Five Things We Loved at San Diego Comic-Con 2018

Halloween Castle Rock Deadpool
New Line Cinema / Hulu / FOX

While less studios brought properties to Comic Con this year there was no lack of activations at the conventions to help fans geek out. The activations were bigger and better this year with shows and films like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Castle Rock’, ‘Jack Ryan’, ‘The Good Place’ and Taco Bell’s ‘Demolition Man’ just to name a few. But while the activations were plentiful some studios were not.

This year felt different than years past from a programming perspective – which felt somewhat underwhelming. Which actually helped drive off-site events. But one thing fans need to know is that it costs a lot to bring in talent for panels. So if a studio or network doesn’t have a property or upcoming release to promote – it doesn’t always make sense to bring in talent and absorb the cost for talent, their agents, PR team along with any friends and family that come with them.

All that being said there was still plenty on the schedule like Glass, Halloween, Venom, Fantastic Beasts and a bunch of Superhero properties to fill out the major studio slate. In my opinion Comic Con overall was down this year but that also made lines slightly shorter and allowed fans to venture out beyond the panels to explore the convention floor and off-site exhibits even more. Which proves why experiential activations are more important than ever.

So which stuff did we love the most at Comic-Con 2018?  Narrowing it down has proven to be incredibly difficult – but here are five things in no particular order that you will want to check out in the months to come.

HALLOWEEN

Halloween 2018
Blumhouse Productions / Miramax

Michael Myers filled up Hall H along with Jamie Lee Curtis and David Gordon Green who was on hand to share with fans new footage from Halloween! The panel included a new trailer cut and new footage from the film that captures the heart of the Halloween franchise with every frame that graced the screen.

Jamie Lee Curtis was asked why she chose to come back as Laurie Strode once again in the franchise that launched her career and made her one of the original scream queens.

“It is 40 years later she didn’t have any health services and she has carried the drama and PSTD all these years later. There comes a point where you are not that trauma that the story portrays you to be. The person (Michael) she knows is coming back and I am going to take back the legacy of my life and you don’t own me anymore (Michael.) ” – said Curtis.

She followed that up with what he thinks makes Myers so effective.

“What makes Michael Myers so terrifying is the randomness. Then you introduce him to these innocent kids and it is a terrifying thing.”

Jame Lee shared a touching and heartfelt moment with a fan during the Q&A portion of the panel that has survived a home invasion. The fan took to the mic stand and professed that ‘Halloween’ in a weird way actually saved his life. Someone had cut his phone lines and broken into his house with a knife many years prior and he immediately thought “What would Jamie Lee Curtis do…” in Halloween. Using that thought process kept him safe and he was able to escape. The two shared a hug after he shared his emotional charged story with Curtis. It was a touching moment for everyone that experienced it in Hall H. Watch the moment here. 

As for the footage itself that was shown, fans of the original Halloween will not be disappointed in the approach the filmmakers took with the beloved horror icon. At one point we get a POV shot from Myers just before it pulls into the scene. The one clip that was shared included one continuous shot of Michael Myers both in and out of frame going on mini killing spree on Halloween night. Weaving in and out of homes with first a hammer only to find the icon knife sitting on the counter that he picks up to finish his killing spree inside another home before exiting onto the street into a sea of unsuspecting sugar laced trick or treaters.

The scene drew applause from the audience just before we saw a new trailer. We don’t have the new footage just yet but until then you can check out Jamie Lee Curtis’ interview with Entertainment Weekly below along with the original trailer.

 

CASTLE ROCK

Castle Rock
Hulu

Castle Rock may be the most notorious fictional town created by Stephen King, and it’s also the setting of a new Hulu Original series, premiering July 25.

Hulu had a strong presence at Comic-Con with the Stephen King property that included a panel with the cast, a world premiere screening of the pilot episode, fan event signing, a short documentary about Castle Rock along with a  massive off-site activation that allowed fans to explore the world a bit deeper by staying at the ‘Castle Rock’ bed and breakfast. The activation immersed fans into some key scenes and top notch actors.

