San Diego Comic Con, or as many refer to it, the Mecca of Geekdom, is arguably the most important showcase for artists, comic books, Hollywood movies and television in the country. It’s heaven on Earth for those who love comic books, cosplay and fantasy and sci-fi TV and movies. SDCC is the yearly multigenre extravaganza! And Reel News Daily was there to cover it for you…the people!
Each year the task of getting tickets for this event is more difficult than securing an audience with the President. 100,000+ crazed fans log on each year hoping for a chance at that golden ticket that will lead them to the famed convention. Last year was my first year being successful in securing tickets so being eligible for the next year’s pre-sale makes things a tad more manageable but nonetheless stressful. For the second year in a row I was able to secure 4 day passes and I was off to the wonderful city of San Diego!
My good friend Eric and I were lucky enough to meet an amazing group of people last year whom we kept in contact with all year. After many months of planning, the weekend was here and the fellowship was reunited. We were a multicultural group and had members from different parts of the country and the world! We traveled long miles to converge on San Diego to collectively enjoy the best weekend of our year, together, as it was meant to be.
Much of the next four days would be spent in the various panel rooms getting all the latest information on upcoming seasons of existing shows, previews of the newest television shows, panels and previews of upcoming prequels, sequels, reboots, and original movie properties, and mainly geeking out, but first…the exhibit floor to check out the booths! Exhibition floor is the main area where companies set up shop to showcase properties and their merchandise. It is overwhelming and cumbersome to navigate thru, but some of the sites are well worth the struggles.
AMC’s The Walking Dead always like to make a splash every year and this year is no different. Their Terminus booth was eye-catching and offered fans a chance to visit a small version of the famed outpost as well as an area to take pictures in a miniature version of the tunnel from which Glenn and Tara were trapped.
Other sites include:
- Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies which included a life-like vision of Smaug the dragon as well as a to scale statue of Azog the Orc Lord
- DC Comics featuring the various incarnations of the Batman suits
- Marvel booth included props from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as well as Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as offering many exclusives only available at SDCC
Thursday begins with an early wake up and off to the convention center for the first set of panels for the weekend. Today we will be the first of two television panel showcases for coverage. The day begins with a look back at Fox’s 24: Live Another Day with Keifer Sutherland and director Jon Cassar followed by panels with the casts of WB’s Reign and CBS’s Under The Dome followed by a special screening of the newest CBS drama Scorpions starring Elyes Gabel and Katharine McPhee but on this day, the most anticipated panel was Yahoo! Screens newly resurrected Community what to expect from the upcoming season. Overall a good day at Ballroom 20 and a nice start to a packed weekend!
As Thursday comes to a close, that brings the annual jockeying for position in the Hall H line. Hall H is the main room for which all the big panels are held and Friday will bring two of the more popular panels, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones! Now to anyone who has camped out for tickets to a concert you know the plight of the urban camper. It’s uncomfortable, it’s noisy, it’s crowded, but here at the Hall H line there is camaraderie, there’s fun, there’s a tent and there’s grass! The joy of being with your friends and sleeping next to each other as excited as can be to see the special presentations and the cast members of these amazing shows is second to none. These are the true fans, these people are there because of their passion for the shows and the emotional charge you get from sharing a space with these con warriors is intense. Hall H camp out is a must.
The morning wake up however is not so much fun. Usually around 4-5am the line police begin to try and gain control over the situation and ask for people to condense the line to make room for more people. The wake up is rough, but the wait is rougher. Around 9am they begin to load the crowd into Hall H and the mad rush for seats begins. Being as we lined up massively early, we were near the front of the line. A presentation on animated shorts is first which highlights some of the best animated shorts floating around Hollywood. A rather fantastic way to begin a Friday at SDCC.
After a 20 minute break, The Walking Dead creators and producers converge onto the Hall H stage to begin to discuss Season 4 and what to expect from Season 5. The crowd is presented with the world premiere of the Season 5 trailer and it doesn’t disappoint. The crowd eats it up when the cast members begins to line the stage and take questions from the crowd. Each star, from Andrew Lincoln to Laura Cohen to Norman Reedus is as gracious with their adoring fans as the next. These comic-con veterans sure do know how to work the crowd better than anyone else.
Next up is HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. Now for those who follow the series, the secrecy around this show is legendary so the feeling in the hall is that there will be little detail given regarding Season 5 and they are correct. The cast of the show including Kit Harrington, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Rory McCann and Natalie Dormer, as well as author George R.R Martin, gave the crowd very little to be excited about, but for the adoring fans, just seeing their favorites was enough to make them happy. After enjoying a few more panels and seeing some more exclusive footage from upcoming films including 20th Century Fox’s The Maze Runner, it is time to reconvene to the Hall H line and begin the wait for the most anticipated day at SDCC.
Saturday panels include Warner Bros and Marvel amongst others and the anticipation amongst the con-goers is that we will see exclusive footage from Batman v Superman as well as Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron so the line to get in will be longer than ever, but we’re prepared. Sleep deprived and hot, the group is as energetic as ever. Laughing and talking about all the amazing things to come, we sit and wait for the wristbands that we need and to be escorted into the tents so that we can begin to the camp out all over again. Once lined in the tent we take turns running for showers and changes of clothes, we order pizzas (yes they deliver to the Hall H tent), we play Cards Against Humanity, we drink and then we sleep…or so we thought, until a certain two actors decided to wake us all at 2:30 in the morning.
