San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Some excerpts provided by SDCC 2016 scheduling guide.

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Author: Ariel Landrum

Taking over downtown San Diego from Preview Night Wednesday, July 20th to Sunday, July 24th was another year of San Diego Comic-Con. Some people train for triathlons, but SDCC is their endurance sport for the pop-culture klan. Veteran attendees start about a month out, scheduling their four to five 16-hours days down to the last second. They review and rehearse what they learned from previous years to plan and pack so no minute is squandered, and no convention freebie is lost. The best personal trainer really is the fear of missing out.

 Although the San Diego Convention Center’s main hall alone is over 500K of contiguous exhibit space, the convention has morphed into including side cons, parties, and “activations” (as the PR folks call their off-site promotional installations), which are spread more than a mile across, in every direction. This year, the event has expanded into the digital world by introducing the Comic-Con HQ, which streamed curtain panels online, and Hollywood studios increasing their square footage through virtual reality.

With options inside and outside the convention hall, with increasing length of lines, it’s easy to see how a novice can miss out on memorable experiences.

Below are People of Con’s Top 15 Experiences at SDCC 2016:

1. The X-Men: Tomb of Apocalypse Escape Room:

Wednesday, July 20 to Sunday, July 24, 2016, from 10:00 am to dusk in the main exhibit hall

The first ever challenge room installed at Comic-Con in its long history an obvious development given the current craze for such activities. Fans had to enter the title vault and solve a series of challenges to escape; you had to personally unlock Apocalypse’s coffin and pull a key from his cold, dead fingers.

2. American Horror Story VR Activation:

Wednesday, July 20 to Sunday, July 24, 2016, from 10:00 am to dusk at Hilton Bayfront Park

Attendees are laid down on a plank in a grain shed, and an orderly covered them with a paper hospital blanket, then helped them with the visor. Over the next 10 minutes, you were pushed around in a body bag by a creepy nurse, burned at the stake by monks, dropped down an elevator shaft, and had increasingly bigger items thrown at your face by an insane clown.

3. Mr. Robot VR Activation:

Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24, 2016, from dusk to dawn in the outdoor arena

Debuting at Comic-Con, Mr. Robot VR is a 13-minute narrative experience written and directed by showrunner Sam Esmail that takes viewers on a flashback journey with lead character Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) as he remembers an early encounter with his dealer-turned-love-interest Shayla (Frankie Shaw). The result isn’t simply a VR technical demo; it’s a legitimate storytelling experience that captures the atmosphere and sensibilities of the show and brings it into an entirely new medium. The pop-up installation included a complete reproduction of Mr. Robot’s computer store from the show.

4. Star Trek Beyond Premiere:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at 8:00 pm, with doors opening at 5:30 pm at  the Embarcadero Marina Park

Star Trek Beyond, the next installment in the Star Trek franchise, will have its exclusive red carpet World Premiere at Comic-Con, marking it the first-ever open-air IMAX world premiere, according to Paramount Pictures. The event included appearances by the film’s cast and crew and a live concert performance by the San Diego symphony orchestra.

5. Snowden Panel:

Thursday, July 21, 2016, at 11:45 am in Hall H

Open Road Films presents Oliver Stone’s Snowden, featuring never-before-seen footage and a live conversation with legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone on his first visit to Comic-Con, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Edward Snowden), Shailene Woodley (Lindsay Mills), and Zachary Quinto (Glenn Greenwald).

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Mycroft Holmes Panel:

Thursday, July 21, 2016, at 12:00 pm in Room 5AB

NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes a special appearance at Comic-Con to launch his new comic book, Mycroft Holmes: and the Apocalypse Handbook, which debuts exclusively at SDCC with a special variant cover. This exciting series is a brand new standalone comic book adventure that uncovers the secrets of the elder Holmes brother. Join series artist Joshua Cassara (The Troop) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on stage for an hour of exclusives and insider reveals. Each audience member will receive an exclusive show art card.

7. Marvel’s Luke Cage Panel:

Thursday, July 21, 2016, 5:45 pm in Ballroom 20

The cast of the upcoming Netflix original series Marvel’s Luke Cage makes their first-ever appearance, answering questions and giving fans a look at exclusive footage from the highly anticipated series ahead of its September 30 global debut on Netflix.

8. Archer Live on a Cruise Ship:

Thursday, July 21, 2016, at 8:00 pm, with boarding beginning at 6:00 pm

The entire Archer cast performed live aboard a 222-foot-long yacht at the 5th Avenue Landing. Additionally, fans enjoyed live entertainment, food, drinks, giveaways, and a photo booth and lounge while the yacht was docked at the marina.

9. Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe Panel:

Friday, July 22, 2016, at 10:15 am in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Cartoon Network is bringing together the talents of Steven Universe for a first-of-its-kind live musical experience for fans at San Diego Comic-Con! The series cast and musical minds behind Steven Universe will give a never-before-seen performance of the series’ critically acclaimed music, as well as exclusive previews from upcoming episodes and an extended Q&A. Scheduled to appear are Steven Universe gems creator Rebecca Sugar, writer and storyboard artist Jeff Liu, writer Ben Levin, Zach Callison (Steven), Estelle (Garnet), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst), Deedee Magno Hall (Pearl), and Charlyne Yi (Ruby), accompanied by series composers Aivi Tran and Steven “Surasshu” Velema and moderated by former supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey.

