The promotion machine has been in ultra high gear for months now, and even though the SDCC audience is quite well-informed about the upcoming release (if we do say so ourselves), Warner Bros and DC pulled out all the stops. The line for the off-site event at the Hard Rock Hotel was stacked up for hours on end; the Hall H panel on Saturday got rave reviews; and judging by how many Suicide Squad cosplayers were out in abundance, you’d think the movie had already been out for a year and had been a huge success. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.
This year was the amazonian warrior’s 75th anniversary, and that important milestone was not lost on the Con or the con-goers. Dianna was rightly awarded the cover of the convention’s souvenir book, illustrated by Babs Tarr, and also was prominently featured on much of the official con merch. Not only did we get the amazing-looking new trailer for the Wonder Woman film in Hall H, but the 75th anniversary panel in the smaller (could’ve been bigger) room 6DE with only “special guests” listed as panelists turned out to be an excellent and intimate treat for those who got in, with Gal Gadot and the WW film’s director Patty Jenkins appearing alongside Jim Lee (DC Publisher) and current WW artist Nicola Scott.
The WB arguably had one of its best showings in years with the powerful lineup of Suicide Squad, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and by route of the CW, all of the DC TV universe. The studio delivered the star power and new footage that fans really hope for in Hall H, making the madness of the overnight (really day-before) lineup possibly worthwhile. (See below for our thoughts on the Hall H line in general).
This was the first SDCC where Netflix got similar real estate to other studios, having their own big reveals in Ballroom 20. A huge splash was made with trailers from Luke Cage and Iron Fist, as well as a teaser for The Defenders. The Luke Cage panel was full of inspiring moments from the stars Mike Colter, Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, Theo Rossi, Frank Whaley, the show’s creator Cheo Coker, not to mention the surprise visit from Jon Bernthal (aka The Punisher).
Conan’s marketing was ON POINT this year. Even the airport had some serious Conan marketing.The local tapings were a huge success (we attended Thursday’s) with a large standby line every day and the Funko giveaways were massively popular, both at the show AND at its own separate line this year.
The popularity of Funko is nothing new, but this was a new level in San Diego. Funko had fantastic partnerships over the weekend, giving away exclusives at Game of Thrones and Conan, and could be seen on billboards around the Con. From small origins in Everett, Funko is making some big deals with bigger names. (picture of Mag the Mighty Funko from GoT)
All hail the King of Comic Con Cosplay! Appearing as Squirrel Girl, Zap Brannigan, and Harley Quinn, John Barrowman appeared on numerous panels this year, has his own Torchwood comic coming out, and closed the show with his traditional “Anything Goes with John Barrowman” panel where he essentially has an hour to be...well John Barrowman. Look out for this upcoming household name.
Super-strong lineup of panels in the Indigo Ballroom all day on Friday - Steven’s musical panel, the hilarious Robot Chicken and Rick & Morty panels, full casts from Bob’s and Archer; getting to see the preview of the next Archer season and the Dreamland premise at the same time that the actors learned about it, including major tweaks to their characters was a lot of fun; And Samurai Jack moving to adult swim for a final season, looking as gorgeous as ever yet with more grit and gore.
Even while DC moves quickly to catch up, releasing new Justice League footage, Marvel made a move to lift up some of its smaller franchises and it paid off. The Marvel panel was one of the most coveted this year and showcased new characters from Black Panther, additional footage from Dr Strange, lots of new details about Guardians of the Galaxy, vol 2 and Spider-man: Homecoming. They also announced a big new casting of Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. Marvel is a powerhouse and they have promised big things to come.
Re-emergence of a great talent (5th element and the Professional) and the Valerian flick looks SO great; we should get excited now; it has the potential to be an magnum opus, and though only a few were clued in enough to know to be watching for it (Hall H was a walk-in almost all day Thursday); the crowd that did see the footage was blown away.
The Justice League Trailer gives Snyder’s murderous Batman some redemption, he was less murder-y and more leader-ish, and with (gasp!) humor? There’s real evidence that we’ll get a more enjoyable Batman, and Ben will continue to bring his A-game there.
