Comic-Con 2012 highlights and photos: The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, costumes galore

At Comic-Con International 2012, attendees were treated to The Hobbit footage, Game of Thrones announcements, the Firefly reunion, and more. See photos of fans in unusual and geeky costumes.

Ah, Comic-Con International; that favored summer destination for geeks. There is so much packed into those few days that even those lucky enough to go often miss a lot of great stuff. For those of us who dream of going but never seem to make it to San Diego, and for those who made it but still missed stuff, here is a review of some of this year's biggest highlights.

Somewhere along the Comic-Con timeline, Hollywood realized that geeks are audience gold. Ever since, Comic-Con has been chock-full of movie previews, announcements, and discussion panels. This year's favorites included events related to new The Hobbit movie, which is scheduled for release December 14, 2012, and HBO's Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

Geek favorite director Peter Jackson thrilled Comic-Con attendees with a 12-minute sneak peek of The Hobbit. It isn't difficult to drum up excitement over this prequel to the Lord of the Rings movie series, though Jackson has encountered some difficulty with the sneak peeks. The Hobbit will be released in a more immersive 48-frame per second format. This was met with some negativity when Jackson showed the preview at CinemaCon back in April. In an attempt to safeguard the high level of excitement surrounding the movie's release, the preview shown at Comic-Con was in a lower resolution. Jackson explained that he wanted the audience to enjoy it, and not focus on the resolution. His decision seems to have paid off, as Comic-Con attendees who saw the preview left ecstatic and excited over the new film.

As for Game of Thrones, the panel experienced some scheduling problems, and two thespians slated to appear were unable to attend. The audience was thrilled, however, when Rose Leslie (Ygritte) took Lena Headey's (Cersei) place at the table. The show's third and fourth seasons will be based on the third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, and rumors abound as to what characters will be included, which will be cut, and who will be given the honor of playing the new characters. Answers were forthcoming during and immediately following the Comic-Con panel, and the current new additions include:

The Game of Thrones panel closed with an important announcement: Season 3 will premiere on March 31, 2013. HBO also released limited edition Game of Thrones prints at Comic-Con, for those lucky enough to find booth #437.

In addition to the big moments, there were a great many random, special, or small and unexpected highlights at this year's Comic-Con. There was an unexpected Godzilla screening; the cast of Firefly had a much-anticipated reunion that was hosted by the Science Channel; Joss Whedon gave his economic philosophy in less than 30 seconds and in doing so, stated that America is turning into Tsarist Russia; the Iron Man panel sang happy birthday to an audience member; Robert Downey, Jr. surprised a group of kiddos dressed as Iron Man; and, of course, lots and lots of people showed up in full costumes.

Comic-Con 2012 photo galleries on TechRepublic

Embrace your inner nerd at Comic-Con Preview Night

Photo credit: CNET

Some of the best costumes at Comic-Con 2012

Photo credit: Sean Doorly via Flickr

Unusual costumes at Comic-Con 2012

Photo credit: PatLoika via Flickr

More Comic-Con 2012 news, videos, photos, and interviews

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If you went to Comic-Con 2012, we want to know what your favorite part was and we'd love to see a picture of your costume. If you didn't go, what would you wear to Comic-Con, and what or who would you want to see there if you could attend? Tell us in the comments.