Throughout its 40-plus year history, San Diego Comic-Con has become known for being the convention that can get guests that you just wouldn’t find at other conventions, whether its classic comic creators like Charles Schulz or massive movie directors like Steven Spielberg. This year, however, Comic-Con is going one better in the “unexpected guest” direction, by giving Metallica their own hour-long Friday afternoon panel. Yes, that Metallica.
Somewhat surreally, the entire band — James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo — will be on stage in Hall H at 6:30pm on the Friday of the show to promote their upcoming movie “Metallica Through the Never.” Alongside the movie’s director and writer Nimrod Antal and producer Charlotte Huggins, the band will introduce the world premiere of the movie’s theatrical trailer and poster, as well as screen never-before-seen footage from the 3D mix of the concert movie and traditional narrative.
(Sadly, the band aren’t the main characters in the narrative part of the movie; actor Dane DeHaan plays “Trip,” a roadie for the band who ends up in the middle of a “surreal adventure” as he tries to do his job. For those eager to see how Hetfield, Ulrich et al acquit themselves as actors, the band do make appearances as “themselves,” however.)
Comic-Con is hardly a stranger to appearances from rock musicians, although normally they end up at the show after their heyday as heavy metal masters. Gene Simmons, for example, has appeared at the show more than once to promote not only KISS-related merchandise, but also his own line of comic books. Similarly, Danzig’s Glenn Danzig has also shown up to promote his own comic book career.
This, though, feels like something new: a Comic-Con panel for a band still at the height of their commercial powers. Could this be the start of a new trend? Should we be expecting Kanye West to show up next year? Comic book fans already complain that the movie industry has co-opted “their” convention. Could the music industry be next?