This year was a first for several policies, rules and changes to SDCC and yet still some very old familiar things as well. Here is a breakdown of what went down at SDCC 14.
The impossible task of getting into Hall H. This year they implemented a wrist band system for the first panel of the day. This new system seems to be the catalyst that created much longer lines. I have not seen lines this long. Ever. I had to get in line Thursday night at 10:30PM and I was in a farther place than I was at 3:00AM the previous year. Friday night my group left Hall H from the Fox panel (which was a major let down but we’ll get to that later) at 6:20PM and the line was completely wrapped around the Marina and we were about 500+ people farther back than the year previously where we got in line at 12:00AM. This is getting really bad. I missed out on several things that I wanted to do because the fact we had to wait in this awful line. This includes one of the panels I was looking forward to the most – the Aquabats 20th Anniversary panel. Because of the wristband and having to be there as a group this caused what I believe is mass-hysteria.
Now on to the good stuff!!!
The Panels of Hall-H! So I was able to see a majority of the panels in Hall H. It resulted in getting about 14 hours of sleep from Wednesday to Sunday but this is the breakdown.
Thursday – Paramount Pictures: Paramount did not list anything on the guide as to what they were bringing and I was excited about that. I figured they would bring TMNT but was open for surprises and they did not disappoint. Paramount brought out some stuff for Spongebob Squarepants but quickly went right into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They brought out Megan Fox and Will Arnett and the footage they brought actually looks really good (in terms of Ninja Turtles).
They then showed a quick clip for Project Almanac. This movie might be good? It’s about a bunch of teens who go back in time and then it shows them at a music festival (I believe Lollapalooza) and then things get crazy. After Project Almanac the lights went dark and no other than the Rock showed up for Hercules. They didn’t bring footage they just let the Rock be the Rock and that was best thing to do. Shortly after he got off stage a familiar tune came on, Mötley Crüe. Now I got excited because knowing Paramount it wasn’t really Mötley Crüe it was Mötley Loü. Clark Duke came out for Hot Tube Time Machine 2 with 2 ladies in really tight dresses and they showed the Red Band trailer.
But the biggest surprise was for Interstellar. Matthew McConaughey came out and to introduce the film and to bring out Christopher Nolan. This is the first time either have been at Comic Con. They showed the trailer and took a few questions. Paramount who was on Thursday was one of the biggest panels of the whole weekend and even with the juggernauts of Warner Bros and Marvel still managed to shine.
Friday – Friday started off with an animation panel that had various animation shorts from individuals and companies all across the world. It then went into a panel for an upcoming Last of Us movie. Details were relatively scarce but Naughty Dog will have casting, directing (or picking director) and control of the film and Sam Raimi will be producing. With Naughty Dog having so much control my guess is even less on producing and more like consulting. Next up was the Walking Dead. They showed a sizzle reel for the next season and it looks action packed. Every year their budget gets bigger and bigger and this upcoming season looks like it won’t disappoint.
Next in Hall H was Game of Thrones they mostly just talked about their characters, they showed a small clip of each new character coming in with a 15-30 second video of each person saying who they are and then it was Q&A. Hall H became pretty vacant after Game of Thrones which meant I got a much better seat.
The next panel was for Radius-TWC films (Snowpiercer, Lovelace, etc) they started with a sizzle reel of their own films past, present and future. Then they started with a new film starring Salma Hayek called Everly. The panel had the director Joe Lynch and Salma Hayek on stage. They showed footage which looked action packed and had Salma in lingerie. Radius next film was Horns. Daniel Radcliffe basically is growing horns (like the devil or a demon). The movie feels dark but the clips they showed were pretty funny.
20th Century Fox followed up Radius. Most of us in Hall H had big expectations for this panel. Sadly this panel just fell short. Fox started the panel with the Maze Runner and they had a heavy focus on this film. The next film they showed was the Book of Life which is an animated movie heavily influenced by Mexican lore. Probably the coolest surprise of the Fox panel was when Biz Markie came out to sing “Just a Friend” and seeing Channing Tatum dance to it. Then they did showed some footage for Let’s Be Cops which looks absolutely hilarious and to close out the panel they did Kingsman: Secret Service. No news on Fantastic Four nothing on X-Men. Kingsman: Secret Service does look great but for those who were at WonderCon we already saw Maze Runner and Secret Service.
Saturday – Warner Bros opened up the day in Hall H hard with Chris Hardwick moderating while cosplaying as Marty McFly and the whole 6,500 capacity ball room being surrounded with screens. They opened up with a 30 second (or less) teaser for Superman V Batman: Dawn of Justice and brought out Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot. They showed the first shots of all their suits. Then Warner Bros moved on show a quick clip of the Wachowski’s new film Jupiter Ascending. Beautiful colors and what looks to be some great sci-fi action.
Next up was Mad Max, the side panels said “Comic Con Belongs to the Mad” and I must say for those minutes with Mad Max it certainly did. The footage looked amazing. They showed a quick clip and a trailer and it had the feel of the first movies but amped up with current technology. George Miller was there and got all of Hall H pretty amped up for this movie.
Then Warner Brothers closed out with The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Stephen Colbert came out to moderate dressed up as the spy of Laketown (as his part in the movie). The panel was amazing, they started with outtakes from not just the Hobbit but from all the Lord of the Rings and it was an amazing send off for the LOTR saga. The panel continued with great stories, moments and a trailer piece for film.
