Comic Con 2015

Sunbunny and I attended San Diego Comic Con last year and had such a great time we decided to do it again this year. And this time we had four day badges to play around with.

The week got off to a bad start with my flight to Heathrow being cancelled at the last minute, forcing me to make a mad dash to London via train, and strongly resisting the urge to get off at Earl's Court so I could take a selfie with the TARDIS police box they have outside. Luckily I made it to the airport in time and arrived in San Diego where I ran into Peter Capaldi at baggage collection. While I was trying not to make an idiot of myself, Bunny spotted Steven Moffat and family leaving the airport. Not a bad start to the week, if you ignore all that horrible cancelled flight business, (which I won't be *glares at British Airways*).

THURSDAY

Once upon a time, he saved the city of New York.
Everything kicked off in Hall H with a surprise panel for Bill Murray's new movie, Rock the Kasbah, with Murray (who was dressed like his character in the film) and the film's writer. The film itself doesn't look like anything special, but Murray himself, unsurprisingly, made sure the panel was one of the funniest of the convention.

Jennifer Lawrence. A very serious actress. 
Next was the panel for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 moderated by one Conan O'Brian. It started with dozens of drummers all in white filling the hall, followed by a short video with Katniss in front of hundreds of soldiers doing what I can only describe as some sort of dance sequence that made it look like Jennifer Lawrence was about to kick off her music career. The panel consisted of the director, producer and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Willow Shields. Although I'm not fan of the films (despite reading all the books) Lawrence (who is ten times more adorable in person and cannot answer a question to save her life), Hutcherson and Hemsworth (he can whistle the X-Files theme like a pro) were an entertaining trio.

That was followed up by Trailer Park, which is where they show trailers for an hour. One of my favourite movements was the collective groan that went through the whole of Hall H when M. Night Shyamalan’s name appeared on screen. That's what you get for ruining Avatar: The Last Airbender, dude. Also, every movie you've made since The Sixth Sense. Also, the Ant-Man trailer got a much louder cheer than the Batman V Superman trailer so I feel vindicated in my earlier claim on Tumblr that more people are excited about Ant-Man than BvS (which I got some supremely stupid feedback about). Star Wars: The Force Awakens got the loudest cheer, though. People were roaring with excitement the second the Lucasfilm logo appeared. And I tried my best not to laugh when the woman next to me was the only person in the entire hall who clapped for one trailer, I think it was for Transporter 4 or something. Poor thing.


Next up was the Doctor Who panel. Since Capaldi and co. skipped Comic Con last year, this is the one panel we were both really looking forward to. I even wore my Fourth Doctor scarf for the occasion. It was a great panel, with Moffat being such an adorable grump while Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez were all awesome (Michelle had the best line of the day when she described Missy’s perfect day involving tea and slapping Wonder Woman).


The day ended (for us at least) with the star studded panel for Alan Tudyk's Con Man, which consisted of Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, Seth Green, Michael Truco, Tricia Helfer, Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, and others. Tudyk came on stage dressed as Wash and, just to make it worse, poured ketchup on his chest (not cool, Alan) before stripping to reveal the costume his character wears in the show within a show.

FRIDAY

We spent the whole of day two in Ballroom 20, which meant we had to endure the horror of a Big Bang Theory panel which made me hate the show and it's horrible creator even more (he made one horribly tasteless joke about Stephen Hawking that for some reason went down well with a lot of people in the room). That was followed by a rather muted panel for Falling Skies that I struggled to stay awake during.


After that it was The 100 panel, which was just brilliant from beginning to end. I shrieked quite loudly when Jason Rothenberg announced that Alycia Debnam-Carey (Lexa) was returning for season 3 (Bunny assured me it was more adorable than embarrassing). The best part was when Ricky Whittle leaped off the stage and ran across the room to hug a tearful fan during the Q&A section. It was so sweet.


That was followed up by Minority Report. Before the panel we were shown the first 20 minutes of the pilot and it was not a good 20 minutes. It is never a good sign when the first five minutes of any show is a massive info dump explaining absolutely everything you need to know about the main character and the universe the show is set in. As for the panel itself I really can't tell you much since that was when I decided to go to the little boy's room.

Then we got to the Marvel TV panel moderated by Jeph Loeb, who came on stage wearing Peggy Carter's now iconic red fedora, which Hayley Atwell quickly snatched back.


