Entertainment

Magic lights up Warner Bros’ Comic-Con panel, superheroes reign

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SAN DIEGO: Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne brought the wizarding world of “Harry Potter” to real life briefly on Saturday, as he helped hand out wooden wands to the 6,500-plus audience at a Comic-Con panel and made everyone perform a spell.

Redmayne, the lead actor of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” asked the audience to shout the incantation for the light-up spell “Lumos Maxima” to unveil a new trailer. “Fantastic Beasts,” due out in November, is a spin-off from the magical “Harry Potter” universe created by J.K. Rowling.

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The movie’s cast remained tight-lipped about the plot and their characters, but the trailer shows “magizoologist” Newt Scamander (Redmayne) arrive in New York in 1926 with a case of magical creatures that escape, wreak havoc and face threats from the non-magical humans in the city.

Warner Bros showcased its upcoming blockbuster films at the annual four-day San Diego convention for film and pop culture fans, including “Kong: Skull Island,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Suicide Squad” and the rest of its expanding DC Comics superhero universe, following in the footsteps of Disney’s blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

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Ben Affleck, the latest actor to don Batman’s cape and cowl, said he felt “tremendous amount of pressure” both starring in and directing the next standalone Batman movie.

“It’s terrifying and inspiring and really exciting because it’s one of most iconic, fascinating characters ever created in American drama,” he said.

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The cast of 2017’s “Wonder Woman” discussed exploring the origins of the Amazonian warrior heroine played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, and bringing a strong female lead to the male-dominated superhero movie world. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman’s debut in comic books.

“Wonder Woman has the heart of a human and the strength of a goddess and combination of the two is very powerful,” Gadot said.

Batman and Wonder Woman will join forces in the “Justice League” film with Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Superman, who, it was revealed Saturday, had survived the events that appeared to kill him in “Batman V Superman” earlier this year.

Rivaling Affleck’s Batman at the panel was Lego Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, the star of next year’s animated “Lego Batman Movie,” a spin-off from 2014’s “The Lego Movie.”

Animators recreated the Comic-Con panel setup in a short sketch that included a Lego version of panel moderator Conan O’Brien asking Lego Batman, Lego Joker and Lego Robin about the new film, in which Batman tackles fatherhood.

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