The Wildstorm-led panel was attended by fans who clapped enthusiastically as Vice President and General Manager of Wildstorm introduced artist and co-creator of “RED,” Cully Hamner, Senior Vice President for Creative Affairs at Wildstorm, Gregory Noveck, writers of the “RED” film adaptation and brothers, John and Erich Hoeber and editor and writer of the “RED: Joe Special,” Doug Wagner.
The panel began with the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of “RED” starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker and John Malkovich. The action packed trailer showed the “Retired, Extremely Dangerous” characters reuniting after years apart to get revenge on the government who betrayed them, with the highlight of the trailer being a hilarious standoff between John Malkovich’s character holding a revolver and a red headed woman with a bazooka on her shoulder. The scene epitomizes the tone of the movie; funny with lots of explosions and gunfire.
Cully Hamner then took a moment to voice his reaction to the movie saying, “It’s nuts…and really gratifying. We [Cully and writer Warren Ellis] didn’t do the comic with the intent to make a movie. It’s thanks to you guys, the fans.”
Gregory Noveck elaborated on Hamner’s statement saying, “This was the first comic when I started at DC that I thought would be a great film. I pitched it to everyone. ”
John Hoeber said, “We loved the ‘Old versus New’ theme and loved the idea that there’s a character who, if he was just left alone, he would go off and die, alone, but they mess with him and give him a reason to live.”
Discussing Helen Mirren’s character, who was created specifically for the movie. The writing brothers just thought Mirren with a sniper rifle would be cool and wrote the character with her in mind. “Never thought she’d go for it,” Erich said.
Hamner told the crowd that he is writing and drawing a prequel for Wildstorm titled “RED: Eyes Only,” which will explain why Paul Moses retired in the first place. The writer and artist made sure to distinguish that the one-shot is a prequel to the comic book and not the film.
With that said, there will also be a series of one-shot prequels based on the movie franchise and characters. “We outlined them, then paired them off [to writers and artists],” Erich shared.
“RED: Joe Special #1” will be written by Doug Wagner and takes place in the Cold War.
“RED: Marvin Special #1” will be written by Erich Hoeber. It will explore the past of the paranoid and delusional John Malkovich character. “Shit happens, shit blows up, it’s fun.”
“RED: Victoria Special #1,” written by John Hoeber, will feature Mirren’s character as a 30 year old and is “a love story that goes horribly wrong.”
“RED: Frank Special #1,” written by Gregory Noveck, portrays Bruce Willis’ character (Paul in the comic) at his prime on assignment in Egypt. “You find out why he has survived so long and the reasons why he’s retired at the start of the film.”
One issue will be released a week, leading up to the premiere of the movie.
Cully Hamner said he had a lot of fun reading the scripts and that he couldn’t help chuckling at his friend Doug Wagner’s script, because he kept hearing Morgan Freeman’s voice narrating the story a la “Shawshank Redemption.”
It was revealed by the panelists that they gave Mary Louise Parker’s handler character a larger part in the film because she helps to humanize the character of Frank. She doesn’t take part in much of the action, but she is along for the ride.