Sound asleep, I hear a familiar voice in the distance. “Why hello, are you awake?” One of our group is speaking the Queens English and who the hell is waking me?! As I open my eyes to see none of than Andy Serkis standing above me. I jump up out of my sleeping bag to greet the man as well as kick each and every one of my friends whispering, “Get the hell up…Andy Serkis is here!” We share a few minutes and take a nice picture together and he moves on to the next person in my group. As I turn around I realize he’s not the only person here; Lee Pace has come as well and he greets me with a smile and a handshake! This has to be a dream! Lee and I discuss the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and share a few laughs and take a picture together before he moves onto the next member of my group. A moment that may never be topped in the annals of SDCC. Simply an amazing moment and one I will never forget as long as I live.
The morning was a buzz with the events of the late night visit. Was it real? Supposedly so! Now the excitement has shifted towards the days events, we would become some of the lucky ones who would be admitted into Hall H for Saturday. We would be there for what would transpire over the next 14 hours. We were the lucky ones!
Warner Bros is up first and out comes Zack Snyder to introduce some exclusive footage of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice! The footage is spectacular and the introduction of Wonder Woman’s costume was amazing, what a way to kick off the day, the tone has been set! Up next is George Miller and his new film Mad Max: Fury Road! Much talk has surrounded the long delayed project, but the Tom Hardy / Charlize Theron film finally is about to see the light of day and the footage presented to the Hall H crowd was jaw dropping. This is one film to watch for in 2015!
Final presentation of the Warner Bros showcase is the highly anticipated Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies panel! The cast and director Peter Jackson arrive to discuss the trilogy of films, the legacy of the Lord of the Rings franchise, and then they present to the attendees the first viewing of the trailer to the film. Wow, what a journey for these actors and what an achievement for Peter Jackson and his production team.
Legendary Pictures is next up to announce the sequel to Godzilla as well as a retelling of the legend of King King called Skull Island as well as a first look at Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and Michael Mann’s Black Hat, but the first teaser trailer of the upcoming Warcraft feature film stole this panel. A lot to look forward to from our friends at Legendary in the coming years. Panels for the upcoming Boxtrolls and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For feature films followed Legendary and offered insight into what each film would bring to theaters in the coming weeks, but the crowd was eager to get the Marvel panel started to see what they had in store for this raucous crowd.
Panel moderator Chris Hardwick entered the stage and introduced the man responsible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige. The Marvel panel has begun! First up on the Marvel docket, Ant-Man. Director Peyton Reed and cast members Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly talked the challenges they face in making the upcoming feature film as well as show us a first look at test footage from the film. The footage added a much needed charge to the crowd and offered validation that Ant-Man just might be the film we all hope it can be. But the big moment came when the cast of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron hit the stage. The crowd erupted in a frenzy as each cast member entered the stage to a roaring applause and the sounds of Michael Jackson blasting over the loudspeaker. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for!
The cast was energized and ready for the Hall H crowd, they knew what was coming and they could tell that this room would explode when the footage was unleashed, and explode it did. The footage was amazing, a scene centered around the team playing a little game of “Who can wield the Hammer of Thor?” With each team member taking a turn and trying their best, a few laughs ensued, then it was Captain America’s turn, and he seemed to budge the mighty hammer much to the dismay of the God of Thunder, but of course Cap was unable to lift the mighty hammer and an ease settled over Thor. Then it happened, the voice of Ultron and there is was, the crowd fell silent from shock, the trailer of film was being debuted to us right now! The tone of the film is dark, the Avengers will face their toughest foe to date and the shape of the world will be changed forever. A glimpse of Iron Man’s Hulk-buster armor taking on the big green giant, the first footage of Ultron moving and then it happened, the shot of Cap’s shield broken upon a pile of bodies and then darkness. The stunned crowd sat with mouths open and tears of joy running down their faces. We were witness to this event, we the chosen were witness and we the chosen were rewarded generously. The Marvel panel has come to an end and they have won the day again.
After a short hour break, the Hall was ready for the next series of events, Warner Brothers television and DC entertainment have brought to Hall H the pilots for the upcoming Flash, Constantine and Gotham TV shows! Arrow’s Stephen Amell hosted the 3 hour panel and each show was aired to much fan fare. The casts and producers of each show were brought the stage to discuss the upcoming seasons and to answer fan questions. I can tell you that each show looks absolutely amazing and that the Fall lineup of shows is going to be awesome! The night comes to a close and with that another successful year at SDCC.
Sunday arrives and the day is met with a much more relaxed atmosphere. The crew meets up for a group photo and a little shopping but the day is more about relaxation and reflection. The con has come to a close and with it this band of brothers and sisters will go our separate ways for another year, but with it we will take memories that will last a lifetime. I have found a family in these strangers, a group that came together simply by chance, but stays together out of mutual love and respect for one another. Alex, Phillip, Richard, Boff, Yusuf, Anna, Marsha, Jon, Andrew, Jennifer, Yoshi, Marlena, Laine, Derek, Sarra, Denis and Eric, these names are not names of friends, but names of family. So I say my goodbyes and I take one last look at the convention center, a sadness fills my heart, but a glimmer of joy remains as I will return to this spot next year and I will once again be amongst my people once more.