to tell. Well, I might as well start AT the beginning. Yesterday I prowled around the massive Exhibit Hall with my new NarniaWeb friends, Julie (Narniajewel from NarniaFans.com) and Kristi (who runs The Lion’s Call). There wasn’t too much of a Narnia presence except for a large PC display containing a TV screen that played a constant loop of the first Narnia.com video blog and the video game trailer. They also handed out some pretty spiffy Narnian tote bags, but besides that, there wasn’t anything really there. I would have minded the lack of Narnia a lot more if I hadn’t know there was going to be an amazing panel the next day!

So, the BIG day came. Saturday dawned bright and early and I sat in Hall H ALL morning just to ensure my seat for the Disney panel in the afternoon. Since no one wants to hear about that, I’ll just skip all that and go straight to the stuff you really want to hear. So, the place was PACKED, the time for the panel came, they did their usual introduction thing and then Richard Taylor came out, bearing two swords. Now, I couldn’t get a very good look at them because at that moment I was on my way to the Q&A line, and from what I could tell, they looked like Lord of the Rings swords to me. But, I am told on good authority by Julie (who had a clearer view than I) that they were NOT LotR swords, but were in fact probably Prince Caspian swords. I can’t know for sure, and either way, they were only seen for a few seconds.

Next to come in was Mark Johnson, followed by Howard Berger, Dean Wright and Isis Mussenden. They then switched to a satellite feed where we could see Andrew Adamson, who was still filming in Prague and couldn’t make it down. Unfortunately there were a few technical difficulties at first and for a while we could see Andrew and see him talking and he could hear us, but we couldn’t hear him. This was cause for some mirth among all parties involved; at one point he pretended to do sign language, which was pretty funny. Thankfully they got the problem fixed only a minute later, and all proceeded as planned. Of course, there was the inevitable two-second delay that made for some pretty amusing moments throughout the show.

So, first there was the usual introductions and whatnot … apparently all the crew that were there today flew down yesterday, I think? And were flying back either tonight or tomorrow, since there were still about 3 1/2 weeks of filming left to do. They were joking about how they all left and deserted Andrew down in Prague by himself … Andrew exclaimed, “Come back, all is forgiven!”

They showed two videos from the film, the first being a pre-vis animatic, which is a sort of rough animation that filmmakers use to figure out exactly what they want to do long before they start filming. The second was a sort of mesh between LWW clips, PC crew interviews, PC concept art and … PC CLIPS! It had the sort of a feel that a Narnia.com blog would have and I have a feeling y’all might be seeing that sometime in the far future.

First shown was the pre-vis. The scene shown was from the Narnians’ midnight raid on the Telmarine castle; an addition to the movie from the book. I’m going to try and write down all that I remember, but please be aware that I only saw it once and my brain can only process so much information at time. Also, this was a pre-vis video, so just because we saw it there doesn’t mean it will be exactly like that in the movie.

It started out with a pretty cool aerial shot of the Telmarine castle (and yes, it did look to me as if water were at least partially surrounding it), with a Griffin (or Gryphon … eh, I’ll go with what’s easier to spell) flying into view. Here’s the interesting part … the Griffin was carrying Edmund in his talons! Looked as if he just picked him up by his shoulders and set off. It was definitely … unique … I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never seen anything like that before, so it was pretty interesting to see!

It’s kind of hard to write down exactly what I saw so I’ll try to summarize.

– After the Griffin set him down on one of the high towers, Edmund took out one of the guards and then (get this) used his flashlight to signal the rest of the Narnians. (Sorry, huge geek moment.) Looked like Edmund was using Morse Code to signal with his torch.
– The group of Narnians that arrived after the start of the clip included Caspian, Peter, and Susan for sure, and I’m 95% sure that Lucy was there as well. There was also at least one dwarf and perhaps others as well.
– Three mice were shown sneaking into the castle and doing some stealth fighting of their own, part of which involved a cat. Two of the mice were colored brown and one was colored white, and the white one seemed (to me) to be the leader. I dunno … maybe Reepicheep is going to have white fur after all? That was all we saw of any mice … none were shown in the second video.
– There was one short shot of a tied-up dwarf, which makes me think that this whole raid is partially to surprise the Telmarines and partially to rescue said dwarf. Based on what we saw in the second video, we think the dwarf shown was Trumpkin.
– Susan and Lucy were included in the raiding party, and one of them (I think Susan) took out a guard with her bow and arrows.
– There was a gag shot in the pre-vis that Andrew threw in just for fun; it was a spoof on the Legolas/Gimli/beard-grab moment in LotR. A Narnian dwarf nearly trips backwards over a high wall and to keep him from falling and alerting the Telmarine sentries, Susan grabs him by his beard and pulls him back. This bit was JUST a gag and will NOT be in the movie; Andrew said so himself.

The video cut out before too much action got started, but what I saw looked really, really cool.

Next up was the “blog-ish” montage that actually contained real Prince Caspian clips. This was a SUPER amazing thing to see and it went by so fast; I’ll try to put down everything I remember.

