The Cast of The Guild at Comic-Con 2009

It was an entrance typically reserved for A-list movie stars, but at Comic-Con in San Diego this morning Felicia Day and the cast of The Guild got the rock star treatment. Hundreds of fans lined up hours before the morning panel and screening of the hit web series’ third season, cramming into the double room to get a glimpse of the “four surprises” promised by The Guild camp, including the super-secret bonus video.

The panel did not disappoint. Kicking things off was producer Kim Evey who set the tone for the session, generously thanking the fans that, quite literally, made the show possible from its humble origins during its donation-supported Season 1. Then came the video.

A sexy, polished 3-minute music video featuring The Guild cast dressed as their World of Warcraft game characters, led by Day singing “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” The video was met with cheers and laughs form the audience as they watched their favorite characters dance it up like Stacey Q (who was apparently an inspiration for the video).

The cast strolled in to a standing ovation immediately afterwards, still dressed in their colorful avatar garb complete with some impressively crafted weapons. Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, Robin Thorsen, Jeff Lewis, Vincent Caso and Amy Okuda have become household names for this crowd. The team behind The Guild has learned how to make an event out of their appearances, and at a place like Comic-Con, the fans truly eat it up.

Guild in CostumeAs the panel got under way things were quickly opened up to a slurry of questions from starstruck fans. We learned that Dr. Horrible writer-composer Jed Whedon (brother of Joss) directed and co-wrote the music video. “Jed made the nerdiest people on the internet cool,” quipped Day, who wrote the first pass at the lyrics before handing over the finishing touches to Whedon.

The biggest news of the session came during the screening of the premiere of Season 3, which picks up where Season 2 left off, with the Knights of Good still dealing with some awkward inter-Guild relations as they eagerly await the new WoW expansion pack release. Then came actor and geek icon Wil Wheaton (Star Trek) who plays the leader of a new rival Guild, Axis of Anarchy. (Yes, the crowd broke out in cheers.)

The fourth big announcement was news from Dark Horse Comics, who put out web comics for Dr. Horrible and Buffy and are now creating a Guild comic written by Day. “There will be more from the characters in the game world,” said Scott Allie of Dark Horse. “It will be a great fantasy comic and a great real life comic,” he noted.

Director Sean Becker ran through the numbers on Season 3: 12 episodes, 13 locations, 14-hour shoot days, 15-day shoot and 103 script pages (down from a 125 page draft.) “We really did pull off the impossible,” said Becker.

Season 3 premieres August 25th across the Microsoft network – XBox, MSN and Zune. The music video will be released on XBox and the other sites within the next few weeks, according to sources at Microsoft.

(More photos coming soon – check back for updates. Also, for those at Comic-Con check our updated Web Series Guide to Comic-Con for more info.)  Photo courtesy of Brian Kameoka.