Fans oohed, aahed, screamed and at times cried on Saturday afternoon in San Diego Comic-Con's famed Hall H.
It wasn’t a swoon-worthy "Twilight" panel causing all the ruckus though.
The long-awaited "Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was one of several upcoming movies being teased with appearances by cast and crew. Hall H lived up to its reputation as a place where nerd dreams come true, if the reaction of the crowd – many of whom had been in line for hours – was any indication. Both Sir Ian McKellen and surprise guest Elijah Wood received standing ovations.
In the case of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, the fans’ reactions – and dogged faithfulness to the characters – often go back to their early years.
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Hobbit' since I was 5 or 6, when my dad read it to me," said Antonio Cazzato of Santa Cruz, California.
"I love 'The Hobbit,'" said comic book artist Holly Golightly. "I remember reading in our class. … It changed my life. Those books are the reason that I'm a comic book artist. To see a glimpse of something that might inspire me and give me a lift – I think 'The Hobbit' (film) is going to be one of them."
George R. R. Martin, author of the "Game of Thrones" book series, was similarly inspired by Tolkien.
"I'm a huge fan of Peter Jackson. I love the 'Lord of the Rings' movies," he said. "I love what I've seen of 'The Hobbit' so far, so I'm looking forward to that one enormously." FULL POST
Often inspired by a favorite science fiction or fantasy franchise, fan artists gain exposure for their work on social media sites like Deviantart, Tumblr and Etsy. One of the most popular franchises permeating fan art territory today is the imaginative world of Westeros in George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" book, now an HBO TV series that recently completed it's second season. (HBO is a Time Warner network, as is CNN.)
The result: artistic renderings, costumes, clothing accessories and even food concotions based on Westeros are all over the internet.
But what motivates fan artists to go beyond passive viewing to creating something new (one of the ultimate hallmarks of a hardcore fan)?
Erica Batton of Kansas City, Missouri, has drawn scenes for multiple fan favorite series. She says lots of fan art creators discovered a new-found artistic passion only after being inspired by their favorite shows or books.
Bratton – one of many artists who submitted their work to CNN iReport – pointed to the characters of "Game of Thrones" being "complex but believable" as one source of inspiration.
"The world of Westeros as portrayed in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books are so vast and immerse it is hard to not feel sucked in when reading them," said Veronica Casson from San Francisco, California.
The show lingers in her mind, she said, ultimately motivating her to create something new. FULL POST
The powers that be at Lucasfilm certainly have plenty of activities planned for May the 4th (as in "May the 4th be with you") this year, including e-cards, an online marathon of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (which airs on Cartoon Network, a Time Warner company like CNN) and big announcements about August's "Star Wars" Celebration VI.
But May the 4th began as a fan celebration of all things from a galaxy far, far away, so may we suggest another part of your observance of this big day, especially for the ladies (assuming you're not in Toronto for their massive event): Why not end the day with a "Star Wars" shoe party?
That's just what geek blogger Amy Ratcliffe recently did in her home in North Hollywood, California, (though she opened it up to comic book, "Game of Thrones" and "Doctor Who"-inspired shoes, as well).
Ratcliffe spoke to CNN Geek Out about how she pulled it off:
LeVar Burton is anything but ashamed to admit it.
“I fly my geek flag proudly. Absolutely," he told CNN Geek Out. "I’ve always been interested in gadgets and technology and I’ve always been a reader. Back in my day, if you were really into calculus and wore a pocket protector, that was the image. I never had a pocket protector, but some of my best friends did!"
The actor, 55, is best known for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (along with "Roots" and "Reading Rainbow") and will join the cast of the Calgary Expo this weekend to celebrate its 25th anniversary. But since then, he's continued to pop into the geek canon in animation, prime-time comedies and film – most recently, voicing the role of Doc Greene on the Hasbro Studios Saturday morning series, "Transformers Rescue Bots," on the Hub.
"I was aware of ['Transformers' following] but I was not a 'Transformers' aficionado," he confessed. "I knew it had a large fan base. My son is in his early 30s. When I told him I was doing a 'Transformers' spinoff, he was over the moon, because that was his thing. That was one of his favorite cartoons. It's cool to become part of another strong franchise. I love it."
Burton is getting back into voiceover work with "Transformers" and the recent animated film "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies," after doing more than 100 episodes of "Captain Planet and the Planeteers" in the 1990s.
Let's be upfront about it: Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch aren't scientists.
But the friends definitely have a love of the science of time travel, which they poured into their new book, "So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel."
Hornshaw and Hurwitch have seen way too many bad time travel movies and they have the same questions as other sci-fi fanboys and fangirls: "It’s hard to walk out of a time travel movie and not go, 'How do these things sync up?'" Hornshaw told CNN Geek Out.
"Phil and I are longtime geeks," Hurwitch said. "The atrocities of time travel plot devices began to stack up. We simultaneously came up with an original time travel show [still in 'drawing board phase'] and a guide book on how to do it properly."
Hornshaw said that their interest in theoretical physics and astronomy came from a lifelong interest in science fiction; the pair have been friends since third grade in Novi, Michigan.
"We read Michael Crichton’s 'Timeline' back in high school, and both of us were into the concepts from that book," he said. "What we wanted to do with the guide was to make it as simple as we could because it can get so expansive. We pay a lot of attention, but we don’t study up on anything more than what we’re interested in."
"In the book we’re more concerned with how science affects plot, as opposed to how it affects science," Hurwitch said.
Read more about their research and the best and worst moment in pop culture time travel after the jump: