Above: Rose McGowan licking blood off a sword

The room was packed for the Red Sonja panel today featuring Robert Rodriguez, Rose McGowan and director Doug Aaroniokoski, and images of Rose McGowan in that skimpy metal bikini were everywhere (what you see above was one of around 2,000 t-shirts handed out. Below are easy-to-read notes on this particular panel:

-- Red Sonja will hit theaters in the fourth quarter of 2009 (one imagines for Christmas)
-- Robert Rodriguez is acting as a "hands on" producer, and will co-direct a good chunk of the flick. Not only is he doing this for Red Sonja, but he's also negotiating to produce a new Conan film. It seems as if they would eventually (if both are popular enough) cross promote between films.
-- The tone will be darker, like the book, and when asked if it would be R rated, Rodriguez said, "My name is double 'R'!"
--Also on tone and scope, McGowan (who's quite lively and quick-witted in person) said it's "hard, cold, dirty and bloody." And that she's looking forward to "taking a big giant sword and killing a lot of people."
-- Training is already underway, and McGowan is working with the same swords experts who helped out on Matrix and Ninja Assassin.
-- Rodriguez also admitted that Barbarella is officially off, and that Red Sonja has taken its place. He said financing of $70 million did come through from Germany for a shoot next year, but he's obligated to shoot something else for Miramax. He's negotiating right now to direct a "huge summer movie" -- but he wouldn't say which.
-- On the character, Rose McGowan said: "I will not have a mullet!" The crowd cheered.
-- Red Sonja will be shot on location (scouting now) and will use some green screen.
-- Asked who should star in the new Conan, RR shouted: "Danny Trejo!"
-- On Machete becoming a film, RR said they have plans to turn it into a Mexploitation triple feature disc (and somewhere on that disc will be a trailer for a sequel to Planet Terror.)
-- On Sin City 2, Frank Miller has finished writing the script, but no one knows whether or not that's going to happen with each working on different projects.

P.S. For those who think Rodriguez and McGowan aren't a couple anymore, check out this candid snapshot (taken right before RR kissed RM on the forehead).

Gallery from the panel below. My opinion: It looks pretty hot, and while I've bashed McGowan in the past, I'm willing to give her a chance to kick some ass here. This will be her time to shine.