10. AMC’s The Walking Dead Panel:

Friday, July 22, 2016, at 1:00 pm in Hall H

Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha Williams), Michael Cudlitz (Sergeant Abraham Ford), Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Christian Serratos (Rosita Espinosa), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) join executive producer and showrunner Scott M. Gimple, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero in a panel moderated by Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist, Talking Dead). The panelists discussed the shocking finale of season 6 and a sneak peek into season 7, debuting in October on AMC.

11. Batman: The Killing Joke World Premiere:

Friday, July 22, 2016, at 9:00 pm in Ballroom 20

Delve into the demented history of the Dark Knight’s arch nemesis, The Joker, as he sets out to prove insanity is only a horrifying moment away for anyone in the latest DC Universe Original Movie, Batman: The Killing Joke. Based on one of the bestselling graphic novels of all time, this R-rated, feature-length animated film brings together some of the key creative team behind Batman: The Animated Series with executive producer Bruce Timm (Justice League: Gods & Monsters) at the helm and Kevin Conroy (Justice League), and Mark Hamill (Star Wars) returning to their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively. Hear how the graphic novel transitioned to an animated thriller, and then witness the world premiere of this highly anticipated film. Panelists include Tara Strong (Teen Titans, Batman: Arkham Games) as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) as Commissioner James Gordon, as well as director Sam Liu (Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman) and Harvey and Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Batman: Broken City).

12. Warner Bros. Panel:

Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 11:30 am in Hall H

Fans saw the first look at the Wonder Woman trailer, which breaks ground as the first cinematic superhero movie led by a woman based on a legendary idea of feminine power and wisdom. They also featured the first glimpse of the upcoming Justice League movie, and the studio didn’t disappoint. Although the members of the League did little more than come out and wave, the nearly three minutes of footage more than made up for it.

13. Star Trek Panel:

Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 2:00 pm in Hall H

September 8, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s first broadcast. What began as a TV show became a window into the future and a reflection of our greatest hopes and dreams. By envisioning a world where technology and science improve the human condition and where peace and unity transcend conflict and separation, Star Trek has inspired children, parents, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and viewers worldwide. It’s also spurred countless real-world innovations and “firsts,” giving a name to a Space Shuttle (the Enterprise), launching one of the first and most passionate worldwide fandoms, and featuring the first interracial kiss on American network television. Join William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), Scott Bakula (Captain Jonathan Archer), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Commander J.G. Worf), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Brent Spiner (Lieutenant Commander Data) for a conversation moderated by Bryan Fuller, executive producer of the new Star Trek television series coming to CBS All Access, following its network premiere in 2017.

14. Marvel Studios Panel:

Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 5:30 pm in Hall H

Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige and special guests look inside the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. The panel revealed concept art and new logos for many of Marvel’s upcoming films, including Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Captain Marvel. For Doctor Strange, Guardians, and Spiderman: Homecoming, teaser trailers were also shown. Only the Doctor Strange footage has been officially released; the unattended will just have to wait for the other two. The cast and crew for Black Panther, Guardians, Doctor Strange, and Spiderman all took the stage at one point or another during the panel hosted by the Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick. Marvel also fit in two other announcements during the panel: Guardians is coming to Disney’s California Adventure, and Brie Larson will be playing Captain Marvel.

15. Anything Goes with John Barrowman Panel:

Sunday, July 24, 2016, at 2:00 pm in Room 6BCF

John Barrowman (Arrow, Torchwood, Doctor Who) is an entertainer with a capital E: He sings; he dances; he acts; he presents; he judges. Ask him anything. He burst onto the stage for his Comic-Con International spotlight panel with an infectious energy that ignited his question-and-answer session with few limits and many laughs.

Below are People of Con’s 2 honorable mentions:

1. Bones Panel:

Friday, July 22, 2016, 11:15 am in Ballroom 20

Come bid farewell to Bones. It’s the final Comic-Con Q&A for fan-favorites Emily Deschanel (Temperance “Bones” Brennan), David Boreanaz (Agent Seeley Booth), TJ Thyne (Jack Hodgins), Michaela Conlin (Angela Montenegro-Hodgins), Tamara Taylor (Camille “Cam” Saroyan), and John Boyd (Agent Philip Aubrey), as well as executive producers Jonathan Collier and Michael Peterson as they begin production on the 12th and last season of FOX’s long-running comedic procedural beloved by millions of fans around the world. Moderated by Dave Thomas. This panel would have made it to the Top 15 if the cast did not sing the “Fan Question” song so long that it limited time during the Q&A portion. 

2. The Psychology of the Marvel TV Universe Panel:

Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 2:00 pm in Room 5AB

Writers Craig Titley from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lindsey Allen from Agent Carter, Christos Gage from Daredevil, and Scott Reynolds from Jessica Jones talk about writing the TV shows and analyzing the characters they create with psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions). Moderated by Brian Ward (The Arkham Sessions). This panel would have made it to the Top 15 if they had provided visual aids or hand-outs to help novices understand the psychological terms. 

3. Pokémon Go Panel:

Sunday, July 24, 2016, at 2:00 pm in Room 5AB

John Hanke, founder of Niantic and pioneer of real-world gaming, and host Chris Hardwick will discuss the past, present, and future of extending games beyond the screen and re-imagining reality through the lens of Ingress and Pokémon GO. This panel would have made it to the Top 15 if they had provided attendees with rare or limited edition Pokémon, as they do in other Pokémon events.

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