Agent Carter was up first so we got to see Atwell and James D'arcy being just amazing in person as they seems to be online. I was a little disappointed, though, that we didn’t get any bloopers. But we did for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they were hilarious. This was another fun panel, but since there were ten participants most of them didn’t get to say all that much. The highlight was when an 8-year-old fan asked if she could be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Clark Gregg said that she could run S.H.I.E.L.D. It was so cute. Then Brett Dalton said his team was also hiring. And the video they played at the end (which took us inside the writer's room) was hilarious. Of course, the best part of these panels did not take place on stage, but on the internet as Chloe Bennet and Hayley Atwell met up behind the scenes and began an epic Dubsmash war between the casts of both shows, which Hayley's side seems to be winning right now thanks to some help from a very special friend.


After that it was The Originals (which was very sweary) and iZombie, which was funny enough to make me wish I actually watched it.

SATURDAY

By some miracle we made it into Hall H without having to camp out or wait in line for hours and hours. We only waited an hour before we were inside and seated, which is the shortest I have ever had to wait to get in anywhere at Comic Con.


The first panel was Warner Bros/DC, moderated by a supercharged Aisha Tyler, which was something of a mixed bag. Guy Ritchie's reboot of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. looks great, but Pan failed to fly (despite Hugh Jackman looking like he's having a lot of fun as Blackbeard) and Batman Vs Superman is still leaving me cold. I’m just not sold on DC’s cinematic universe and its super gritty, super dark tone. And what was the point of bringing the cast of Suicide Squad all the way to San Diego in the middle of filming simply to come out on stage, wave and then leave right away?


Next up was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which featured Matt Smith so I got to see two Doctors this week. Smith stole the panel for me and by the looks of things he’s going to steal the movie too. That said, his American accent in Patient Zero needs some serious work.

That was followed up by The Hateful Eight, where Quentin Tarantino talked a lot (and I meant LOT) about shooting the film on 70mm film (which does look fucking amazing, BTW) while Kurt Russell rocked a truly epic moustache. As for what we saw of the film itself, I think Tim Roth is going to own this movie. Also, this little girl wins the award for most adorable cosplay of the convention:

What kind of parents let a little girl watch Kill Bill? Ones not worried about therapy bills.
Also, I discovered this day that all I need to do to send Bunny into a fit of giggling is just say the word "bloke", which I did at random intervals throughout the rest of the week,

For your viewing pleasure.
After that there was Crimson Peak, where Bunny swooned over Tom Hiddleston while I geeked out over Guillermo del Toro and marvelled at what I think could be another masterpiece right up there with Pan’s Labyrinth.


After that, they made a big song and dance about the Warcraft movie, but it looked like a load of sword and sorcery clich├ęs to me with some video level CGI. But it was fun to hear Clancy Brown answer his question in his character's Orc speech. That’s what I’m assuming, he may just talk like that all the time.

Peggy Carter and Wonder Woman together at last. 
Next was the Women Who Kick Ass panel with Gal Gadot (who rivals Cosima for hand talking), Gwendoline Christie, Hayley Atwell, Jenna Coleman and Kathy Bates. This was probably the weakest of the day due to a weak moderator (where was Aisha Tyler when we needed her?) and the lack of interaction amongst the participants, although they all had great things to say (especially Hayley).


Then we came to the one thing I was most excited to see, an afternoon with Joss Whedon. Since Buffy, Angel and Firefly are amongst my favourite shows (Buffy literally helped me survive comprehensive school, I won’t say high school because I’m English and that is just not right), this was something I’d be looking forward to for such a long time and it didn’t disappoint. It was basically an informal chat where Joss, being his usually funny and insightful self, talked about his career, made a few digs at Twitter, briefly plugged his new comic about a Victorian era female Batman and then opened up the floor to questions from the audience, where he talked about the much missed Andy Hallett and how “Buffy is the beating heart of everything I’ve ever done or will”. After the Q&A he was presented with Comic Con’s Icon Award and got a standing ovation from the entire audience at which point he was fighting back the tears. It was an amazing time and I am so happy I was there to experience it.


After that it was Fox’s presentation, which was moderated by Chris Hardwick, who moderated a lot of panels this week and deserves a lot of praise for it. Hardwick is the perfect master of ceremonies, being funny and energetic, with a good rapport with both the audience and the panellists, and always makes sure everyone on the panel gets to have a say. In an ideal world he would moderate all the panels.


Anyway, the presentation was a little mixed. I didn’t much care for the Maze Runner sequel, although the clip shown of its zombie creatures was creepy, and Victor Frankenstein looked a bit iffy, but the panel for that was a laugh riot due to James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe making endless innuendos. I was in stitches, I’d rather see a two hour version of that panel than the movie they were promoting. Then we got to the Marvel movies that are not. Fantastic Four was a little muted, but it was coming after James and Daniel’s comedy roadshow, so I’ll let it off.


