Editor’s Note: SDCC 2022 was a memorable event for those who attended. Our three writers, Jason, Michael, and Scott, banded together to share their experiences in this combined article. Enjoy!!!
By Jason Delgado
The Return of SDCC
After three long years, July 20th-24th, 2022 (which includes Preview Night), the wait for the return of the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) was over! Sure, there was Comic Con Special Edition back in November of 2021, but that was a much smaller convention, minus the big names and significant panels, with minimal off-sites, too. The chaotic SDCC that we all know and love was back in full force.
So how did it Feel to be back?
It felt so great to be back; better than destroying a Death Star! It felt like coming home for me; wandering the exhibit hall, off-sites, and being in Hall H all felt so comforting. It was like seeing an old friend and picking up right where you left off, which for myself, and probably many others, was an opportunity to catch up with some pals for the first time since the pandemic began.
Preview Night (July 20th) kicked off for me by meeting with fellow Friends of Comic Con (FoCC) writer Michael Pea for the Netflix-sponsored Gray Man off-site together. I’ve never done an escape room before, but being on the train from the film and working together to solve a few puzzles within thirty seconds in each section certainly felt like one. The finale race on top of the train got our hearts pounding, probably much like the action-packed Ryan-Gosling-Chris-Evans-starring movie itself!
I met up with Alyssa Franks of FoCC and another Michael at the House of the Dragon off-site. The best part of that experience for me (besides sitting on the iron throne at the end of it) was interacting with the actors outside, who dressed up authentically in various Medieval wardrobes. I found the actors to be funny, charming and dedicated to staying in character. They had me laughing on more than one occasion, which made the off-site even better.
On Thursday morning, I attended the special Legion M handprint ceremony for the man, the myth, and the legend: William Shatner. A feeling of witnessing history washed over me as I watched him do the ceremony, interacting with the new Captain Kirk (Paul Wesley), as well as talking with legendary critic Leonard Maltin. Shatner and Wesley had fun chemistry together, while Shatner, as always, brought the jokes and funny stories.
I rushed over from downtown to the Omni hotel, to see film critic Chris Gore and Film Threat’s panel entitled: Future Indies You Must See. There are so many well-done, interesting, and entertaining, smaller-budget movies that hardly anyone has ever heard of, so it’s great that Gore and my fellow Film Threat team puts a spotlight on indie films.
Gore, not the former vice president of the United States, has been on a mission to spread the word about the epic Indian film RRR. He said that fans really need to check it out on the big screen to get the full effect of its scope, as well as to see the audience reaction.
I also attended the Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie panel. I was unsure coming into it, but the film looks like it has a lot of laughs, and the panel certainly did. Hugh Grant, of all people, in his first SDCC appearance, had Hall H cracking up with multiple jokes having to do with his unusual kinks.
Next up, I interviewed Johnny Rico himself, Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) along with the cast and crew of his new show that premiered on July 28th on Popcornflix, called Salvage Marines. It’s a fun, futuristic, sci-fi series that also has social commentary on contemporary times, as most great works of science fiction usually do. I had a blast hearing about their behind-the-scenes stories, which I can’t wait to share on the blog. Truly, there isn’t a nicer, livelier group of people making a television show today, and the show is quite good! Please check out and support Salvage Marines, so that fans get to see future seasons!
More About my Busy SDCC Schedule
My Thursday night capped off with the premiere screening of Chris Gore’s Attack of the Doc. It’s a funny, nostalgia-filled journey for fans of G4 TV and its seminal show. Even if you’ve never seen the show, the documentary gives you enough insight to appreciate the juvenile hijinks that usually ensued from former Attack of the Show co-hosts Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira. The film also highlights the differences in our culture, and how we consume media, since the show aired.
My Friday was not so bad due to getting the autograph of the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, with comic book artist Todd McFarlane. The lining up process was chaotic, although that is nothing new at SDCC, but I was able to obtain the autograph that I wanted. I also got to hear Ozzy’s famous laugh, after a fan next to me told him, “Ozzy, you f-ing rule!”
Next, I walked into the middle of The Walking Dead panel without a wait. The cast talked wistfully about what it was like to film the final season of the hugely influential show. Norman Reedus (Daryl) delivered an emotional message to the fans, while moderator and host of The Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick, shed tears talking about it.
