Comic Con 2016 Recap: Day Three – Baby Groot, ‘Nuff Said

If you’ve heard of Comic Con, you’ve probably heard of all the lines and all the waiting. You pretty much have to wait in a line for everything — panels, photo ops, bathroom, food, the elevator to your hotel. Well, the wait is over! For this post at least. It’s finally time for my Comic Con recap for Saturday, AKA Day Three, AKA Marvel Day! Be sure to check out my Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday recaps first. Now on to the recap, where my waiting was actually just beginning…

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#SquadGoals (Hall H Line)

Waiting is always better with a nice group of people. So, I’m glad I had these cool kids pictured above, plus a couple others. We chatted and played games from Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning while waiting in the Next Day Line (NDL) for Hall H. The infamous Hall H is Comic Con’s largest panel room. It’s where the biggest of the big shots present, everything from The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones to entire movie lineups from studios like Warner Bros. and Marvel. Hall H is a big deal. Depending on the day at least. And Saturday was THEE day.

Our group got in the NDL around 8pm on Friday, hoping to receive wristbands that would guarantee us a seat in Hall H for the Saturday panels. At around 2am on Saturday, we learned that all the wristbands had been distributed. NOOOOO. But we didn’t give up hope! The wristbands are only an approximation of the hall’s capacity. So there’s still a chance to get in even if you didn’t receive one.

And so the waiting continued…

Serious props to most of our group that camped out in line overnight only for jerks like me to join later on in the normal hours of the morning. There was more waiting and standing by a pole for some shade. Then around 10am, we had started moving. They were finally letting people into Hall H! We eventually made it into the “Chutes” under the white tents — this signals that you are VERY close. In fact, our chute was the next line to go, and there were only maybe 20 people in front of us.

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Ladies in Line (Hall H Line)

Oh, the EXCITEMENT! But then everyone stopped moving. Twitter was telling us that the room was almost filled to capacity. We got close but didn’t make it into the first 11am panel, which was for Warner Bros.

I was really looking forward to the Warner Bros’s panel — I was super impressed with their presentation last year, which included the largest surround screen I’ve ever seen. And I’m also biased because I used to work at WB. Even though I’m more of a Marvel fan than DC, their upcoming projects did seem promising — Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But alas, I was not there to witness any of these panels firsthand.

We continued to wait. Over 20 hours total. The communication with the workers was awful — some of us could’ve left to do other things or USE THE BATHROOM if we had known they weren’t going to let us in anytime soon. I kept convincing myself to hold it just in case they decided to spontaneously let us in. The anticipation was seriously the worst. We later learned that there was a mess-up with the lines and hundreds of people were accidentally let in before us who shouldn’t have been. And even though there were extra seats in Hall H, the workers failed to let in more people between panels. It was a bit of a disaster.

The panels we should’ve gotten into but missed were: Warner Bros, Star Trek, Aliens: 30th Anniversary, and Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass.

It was 5pm. We were still holding out for the Marvel panel that started at 5:30. At this point, our group was LITERALLY the FIRST people in the line. If they even let in just 10 people, we would be that 10 people. Or even if just one person…every man for himself! And FINALLY… There was activity on the walkies. The workers stood up. They started counting us. The lucky few that would make it in. IT WAS HAPPENING. They unhooked that chain, and it was like FREE AT LAST!

It felt so good to walk inside, into the air conditioning, and into the pitch blackness that was Hall H. We were ushered to a section that had a few open seats available, mostly due to the fact that there was a giant pillar obstructing much of your view. Our group had to separate, but there were a good amount of double seats, so at least we could buddy-up. We came in for the end of the EW panel, but mostly I was just too relieved to process anything.

And then the moment that we all WAITED FOR.

MARVEL. Cue girly squeals.

I was super happy to see Chris Hardwick moderating because he’s simply the best. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, joined him. And they got right to it, starting off with this showing up on the screens all over the room:

blackpanther
Release Date: July 6, 2018

Black Panther hadn’t even started filming yet, so clearly there’s no footage to show, but they brought out the entire cast and director anyway! Director Ryan Coogler came out first and introduced castmembers Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, and Danai Gurira. Such a stellar cast, right?? They seem as excited as we are to see this character and story come to life in his own movie. Black Panther isn’t released until July 6, 2018, so it’s going to be awhile…but what a pleasant surprise to see them at Comic Con already!

thorragnarok
Release Date: November 3, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok was only five days into shooting, and currently being shot on the other side of the world. So while the cast or crew couldn’t be with us, we were shown a little video that answers the question on everyone’s mind after Captain America: Civil War — where in the world was Thor and Bruce Banner??