Uber (vs Lyft)
Uber is already onto the next revolution UberEats, and Lyft is trying to give out $50 of free rides desperate to catch-up, and not many people would even take the promo codes.
It was his 75th anniversary as well; the towering bronze statue was super cool. But perhaps best, was the panel with Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen Mcfeely. The creative architects behind our favorite works don’t always get the same due at comic con as the beautiful celebrities, a fact made obvious by their panel’s measly 200 seats. But the panel was fantastically in-depth thanks in part to moderator Jeff Goldsmith's meaty questions. It went into the screenwriter's process (lots of drafts!), their favorite Cap moments, and just how hard they worked to make us feel for both Cap and Tony in Civil War’s final fight (very hard). They gave candid answers, and were even kind enough to chat about Cap with our intrepid Editor-in-Chief after the panel. It’d be impossible not to get excited for what they’ll do on Infinity War now.
The panel was recorded as part of Jeff Goldsmith's podcast. Give it a listen here.
Really made a promotional splash, pulling out all the stops; interactive haunted cabin; excellent swag; hilarious panel with full cast including next season’s addition of Lee Majors as Ash’s dad; the gang got across their message loud and clear that Starz is launching a new streaming app that will cost you something, but they’re betting that the fans of shows like Ash vs Evil Dead and the new Neil Gaiman property American Gods will be enough to entice the Comic-con crowd.
Teen Wolf (yes, we mean this ironically)
This show saw a ridiculous amount of love at MTV fandom awards; their fandom won the coveted (or unknown) ‘best fandom’ award, beating out lesser groups like Star Wars along the way. Though the MTV fandom awards did send attendees away with free mini chairs; quite useful in the comic con lines!
Lines were earlier and longer waits than ever, even with the addition of announcing when wristbands would begin being handed out and that a wristband is a guarantee of entry. Seeing the panel you want in Hall H probably entails giving up the previous day of your con to camp in line now. The lineup was one of the weakest we’ve seen in years, evidenced by Thursday being less than half full at times and the absence of some major studios such as Fox and Sony. Lines are a necessary part of comic con, but in a few short years Hall H has gone from reasonable madness to 'just stay away' levels of insanity.
The show had tough timing for having an exciting panel; surely the actors want to enjoy the time off; season 6 has been finished for a bit now and we know the next is quite a ways off, and they don’t have much they can show or share; we love all the talent that was in attendance, but Sansa was the top billed (no Jon, Dani, Brienne, etc); And the GoT off-site was a bit of a let down; they relied too heavily on driving demand through the Funko exclusives for early-arrivers and the interactive portions inside weren’t worth the extreme wait time, as had been the case in past years.
The Killing Joke
Shit show that any fan should really be very upset about. It’s like bad fanfiction, but with an awesome Mark Hamill performance thrown in to confuse us.
American Horror Story VR Experience
A missed opportunity for the show and the FX network; it was cool-ish, but since they clearly spent a ton of money on the VR experience and the outdoor promo lounge, they could have created much more excitement and word of mouth buzz if the VR piece had been better or maybe by adding some creepy cosplayers to the waiting area, and even choosing not to brand the all-black temporary dome they built was a missed opportunity. For many passers-by, they’d be clueless as to what that was for and wouldn’t make the effort to ask someone. Money not well spent.
Yep, even though we were successfully escaping the “other convention” that week, living out our joys in the land of fantasy, the spectre of a Trump reign was mentioned multiple times by panelists in the vein of “oh shit, this fictional dystopian world our show imagines might just come true, say sometime around January 2017.” The comic-con crowd knows an evil emperor when it sees one and has spent countless hours living vicariously through heroes fighting for freedom and to vanquish some form of oppression or another. So, it was a safe quip to make when Brad Neely said that his “White Power Rangers” satirical sketch from his upcoming Adult Swim show was way less funny now than it had been a year ago when he wrote it and a little too prophetic. And then there was this guy…
Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments below to let us know your favorite part of SDCC this year.