News has been released that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will make his first ever appearance at Comic-Con International this year, doing so to promote his upcoming mysterious sci-fi film District 9 that he is producing. Despite having many of his films hyped at the convention in years gone past, this is the first time he will be there in person. When his huge blockbuster remake of King Kong was being promoted at the Convention, Jackson was holed up in the editing room for the movie back in New Zealand. Even when the epic Lord of the Rings movies were being promoted there, Jackson was nowhere to be seen.

As a lot of you comic-book and movie fans out there will already know, Comic-Con takes place every year in San Diego, and regularly garners 100,000-plus attending fans, with major movie studios showing up to hype their latest products. Jackson (who is able to make the Convention this year after somehow finding a break in his busy schedule) will be in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, where he’ll be promoting District 9, a film which he has produced for newcomer director Neill Blomkamp. Here’s some of what Jackson had to say about both the Convention and Blomkamp:

“I’m thrilled that I finally have the opportunity [to go to Comic-Con]… Neill [Blomkamp] is a tremendously talented young director, and he’s made an extraordinary film, so it was important to me to come to San Diego to spread the word.”

As a hint at what Comic-Con attendees might expect from Jackson’s appearance to promote District 9, Jackson himself said that, “attendees will be in for ‘quite a ride’,” but unfortunately did not give us anymore than that. For those of you don’t know, District 9 is about a race of alien creatures who are forced to live in “slum-like” conditions on Earth, with the aliens finding help in a “sympathetic government agent.” It certainly sounds like an intriguing plot, and I think the fact that it stars complete unknowns makes it even more intriguing.

Comic-Con’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, David Glanzer, spoke about Jackson making his first appearance at the Convention:

“We are overjoyed that the stars have aligned for this… [Mr. Jackson] has a huge fan base here and is notorious for listening to his fans, which should make for a really interesting panel.”

However, Jackson might not be the only big-name making an appearance at Comic-Con this year, with Titanic and Avatar director, James Cameron, possibly turning up, too. The schedule for the Convention is still being worked out and finalized, but there’s a possibility of Cameron making an appearance to show off the first ever footage from the much hyped Avatar. Jackson would certainly have to pull something really special out of the bag to top Mr. Cameron on that front.

Sony (the studio behind the project) is hoping and expecting that Jackson’s appearance at Comic-Con will give District 9 a serious boost as far as exposure and anticipation goes. I’m sure Jackson’s appearance will be welcome after the introduction of mysterious viral marketing ads on bus stop benches (shown below – thanks to First Showing), along with the films  awesome trailer.

I’m actually surprised that Jackson hasn’t made an appearance at Comic-Con before now, a convention which is basically the central hub where rabid fans of his types of movies descend on every year. Perhaps Jackson will make a big deal of it being his first appearance at the Convention, and some serious District 9 (or even The Hobbit) treats will be in order for the lucky attending fans.

What do you think of this being the very first time Peter Jackson has made an appearance at Comic-Con? Are you one of the lucky people who’ll be attending the convention this year?

District 9 is scheduled to be released on August 14th in the US, and on September 4th in the UK, both in 2009.

Sources: NYTimes, First Showing