FOOTAGE RECAP: The HILARIOUS video was filmed like a mockumentary and, well, showed us exactly what Chris Hemworth’s Thor was up to during those events. He moved to Australia and got an overly average roommate named Daryl, who later helps Thor write emails to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Thor has one of those conspiracy theory walls on the Infinity Stones and the “purple man” who “doesn’t like standing up.” Poor Thor is clearly and hilariously bored while waiting/hoping to hear from Captain America or Iron Man about joining their team. We see Thor talking to Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. Even though Thor hasn’t heard from anyone, Bruce immediately gets a call from Tony and continues to insist that he doesn’t want anything to do with their feud. Thor is awkwardly, yet humorously left out. He wants to talk to Tony, but Tony doesn’t have time. Bruce says that Tony claims he doesn’t have a way to contact Thor. Thor says he doesn’t have a phone and tells Tony to “send a raven.”

There was a lot more including a funny bit with Daryl trying to vacuum but not getting very far because of Thor’s Hammer, Mjölnir, on the ground. I wish I could direct you to a video to watch it, but unfortunately this parody video still hasn’t found its way online yet. So that was a nice treat that only we who waited for hours and hours at Comic Con get to hold onto! (But I kind of wish it would get released somewhere because I’d love to see it again.)

After the video, we were also shown some concept art and early CGI test footage. There were glimpses of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Cate Blanchett’s Hela, as well as references to the Planet Hulk storyline. Looking forward to this film when it comes out on November 3, 2017!

doctorstrange
Release Date: November 4, 2016

What happened next is another one of those things that you just had to be there for! Similar to what Warner Bros had done previously, curtains all around the front half of the room were pulled back to give that SURROUND screen feeling. Smoke came out of nowhere all around the room. The magical display on the connecting screens, combined with the light show felt like watching fireworks inside. All of this was accompanied by an amazing score by Michael Giacchino. It was a mesmerizing display that reflected all the magic of Doctor Strange.

As the smoke began to clear, Doctor Strange himself — BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH — appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the stage to thunderous applause. He was joined by director Scott Derrickson and the rest of the cast: Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Mads Mikkelsen. With Doctor Strange being released in a couple months, we were able to see actual footage!

FOOTAGE RECAP: We were shown an entire scene, where Stephen Strange first meets the Ancient One (Swinton) and later shown a brand new trailer for the film. Both looked amazing! Benedict is just GOLD as Doctor Strange. I love the accent, the look, the humor, everything. I love the way Marvel uses humor in their films. They know how to add it in so well, while still leaving such weight and depth to their scenes. There was a funny bit with Strange commenting on Wong’s lack of a last name — “Just Wong? — Like Adele? Or…Aristotle? Bono. Eminem…” Strange later tells an unamused Wong, “People used to think I was funny.” Love it.

Also, I can’t wait to see how they incorporate Doctor Strange into the rest of the MCU, especially since he was teased at way back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Ugh. I need more Cumberbatch. Can it be November already??

spidermanhome
Release Date: July 7, 2017

OMMMGGGGngjhkdjahl!!!!!!!1111

Ahem. Please excuse that outburst. So, I was trying to stay live and current on social media during all these panels. Mostly for my own documenting benefit. After the Doctor Strange crew left, I was preoccupied with something on my phone until suddenly the screens in the room changed to simply show THE SPIDER-SIGNAL. No joke, I let out one of those involuntary, bloodcurdling screams — it was just pure surprise and shock and nerdy elation. I genuinely was not expecting that or expecting anything from this film to be presented. Here’s a picture I snapped of Kevin Feige, the newest Peter Parker AKA Tom Holland, and director Jon Watts:

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Kevin Feige, Tom Holland, and Jon Watts for Spider-Man: Homecoming. (Hall H)

The director explained that it’s essentially a high school movie. In a world of billionaire playboys and alien gods, we’ll get to see what it’s like for a guy in the tenth grade living in Queens. They had only been shooting for 10 days — the cast flew out just for Comic Con and was flying right back to continue filming. But already they had brought footage to show us!! WHAT?!? Now I was really freaking out. Watts said they had filmed some of the high school stuff, so they could show us some of that.