– A panning shot of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy at the ruins of Cair Paravel. They looked to be standing in the area where the thrones used to be. Peter and Edmund were wearing white long-sleeved shirts with royal blue vests (looked knitted but I’m not sure), and the girls had red school jackets on. It was mostly a waist-up shot so I didn’t really see what the full costumes looked like.
– A shot of the Pevensies in a boat with Trumpkin (I think … lol, so much is hazy!). They seemed to be traveling inland as there was a waterfall in the background. Georgie looked so grown-up I hardly recognized her. I think they were wearing their Narnian clothes (as opposed to school clothes) but I don’t know for sure.
– The Pevensies running along a beach … I think they had the aforementioned boat with them, and they were wearing their school clothes.
– Various shots of the fighting in the castle raid, although this was in daylight. I saw Peter fighting, some various Narnians fighting; lots of Telmarines.
– Lots of shots of the Telmarines in their glittering armor and those weird masks. There was one of what looked to be a horse charge, and one close up shot of a Telmarine; I’m assuming it was Miraz. Unfortunately he was wearing one of those aforementioned masks so I couldn’t see his face!
– A shot of a hand picking up a dirty Aslan coin or other circular metal disk out of the dust.
– A shot of the Telmarines crossing the Bridge of Beruna.
– A shot of Peter looking at something in the treasure chamber, and then looking up … may have been connected to the above scene; I’m not sure.
– A shot of the Pevensies in some sort of throne room; it may have been Caspian’s coronation or it may have been Miraz’s castle. I got a good shot of the dress Susan was wearing; it was like her green dress in LWW in that it was long sleeved and full, but the style and color was different. This one had a definite waist and was a very pretty color of purple. Lucy was wearing a red dress with gray accents; possible the one we saw in those New Zealand photos from so long ago?
– A shot of a dwarf tied up in a room of some sort … it was a great, clear shot, but I couldn’t quite register which particular dwarf this was. However, after talking it over, thinking about it and based on the pre-vis clip we saw before, we’re 99.9% sure it’s Trumpkin. He looked AWESOME, by the way.
– Well, what I DIDN’T see was shots of Caspian … not sure why. Maybe he was there and I mistook him for someone else; that is very unlikely though. Anyway, before the video showed, Adamson said that he didn’t want to show us a bunch of clips with guys running around in green screen pants, so everything we saw was completely CGI free. They may have had a few digital touches, but there were no CGI characters or animatronic creatures shown.
– Peter and Edmund’s hair was back to their LWW length, and maybe it was just me but Peter’s hair was very brown … in LWW, it was brown with a lot of blond highlights, I think.
– Edmund was at Peter’s height, maybe even taller. MAN, that kid has grown!
– And last but not least … hehe. (Sorry, I get a fiendish delight thinking about reporting this one). This is going to make most of you mad, sad, glad, whatever … guys … prepare for Eowyn #2. Yep, I’m afraid our Susan was kicking some serious tail today. Fighting with a sword; with at least one, maybe two soldiers. Sorry, purists, but it happened. I personally liked what I saw… I mean, okay, Susan fighting like a guy was a shock, but it WAS a cool shot. She was also wearing some armor during this particular clip … I couldn’t see exactly what it was but I could see some chain-mail.

So, of course, we’re all pretty much filled up and running over by now! Two awesome Prince Caspian videos in a row … wow. It was AMAZING. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but Julie, Kristi and I were all in line for the Q&A (we were the first three there) so we got to see everything on the big screen up close. It was SO cool; I can’t even begin to describe it. I was just jumping all around; I was SO tickled.

Anyway, so what with the videos being done, Andrew announced that there was a special guest with him, and that guest was none other than Ben Barnes! It was kind of funny, actually … he did his whole “reveal” thing, and we started clapping but nothing changed on the screen … finally he had to tell the camera guy to zoom out so we could see Ben sitting next to him.

It was a really nice surprise to see Ben there; really nice to see him and just kind of see what he’s like, since all I know of him is a few photos I’ve seen. He didn’t really talk much the time he was there, although he did say a few things about filming and how you really had to use your imagination since Reepicheep to him was just an orange ball on a wire!

So, after they got all settled in they started the Q&A session. Kristi was first and she asked if they were planning on making all seven books into movies. Andrew replied that while he wouldn’t be directing anymore, he couldn’t see himself not being involved in some way and Mark Johnson said that they want to make as many movies as they can; one a year, maybe! Julie asked which was the most challenging creature to work with this time around, and they all said Reepicheep and Aslan. I don’t remember all of what they said because I was standing right behind her and it is so unnerving to be on six huge screens in front of over 6,500 people. 😉 Anyway, I got to ask Andrew if he had any particular funny or unique memories from this time around. He laughed and said I was asking for “anecdotes before the filming was even done” but he said that just working with the whole “international family” was quite memorable … he remembered one instance when he was meeting greeting the actors who that were playing various Telmarine Lords, and one was Czech, one was Kiwi, one was Italian, one was Spanish, etc. etc … and he had to pretty much use a different language for each one!

Read Part 2 here.