The next panel was for the comic book BRZRKR in Hall H, and that was the first time that this hall had hosted a panel about a comic book. Keanu Reeves and the other creators were in attendance, and it was refreshing to hear Reeves say that he’s been a comic fan since he was a child, much like many of us at SDCC.
My Friday evening was for reconnecting and rejoining my group of Hall H line friends mentioned here. Unfortunately, one of our friends could not attend due to contracting COVID-19, with the virus possibly being a reason why it felt like fewer people were in attendance this year. But hey, fewer people around made it easier getting into panels, so I will take it!
Saturday was the big day in Hall H, with many interesting panels, but none bigger than Marvel Studios. The electricity in the room could be cut like a knife, while Marvel President Kevin Feige delivered news of new films and brought out various casts of upcoming movies. Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt got choked up about discussing the final film in the popular franchise.
However, the biggest emotional moments of the panel and of the entire convention for me, came during the Wakanda Forever portion of the presentation. Chadwick Boseman seems like he was such a remarkable human being, and he definitely was indelible as an actor, so the feeling in the room was already bittersweet without him there. Director Ryan Coogler told a story about being at SDCC a few years back for the first Black Panther panel, and feeling an overly excited Boseman who pressed his hand down on Coogler’s shoulder as the trailer played. Coogler said that he could feel Boseman’s hand on his shoulder now, which was such a touching sentiment that brought tears to myself, and most likely many others in attendance. The Marvel panel was the definitive highlight of the Con for me, because of the strong emotions of joy and sadness that it brought to the audience.
Saturday night provided even more excitement for me when I attended the Asylum Studios panel. Moderators Joe Bob Briggs (The Last Drive In) and Diania “Darcy the Mailgirl” Prince (Fangoria) are both film critic heroes of mine. I grew up watching Briggs tell behind the scenes, long-winded yet fascinating film stories and cheesy jokes on TNT’s Monstervision, and Prince is a phenomenal horror movie writer with an extensive knowledge of film history. The panel guests were top-notch as well, with Casper Van Dien, Richard Grieco, and Sean Young all spilling interesting stories about their latest projects for the studio. Van Dien’s story about his production of Sleeping Beauty takes the cake though. He said that he had a meeting with a mobster who placed two loaded guns on a table, and told him that he wanted his daughter to be the lead in the movie. Casper said no, the film already starred his own daughter, Grace Van Dien, of Stranger Things fame. Way to stay strong Casper!
Sunday at SDCC is usually a day for me to relax or skip altogether, but this time I decided to get up early to brave the standby line for the Severance off-site. The show itself is strange yet wonderful to watch, so I was quite eager to experience what other attendees were raving about. Unfortunately, after hours of waiting, I was told that there was no chance of making it in, so I cut my losses. I did, however, meet a couple of very nice fans of the show in line, which, besides hanging out with my brother and his fiance, was the highlight of my day.
Shared experiences are really what make SDCC special to me, so I was quite fortunate to have had so many at this one. Meeting cool people and experiencing the thrill of the crowd in Hall H is the driving force for me to keep coming back to the joyful madness of it all, year after year.
Even though COVID-19 is still a thing, and while we as a society will have to weigh the pros and cons of everything that we do now, thankfully I can say that I had an amazing time being back at the event: SDCC.
SDCC 2022: An Exciting Return to San Diego!
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) returned with a sense of joy as fans returned to the city by the sea and reconnected with friends from near and far! Even before the start of the convention, one could feel the excitement in the air. SDCC was back!
To be absolutely fair, this was not the usual SDCC we saw before COVID-19. The consensus of many attendees is that SDCC 2022 was somewhere between 70 to 85% of normal. Even at this level, there were panels hosted by the movie studios (DC, Marvel), the streaming services (Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, Hulu, and Disney+) and even the broadcast networks, which made appearances both in the convention center with panels and at several off-sites.
There were so many activations, however, I only had the opportunity to take part in three of them. I had fun at The Gray Man and House of the Dragon offsites on Wednesday and Dungeons & Dragons during the convention.
For The Gray Man activation, I was teamed with my esteemed colleague, Jason Delgado. His quick thinking helped me…I mean us, solve all of the puzzles in time to become newest agents.