Warner Brothers did something different this year. They had a 2 hour break in Hall H and then WB came back for all their TV shows. My guess is as long as these shows keep doing well this will become another staple at Comic Con. Warner Brothers brought the Flash, Arrow, Gotham and Constantine out. They showed pilots or shows for most of them and then with a massive 22 person or so panel of actors and actresses from all the shows out.
Next up was Legendary. Legendary has some big shoes to fill due to the past few years it had at Comic Con like Godzilla. Jessica Chobot from the Nerdist network moderated this panel and Thomas Tull the C.E.O. of Legendary came out to show a clip from Gareth Edwards. In this clip they did show the next foes for the King of Monsters and to our surprise they are the classic monsters from Toho Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah.
Next film they showed was As Above, So Below. A horror film that takes places in the Paris Catacombs and the gates of hell. They had the cast and director there talking about that and it seems pretty scary. Next film is Blackhat (formerly Cyber) Michael Mann and Chris Hemsworth came out for that portion of the panel. It looks like another thriller from Michael Mann just with current technology and in a more updated scenario than previous films.
Then Legendary brought out Guillermo Del Toro for Crimson Peak. It’s a gothic film piece that seems to have some kind of a love-story in a horror environment. From the little that was shown it looks really good. He also had everyone scream if they wanted to see a Hellboy 3. They then brought out Duncan Jones and showed a small teaser for Warcraft. Thomas Tull then came back out and showed a clip for what most of thought was going to be Jurassic World and it was in fact King Kong: Skull Island.
With the success of superhero movie mash-ups many of those around me in Hall H were wondering about bringing King Kong and Godzilla back for an epic fight. They have done this in the past and this may not be anywhere Legendary is heading but it is possible they could be gearing for this.
Next up in Hall H was the Boxtrolls. From the same company who created Paranorman and Caroline this is their new film Boxtrolls. And yes it’s based on trolls who live in boxes. The pane had LAIKA CEO Travis Knight, Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and cast members Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Elle Fanning.They showed some clips and did some Q&A. This film looks like it will be great like their previous films.
Following Boxtrolls was Frank Miller’s Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill. Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Rosario Dawson, Josh Brolin and Jessica Alba came out for this one. The footage they showed was amazing and to hear the stories behind both Sin City and Sin City 2 from cast, Robert and Frank were amazing. They also showed a clip for “Just Another Saturday Night”.
Fun Fact: They created some new and original stories for the movie and Frank Miller would draw up the storyboards on the spot.
The last panel for the day was Marvel. They started the panel with a great sizzle reel showing clips from Phase 1 and Phase 2. Then Fiege brought out Ant-Man. They brought out Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, Corey Stoll and Evengeline Lilly. They briefly discussed their roles and they showed a test clip. Then the moment was finally there where they brought out the cast Avengers 2. Everyone came out to Michael Jackson. RDJ came out first with roses and a suit. They briefly talked about what is to come with Avengers 2 and then at the end Brolin came out holding the exclusive from Hasbro of the Infinity Gauntlet (we’ll go over exclusives a bit later).
On to the rest…..
Aside from the insanity of Hall H there were many things that stayed the same. The Hasbro line was a crap shoot just like every other year. They did give out numbers to those in the Ballroom 20 line but nothing was really changed in the lineup area before entering the convention center.
2014 Swag Report
As previous years there has been less and less swag inside the convention. This year there may have been more swag given out at panels than years previously as well. But Lionsgate gave out mini-posters this year while a few years ago they were giving away tons and tons of the full sized posters. Some of the best swag like last year was given away in the Gaslamp. Assassain’s Creed obstacle course was giving away t-shirts and on Saturday they gave away limited edition posters. Several of the Petco Park Interactive Zone tents and attractions were giving away anything from t-shirts to Amazon credit and various contests to enter. Back in 2013 the Falling Skies and KickAss off-site events were giving away t-shirts, hoodies, posters, etc. So to avoid the craziness of the convention floor, avoid the cost of the massive booth and to reach more people it seems a lot of companies are going for that. Or the official sponsors like Xbox and Nintendo, etc. who have their big off-site areas as well as the convention floor are giving away more things at the off-site location. For big swag hunters seeing off-sites is a must.
BIG THANKS TO FUEL-RODS for helping us stay charged up this year. I used mine Thursday morning all the way to the end of Sunday. Super efficient and I really hope that everyone else took advantage of this. I had battery the entire con, and I didn’t even need to use my Tylt battery pack.
Looking forward to 2015…
I would expect some new rules for Hall H coming for 2015 as Eddie Ibrahim walked out to the line in the evening Friday and was upset with what was happening in regards to the line situation. Eddie is the head of programming for Comic Con International (CCI) so we can hypothesize some major changes coming soon.
Swag trend for the past few years has been less on the con floor and more about the off-site. Additionally, more extravagant events and experiences are going on off site too. The upside is less of the craziness of the convention but more people and competition to deal with. Many of the off-sites do not require a badge so you’re competing with not just con-goers but just people who are checking out the spectacle of SDCC.
Possible Construction: There may be construction to expand the convention center. Right now there has been a big push to expand the San Diego Convention Center or CCI will be moving locations. If that is the case spaces such as the grass area for the lineup for Hall H could be used up. Also various other open spots could be under construction. This is all speculation at this point as there may not be any construction but it is something that many of us have been keeping an eye out for the past year or two.
Badges: CCI has already announced that badge sales for previous attendees will be in the Fall and open registration will begin in spring 2015. That is what they have done the past few years but due to the system change last year that was severely pushed back. CCI has already made the announcement to hold on to your badges from SDCC 2014 as they will be required for part of the pre-registration process.