The Deadpool panel, however, won the day and probably the entire Con. The panel itself was great fun, it’s clear the cast had a great time making this movie and probably invented some whole new swear words. Seriously, it got very salty in Hall H with that lot on stage. The trailer they showed sent all seven thousand of us batshit insane. It was glorious. The entire room got up and applauded and demanded an encore, which we got because Fox is not stupid enough to piss off that many people.

Jennifer shows off her new Hugh Jackman doll, coming soon to a toy store near you
Finally it was X-Men: Apocalypse, which started off with a little tribute to Hugh Jackman and his beautiful face for 15 years of playing Wolverine. Then the entire cast of the movie came out, all seven hundred of them and we got a trailer for the film, which didn’t make everyone go crazy like Deadpool, but it did get us pumped for the film. Everything ended with Stan Lee (who got a standing ovation) and Channing Tatum showing up and taking the most epic selfie that was ever selfied (beat that, Ellen).

By this point we’d been in Hall H for close to 10 hours and were ready to just drop, but we had one more presentation to get through for WB/DC television. I have to say a big thank you to the organisers of this presentation for putting everything we wanted to see (Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow) first so we could leave right after, skipping the Gotham and Supergirl sections and avoiding the end of show crowds. Thank you.


The panels for all three shows were great but brief. No new footage as shown because, like most of the TV series at Comic Con this year, none had started filming yet. The Arrow panel started with Stephen Amell coming on stage in his new costume and revealed that Oliver will finally be called Green Arrow this season, which was great. We also found out that Mr Terrific would be joining the show as a friend for Felicity and that, in an effort to bring more diversity to the Arrowverse, he would be gay. And, yes, in case you were wondering, John Barrowman did sing at one point.


During the Flash panel we learned that Zoom (who is not the same as the Reverse Flash) will be the big bad of season two and that the show will explore the multiverse and introduce classic characters like Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and Wally West to the series.


Last but not least was Legends of Tomorrow, which I refuse to call DC's Legends of Tomorrow for the same reason I don't call Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The writers revealed that Arrow and Flash would be used to set up this series (which is probably why it is slated to air mid-season) and that it would involve a lot of time travel and characters like Hawkman will turning up.

SUNDAY


Neither of us were interested in any of the panels on Sunday so we decided to go to the Game of Thrones Experience at the Omni Hotel. That didn't happen due to the website giving us wrong information about the opening times and the staff not knowing what they were doing by letting people wait in line for something they were never going to get into. So we headed to the convention floor, which was mayhem as usual, and encountered more rude staffers not knowing what they are doing and giving out conflicting information. But I did mange to pick up this killer Daredevil shirt. We ended Comic Con as we did last year with a play at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park, this time a hilarious production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with True Blood's Rutina Wesley as Viola.

The next day, after wandering around the now eerily deserted convention centre, we said our goodbyes as Taylor Swift sang. No, really, for some reason San Diego airport has music playing at the taxi drop off point and 'Blank Space' was playing. And so I got on my plane back to England (which was delayed due to protesters) and Bunny headed to the train station, where she spotted Matt Smith. Seeing as this experience started with one of us spotting a Doctor at a transport hub, it was a fitting way to end it. I'll leave you with my favourite cosplayer - Deadpool Elsa

"Let it go, let it go, don't want to kill people any more. LOL, just kidding." 

6 comments:

Juliette said...

Thanks for the report Mark, sounds like it was a great few days! Though now I have Let It Go in my head so thanks for that...!

Billie Doux said...

OMG, sounds like every con I've ever attended times a hundred! The Joss Whedon thing in particular sounds absolutely awesome and the thing I'm most envious about, except possibly hearing John Barrowman sing. I am particularly pleased for you that you got to see two Doctors. :)

sunbunny said...

Yeah just casually forget to mention that Tom Hiddleston told me he loved me. Sure. (Tom Hiddleston told me he loved me. I mean, it was a room of like 7000 people, but he meant me specifically, I'm sure.)

Laure Mack said...

Loving this recap Mark! It sounds like it was a fabulous time. I want to go with y'all next year!!!!

Heather said...

Mark,
What a great write-up. I almost felt as if I were there. You and Sunbunny are clearly a crack partnership. Also, I laughed outloud at the Kill Bill pic and caption. Thank you for that.

Mark Greig said...

You're more than welcome to join us, Laure.