It's Time For Comic-Con!

The annual pop culture convention underway in San Diego is not just for comic books — it brings the biggest stars from film, television and books together with their fans to talk about upcoming, and vintage, work.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Stars from across the galaxy are illuminating the massive Convention Center in San Diego, California this weekend. That's because it's time for Comic-Con, the annual pop-culture convention that draws over 130,000 fans - many in elaborate costumes. Entertainment companies use the event to market and announce big projects - movies, TV shows, toys and even some comics. NPR's Nina Gregory is there. Good morning.

NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Well, let's start with the movies. The film studios will often show extended trailers and sneak peaks of their upcoming movies. What are all the fans buzzing about this year at Comic-Con?

GREGORY: That's right, Renee. The movie studios do love to show off projects that are coming up months and sometimes even years from now. Sony had its big presentation already and showed some clips from "Goosebumps," the movie based on the kid's horror books by R.L. Stine. It comes out in 2015 and stars Jack Black, and it went over quite well.

There's also anticipation for Warner Brothers presentation tomorrow. They're expected to show something from "Mad Max: Fury Road" which stars Tom Hardy as Max. That also comes out next year. And the director of the original "Mad Max" movies, George Miller, will also direct this one.

And of course, Marvel is always a crowd pleaser here at Comic-Con, and they're expected to show something from "The Avengers 2." But I think one movie that everybody would love to see something from that won't be shown here is also worth mentioning, and that's "Star Wars Episode 7." That's being directed by JJ Abrams. It doesn't look like they're going to show anything from that. And despite all of the kind of fan adoration for these films and whatever buzz the studios might be able to generate, movies actually seem to be taking a backseat to TV this year.

MONTAGNE: Not actually surprising - I mean TV is coming up with such dynamite fare these days. So what's big there? I'm going to imagine "Game Of Thrones" is a crowd pleaser?

GREGORY: Certainly. And George R. R. Martin, who wrote the books the HBO show is based on, is here. He's doing book panels and signings. He's very much a man of the people. He walks around and talks and hangs out and shakes hands. But if you walk outside the Convention Center, many of the buildings around downtown San Diego are, like, wrapped up in banners promoting TV shows. There's just a ton of advertising, flyers, signage. And I have to say, they're actually getting quite creative in how they're promoting shows with all this competition for attention. You really have to stand out to get people's attention here.

MONTAGNE: So Nina, let's go back inside. And talk to us about what draws so many people to this multi-day event. I mean, I know one panel that was pretty heavily promoted was put on by NASA.

GREGORY: Right, Renee. And this panel went over really well. I spoke to a few people who were waiting in line to get in. It was filled to capacity and there were still people who were hoping they could squeeze in. Here's one person, Gary Hayward, who really wanted to get in there.

GARY HAYWARD: It's science - science and space. This is real, like, it's something that we can actually do. We can actually go to space and not just read about it.

GREGORY: And then a few people in line down from him - and this is such a great Comic-Con moment - was Stephanie Bock.

STEPHANIE BOCK: I'm a Mars One astronaut candidate, and so I was here to ask him questions about his thoughts on an international mission to go to Mars.

GREGORY: And this is one of those great Comic-Con moments where people's real interest in science fiction got to meet real science.

MONTAGNE: Nina, thanks very much.

GREGORY: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Nina Gregory talking to us from Comic-Con in San Diego.

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