By Piya Sinha-Roy
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Dystopian futuristic films stormed through the sunny skies of San Diego's Comic-Con on Thursday, as the cast and creators of "Ender's Game" and "Divergent" brought exclusive footage for fans to see.
Veteran actor Harrison Ford, revered by the Comic-Con audiences for his roles in science-fiction films such as "Star Wars," was raucously welcomed to the stage by the crowd of more than 6,000 people in the convention's coveted Hall H for a panel on "Ender's Game," out in theaters on November 1.
The film, based on a novel by Orson Scott Card, follows an exceptionally intelligent child, Ender, who is sent to train as a military specialist to organize the fight against future alien invasions. British newcomer Asa Butterfield plays Ender.
Ford, who plays Ender's mentor, Colonel Graff, said he saw many parallels between the issues explored in the film and the real world.
"This book, which was written 28 years ago, imagined a world that has become an everyday reality; the ability to wage war removed from the battlefield is one of the realities of our life with drone warfare," Ford said.
This year's convention has seen a flurry of dystopian young adult films, all hoping to gain a slice of the audience left behind after the vampire romance "Twilight" and boy wizard "Harry Potter" franchises concluded.
Last year's Lions Gate film "The Hunger Games," based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, ushered in a new audience for more serious and challenging young adult films. The sequel, "Catching Fire," will be featured at the convention on Saturday with main stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in attendance.
Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp., is also showcasing "The Mortal Instruments" on Friday, another film adapted from a futuristic novel.
One of the main attractions of Comic-Con, which is attended by nearly 125,000 people every year, is the opportunity for fans to see exclusive footage from films not yet seen by the public. Lions Gate Entertainment's unit Summit Entertainment, the studio behind "Ender's Game" and "Divergent," did not disappoint fans, showing teaser trailers to loud applause by the audience.
A special-effects-laden clip from "Ender's Game" showed Ender directing explosive large-scale warfare in space, while adults in the dystopian world marveled at his skills.
"Divergent," based on the first of a trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth, is set in a future society which is divided into five factions that define how a person lives their life. The Abnegation people are selfless, while the Erudite devote themselves to lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
The story follows one girl, Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, who is born into the Abnegation clan but stands up to society's division of its people when she finds herself feeling like an outcast among the selfless.
Fans were treated to exclusive footage from the film, which director Neil Burger said finished shooting two days ago, showing the moment Tris makes her break from the Abnegation to join the Dauntless tribe, known for being brave.
Woodley, 21, who gained critical praise for her role as a teenager in Oscar-winning family drama "The Descendants," said she was drawn to the character of Tris by her bravery and decision to stand up to the rules of her society.
"I never saw (Tris) as an action star, I saw her as a very normal young woman ... what I liked about Tris is that she rose to the situation," Woodley said.
Roth also teased the audience with information on her final book of the trilogy which she is finishing up, saying it would be written from two perspectives - Tris, and her mentor-love interest Four, played by British newcomer Theo James in the film.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)