In the short documentary, we visit the actual places in Maine and explore the actual events which inspired King to write about Castle Rock. Then, we learn how the co-creators of the on-screen version of Castle Rock incorporated the town’s dark history into this original story set inside the Stephen King universe.

The documentary clocks in at over 23 minutes and is as beautifully shot as the series itself. Hulu brought the key players to their panel where they discuss a little bit more about their characters and the Stephen King universe. During the panel Hulu also gave fans a first look at the series with a World Premiere screening.

Boom Howdy also added to the Castle Rock lore by hosting our own off-site scavenger hunt the drop clues about the series throughout the week.

 

DEADPOOL 2

Deadpool
You may be thinking, ‘Deadpool 2!?’ I thought that film was already in theaters. Well, you would be correct. But FOX was at Comic-Con to promote the upcoming Blu-ray release for the sequel – and promote it they did!

Everything from toilet seat covers in every bathroom at the convention center featuring Deadpool’s face to a “Super Duper Dance Party” that featured an animatronic Deadpool along side a full Showbiz Pizza band played popular songs all while they sang and danced.

Some members of the press were lucky enough to check out the Air bnb Suite that was setup exactly like Deadpool’s apartment in the film.

They followed all of this up with a director’s cut screening of the sequel that held nothing back. Considering all of this was for the blu-ray release it was quite impressive.

 

 

GODZILLA
Godzilla King of Monsters

When the first ‘Godzilla’ movie was teased by Warner Brothers Pictures’ / Legendary at SDCC in 2014 it gave me chills. That was only a 30 second clip. Four years later we Legendary dropped a full trailer for their upcoming film ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters.” The monsters were unleashed in a big way for the official trailer debut and filled the audience with electricity much like Godzilla himself when he erupts!

The next chapter in Warner Brothers Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse: an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. It is awesome seeing them putting together a such a big and serious movie, then adding in the likes of Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah. The kind of combination that’s sure to delight the likes of kids and parents alike.

Godzilla and friends (that should be the name of the movie!?) stomps into theaters May 30, 2019!

 

 

BUMBLEBEE

Bumblebee
I will admit, I am not a huge fan of the Transformer  franchise. That being said they are bringing the this film back to the era I grew up in and remembered them so fondly as a child. On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.

At the core of the the film I would say I am not all that interested but with the film being set in 1987 and the treatment we saw at Comic-Con I would definitely give this one a shot.

You may be asking why this was one of my favorite moments at Comic-Con if I’m not 100% stoked for the film. That is mainly because John Cena, who plays bad guy Agent Burns, was in attendance and participated on the Hall H panel. He stole the show! His charismatic personality shined once again as he took questions from the audience. Answering each one thoughtfully and with purpose bringing a sense of humor and energy that is second to none. I for one can’t wait to see him in more films in the future and loved his role in Kay Cannon’s ‘Blockers.’

One other thing of note is the ‘Bumblebee’ director bringing the story to life. Travis Knight. If they name sounds familiar you would be right. Travis is the CEO of the stop motion powerhouse Laika Entertainment. It will be interested to see how the film plays out moving from stop motion to full on live action with CGI elements.

Lastly there was a special guest that came to the microphone to ask a question to the panelist. Voice actor,Peter Cullen, who is the voice of Optimus Prime asked Travis Knight what it takes for an Autobot to get his own movie. It was a fantastic ending to a really fun panel.

One thing is for sure it should be a fun popcorn movie when it hits theaters on December 21, 2018.

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

I wouldn’t be fully doing my job if I didn’t mention several other activations that were fantastic. Jack Ryan, Taco Bell Demolition Man, The Walking Dead Experience and Mr. Mercedes were all all incredible off-site immersive experiences for fans.

 

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