While mum was the word at the Tomorrowland panel at New York Comic Con, a never-before-seen clip screened at the show shines a bit of light on Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof’s latest mystery box of a film.
Bird and Lindelof started off the panel discussing the film’s origin but quickly segued into the film’s first teaser trailer.
The project became Tomorrowland, which is about … well, Lindelof and Bird are reticent to say just about anything, keeping the film shrouded in as much mystery as possible to preserve what they call a “discovery” movie. To help not tell the crowd much, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, and Hugh Laurie came onstage.
The trio of actors were, again, limited in describing their characters, even remaining vague on who is good or bad. A brief teaser trailer shed light on how the wonders of Tomorrowland will be brought to the screen.
The trailer, as expected, reveals very little about what happens in the film, and even as actors Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy came on stage to discuss their characters almost no new information was revealed. A small tidbit about the origin of the pin glimpsed in the trailer slipped out, as Robertson mentioned it comes from Cassidy’s character Athena, but that was as far as they would go under the watchful eyes of Lindelof and Bird.
But the real treat of the panel was an appearance by George Clooney—who Laurie jokingly asserted is an alcoholic, shouting mess who’s really 75 years old. The actor, celebrating his honeymoon in strange style, brought along a clip of his character Frank Walker’s first encounter with Casey Newton (Robertson).
The extended clip starts with Casey sneaking onto Frank’s property, where she asks the recluse for help returning to wherever the pin took her. He rebuffs her advances, literally—his locked door emits a reverberating force that knocks Casey to the ground. She refuses to leave, however, and that’s where things start getting interesting.
Setting his tractor on fire, Casey fools Frank into leaving his house with a supped up fire extinguisher. It doesn’t just put out the fire, it encases the tractor in ice. Casey sneaks into his home, however, but with her comes trouble, as a distribuingly amicable robotic agent shows up looking for her. Frank locks down his house, but a small army follows the first agent, storming Frank’s house. Luckily, years of living as a shut-in gave him time to prep his defenses.
The house is outfitted with laser tripwires that shred the robots to pieces, magnetic walls to freeze the assailants in their place, and a portable teleportation device that proves useful in a particularly dangerous moment. To make their triumphant escape, Casey and Frank jump into his bathtub, which comes equipped with a reinforced steel cover that rockets through his roof just just in time to escape their final robotic pursuer.
The footage is gorgeous. Walker’s drab and old house is hilariously offset by a claustrophobic mishmash of miscellaneous technology and computer monitors. And every interesting piece of technology comes with its own distinct color swath to liven the sequence up—the teleportation portal is a strange blue-and-white shimmering circle, the hallway lasers are a crisscross of fierce red, green blasts pulsate from the assailants’ guns.
The scene played beautifully into the film’s blend of a more muted real world and a vibrant and fantastical land of tomorrow. Little was revealed about the plot that isn’t already known. But the fully edited scene showed tremendous promise for the final film.
Tomorrowland looks like a passion project for all involved, one meant to be as much about discovery as it is about hope. And after the initial teaser and the impressive extended sequence in Frank’s home, there’s plenty of reason for Disney fans to be filled with hope.