Comic-Con 2013: 'Godzilla' Panel

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Legendary/Warner Bros.

After releasing a viral campaign teasing its Comic-Con 2013 appearance, the Gareth Edwards-directed 'Godzilla' stomped into the buzzing Hall H on Saturday, Jul. 20 for the Legendary Pictures panel.

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson ('Kick-Ass 2'), Bryan Cranston ('Breaking Bad') and Elizabeth Olsen, among others, the reboot was announced during last year's convention and has since kicked off production. So, after all the pre-Comic-Con buzz, what new surprises did Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures have in store for us?

A black-and-white beach scene streams on the screen, though it is quickly interrupted by a nuclear explosion, slowly revealing the Godzilla logo. Following that was a re-screening of the “mood” footage shown last year -- city-wide devastation and a sneak silhouette of the title beastie.

“We literally finished our last day of shooting two days ago,” said Edwards, who finished on the Hawaii set and jumped on the plane for San Diego. The Warner Bros. and Legendary crew said they hadn’t even seen anything like this before.

“I expected it to be very different, but it felt small, it felt creative,” said Olsen. “It felt like an independent, small production in a way.”

“I think what Gareth brings is an intimacy … a family,” said Johnson. “It happened to be a big-budget art film” with heart and emotion.

"Godzilla was always my favorite monster when I was young because he’s never apologetic,” said Cranston. “I wanna see destruction … but at first I didn’t know if this was the kind of project I wanted to do.” He goes on to say someone wanted him to play the Scarecrow in a stage version of 'The Wizard of Oz,' and it was this same ambivalence he felt in joining another large-scale project like ‘Godzilla.’ But it was Gareth’s ability to ground the film with smaller concepts that got him on board.

The crew filmed ‘Godzilla’ primarily in Canada, and every time the team went through US immigration, they would use “Nautilus” as the code name for the film -- except for Olsen, who felt nervous about lying to the government. One agent Googled Gareth, however, and figured out the real deal and said to him, “Don’t f--- it up!”

“This is a true Godzilla movie,” said Edwards. “You really have to view this as your passion project ... we tried to make a modern-day blockbuster that has heart.”

Then came the never-before-seen footage:

Those who nabbed their tickets for the Godzilla Encounter, an interactive exhibit inside the legacy for ‘Godzilla,‘ actually got to see the first look at the newly rebooted monster. Back when Frank Darabont described the beast as a “terrifying force of nature,” he wasn’t kidding. The latest rendition of Godzilla pays tribute to the original Toho movies with a rocky exterior, looking as though the creature is part rock and part reptile. Though, in the trailer revealed, we only get to see his iconic feet.

What’s more exciting, however, was the fact that Godzilla is not the only monster featured in the film. We got to see -- besides the various scenes of the human cast -- a Mothra-looking creature, more along the lines with the 'Pacific Rim' kaiju monsters, attacking humanity. And in steps the iconic beast to take care of things.

'Godzilla' will debut on May 16, 2014.

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