From the ConNewRecaps, Reports & Reviews

Offsites at SDCC 2022

by Transmute Jun

Over the past decade, offsite activations have become an important part of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), to the point where many attendees devote at least one day (possibly two) of their SDCC time to experience them. Despite the 3 year absence, SDCC 2022 (held July 21-24) was no exception to this trend. Offsites took over much of the space around the convention center, extending into the Gaslamp and PetCo areas.

Lumon boardroom from Severance

Without question, the most impressive offsite for 2022 was Apple TV+’s Severance. This 20-30 minute interactive experience was thrilling for fans of the show, while also fun for those who were unfamiliar with the property. Attendees were taken into Lumon Industries to be ‘severed’, and were able to tour many of the rooms used in the series. These rooms were furnished with highly detailed props (many screen-used) and hosted by Lumon personnel, who welcomed the ‘new employees’ and interacted with them in an engaging manner. The only negative to this offsite was the difficulty of getting in. Registration spots for the day were made available each morning at 6 am and disappeared in seconds. The standby line took hours and was capped early. Yet even those who had waited all day felt that the experience had been worth the time investment. 

Netflix’s The Gray Man

Other notable offsites included House of the Dragon, The Gray Man, and FX. At House of the Dragon (an upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series from HBO), attendees interacted with residents of Fleabottom and Goldcloaks (soldiers of the town watch) before being taken on a tour of a dragon egg hatchery. Netflix’s The Gray Man offered an escape room experience, where attendees moved in pairs through (and on top of) a damaged tram car, testing their skill, strength and speed. At FX, attendees wandered through a tree-lined labyrinth, experiencing activations from American Horror Story, What We Do in the Shadows, and Little Demon.

Dungeons & Dragons Tavern

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves offered a reserved tavern experience in the Gaslamp. Attendees were escorted into a fantasy-style tavern, given a glowing green drink and then allowed to mingle with the owner and ‘patrons’ of the establishment. The experience culminated with a dragon attack on the tavern, which left fans excited for the upcoming film. 

Pizza Poppa cart

In the PetCo Interactive Zone, CBS’ Ghosts encouraged attendees to take part in activities and earn scout badges, which could be exchanged for prizes. Close by, Nintendo Switch offered highly coveted reservations to test out new games and pick up swag. In front of the Children’s Museum, Fox’s Krapopolis held a carnival which included a massive slide. Behind the Marriott Marquis hotel, Dragonball hosted a large space where attendees could play games and pick up swag items. Dr. Strange/Pizza Poppa, Bob’s Burgers and NBC/Universal/SyFy photo ops took over the sidewalks and lawns surrounding the Omni hotel.

The ‘surprise hit’ amongst offsite activations was Disney Bundleworks, hidden behind Abbott Elementary and tucked into an unassuming corner of the Hilton Bayfront Lawn, where attendees played carnival games to earn tickets, which could be exchanged for prizes. The lines for this offsite were often longer than those for the nearby Indigo Ballroom, located inside the hotel.

New for 2022 were two offsites that required purchase of tickets to enter. Paramount+’s 10 Forward Lounge was inspired by the iconic venue from the Star Trek universe, where paid $60 reservations gave attendees access, food, drinks, and interactions with Starfleet personnel (there was also a more expensive VIP experience available). Mooby’s (fast food franchise from numerous Kevin Smith films) had attendees purchase a $30 meal to enter and experience the locale. Both activations ‘sold out’, so it is entirely possible that there will be more paid offsites in 2023.

Notably absent was the Walking Dead Deadquarters, which had been a staple for many years. For 2022, there was no publicly available Walking Dead offsite, although the series took over the patio at the Hilton Gaslamp for a private party on Friday night, whose invitations were highly coveted.

Offsite activations have become a significant and essential part of the SDCC experience, and FoCC Blog looks forward to many more such experiences in the years to come.

 Did you enjoy offsites at SDCC 2022? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!

Transmute Jun

Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.