HBO’s House of the Dragon activation recreated the Keep of the Dragons. There were actors dressed as local townspeople who interacted with the guests. Inside the Keep, there were other characters who directed us to choose a dragon egg, which we placed in a special place for it to hatch. We were eventually led to the throne room, where we were allowed to have our picture taken on the Iron Throne!
The Dungeons and Dragons activation took over a downtown nightclub during the day. It used a tavern theme where guests were ushered into the tavern by the serving staff dressed in medieval costumes. Inside, guests were served a refreshing beverage before a dragon flew by the tavern and blew its smoky breath at the guests. It was a lot of fun, yet sadly I couldn’t keep a lovely themed cup.
Most Favorite Moment
Without a doubt, my most memorable time at the convention was attending the truly spectacular and phenomenal panel presented by Amazon Prime Video for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The company brought their A+ game and demonstrated how every other streaming service, studio, and television series should present a panel!
The panel started with a performance by a live orchestra (and an incredible solo violinist) that was conducted by Bear McCreary, the composer of the music for the series. After this phenomenal performance, the moderator was introduced.
The moderator was Stephen Colbert, the late-night host who is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Tolkien and his acerbic wit. He was the perfect moderator as he weaved his way through interviews with the cast and production team while introducing new and exciting footage. There was never a dull moment during the presentation. One of the showrunners, J.D. Payne, even spoke Elvish to the audience!
Least Favorite Moment
SDCC, unfortunately, is suffering from their success with the problem that comes from hosting the thousands of fans who attend Comic Con. For example, attempting to attend a panel in Hall H has become a nightmare of epic proportions!
The advent of the use of the wrist bands to attend the first panel alleviated the problem for a while, but then new problems emerged with people abusing the system. It also did not help that each night they were at least an hour late starting to hand out the wristbands. Also, no one from the staff overseeing the area seemed to know what was happening. SDCC really needs to come up with a better system for admission to Hall H.
Even with the problems, it was great to return to San Diego Comic-Con. It was easy to forget just how awesome and wonderful it was pre-COVID-19. And even though Hall H was both incredible and dreadful at the same time, it was great being back in that magical place. Overall, bring on next year’s show!
Great to be Back in San Diego!
By Scott C.
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2022 came and went as fast as DC’s the Flash speeding through the Time Force, but it was sure great being back with fellow pop-culture fans! Now, did this year show meet my standards? Let’s find out:
First, it was lovely seeing my friends again after 2 (long) years of not being able to, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And like with every convention, I also made new friends!
Secondly, SDCC 2022 felt like the world was closer to being back to normal. Sure, masks were required to enter the convention center, and attendees had to show proof of being vaccinated, or being negative of COVID-19. But the strong programming, showfloor, atmosphere, and the decent number of offsites, made it so easy to forget about any dumb virus for a few days. The Her Universe Fashion Show, which was also celebrating its return to its in-person form, was entertaining, as well. (For a more detailed look of the show, click here.)
Third, Funko’s giant booth, called “Funkoville”, the company’s first ever Hall H panel, and Funko Fundays, strengthened SDCC’s enjoyment power by 3000, in my opinion. Now, was Funko best in show at SDCC 2022? Well, you have to stay tuned for a more in-depth review coming up about Funko visiting SDCC 2022. *Wink*
Lastly, Hall H Saturday still rules thanks to its impressive lineup of panels that ends with Marvel Studios owning the night. Also, being a fan of Tatiana Maslany’s work, it was cool seeing her onstage promoting She-Hulk. It was also great to see Sir Patrick Stewart talking about the final season of Picard. To me, he is a legend in the acting community, but especially in Star Trek lore, playing Jean-Luc Picard.
Of course, there were some problems at SDCC 2022, like the not-so-lovely line management at certain booths/signings (I, too, faced the Ozzy signing line chaos as Jason did), and the start of a Hall H line for a popular day still needs some tweaking. Lastly, certain specialized badge-holders were still able to line up for things sooner than any general badge-holder could. The online SDCC lottery system also had its fair share of glitches and weird formatting that I hope get fixed next year. And there were too many awesome items for sale to which I could not say no… never mind, that is not an SDCC problem, but I love to hurt my wallet too much!
Overall, SDCC returned like a Jedi, in that no issue could stop it from being a good show. So yes, the event for sure met my standards in being a fun show! So, bring on 2023!
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