Dontfreakoutdontfreakoutdontfreakout.

First there was some funny yearbook pictures from all our favorite Avengers as awkward high-schoolers. As great at those pictures were, I was bummed that they might be teasing us about having “footage” to show, like the spoofy Thor video. BUT then the real footage played.

FOOTAGE RECAP: It was basically a day in the life of high school student Peter Parker. It shows him at different points of the day. He’s walking down a hall as someone hangs a banner for the “Homecoming” dance. He’s not paying attention in class because he’s watching a YouTube video of him as Spidey taking down Giant Man (as seen in Captain America: Civil War), but when called out, he still knows the answer to the teacher’s question. He and his buddy Ned are staring at girls from afar, including Liz Allan. He stealthily stirs his web fluid concoction in a beaker hidden in a desk drawer. He listens in as a group of girls play F/Marry/Kill using Avengers. He tries to duck out of a study hall sesh when Zendaya’s character interrogates him about where he runs off to all the time, what’s he hiding? Uh oh. And this is when we actually get some glimpses of a costumed Spidey! He’s on one of those big cement trucks as seen earlier in some leaked set photos. After the quick action, it comes back to Zendaya and speechless Peter, but she says she’s just messing with him and really doesn’t care. And then the big finish was a descending shot of the Vulture, confirming that he is the new villain in this film.

Tom Holland’s reaction was ALL of our reactions! He hadn’t seen any of the footage yet either and was freaking out just as much as I was. I can’t believe they showed us that much! I still can’t believe it. Only 10 days of shooting?? Amazing. They also brought out a few more cast members: Zendaya (Michelle), Laura Harrier (Liz Allan), Tony Revolori (Flash Thompson), and Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds). It’s definitely a high school movie.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man is my all-time favorite superhero, so I’m SUPER excited to see him back at home in the Marvel family. Spider-Man 2 is still one of my favorite films and one that has touched me in so many ways. I loved what both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield have brought to the role, and now Tom Holland is just crushing it. I’m loving the feel and tone of this movie from the footage shown, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming!! 2017 is going to be an awesome year already.

guardians2
Release Date: May 5, 2017

Shortly after director James Gunn took the stage, the hall was crashed by a group of rowdy Ravagers. Gunn was later joined by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 cast members Chris Pratt (HOLLA!), Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kurt Russell.

The Ravagers were being disrespectful, so Gunn decided to show them exactly what they deserved through a clip from the movie!

FOOTAGE RECAP: The footage showed the Ravagers having locked up Yondu and Rocket in a cell and keeping Baby Groot (CUTEST THING EVER) in a bird cage. Even the bad guys say Baby Groot is too adorable to kill. While everyone else is asleep, Baby Groot finds his way to Yondu and Rocket, who give him a mission to retrieve a head fin locked in the captain’s quarters. There’s a long, hilarious bit where Baby Groot keeps bringing back the wrong items. He brings Yondu’s underwear. He brings a mechanical eye, which Rocket wants to keep, thinking it’ll be hysterical when they guy wakes up and can’t find his eye. He manages to drag back a freaking desk, even though they keep telling him the item is small. Finally, Baby Groot does find the head fin, which allows Yondu to control his arrow. As they escape and move throughout the ship, Yondu whistles his arrow straight through everyone they come across, which is SO MANY. There’s a wide shot in a large, open part of the ship with multiple levels — Yondu does his thing and then BODIES RAIN FROM EVERYWHERE in slow motion as the trio strolls on by. It’s a really impressive scene where he’s just taking out dozens of these guys without even lifting a finger. Even Baby Groot gets to take down a Ravager by extending/growing his arms and tossing the guy over a railing. Once the clip finished, Michael Rooker joined the cast by coming out in his full Yondu get-up with head fin and all.

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Concept Art for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Break attraction

After some interviewing with the cast on their characters and the film, Kevin Feige announced the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride/attraction that will be opening at Disney California Adventure theme park. We were shown concept art, behind the scenes, and pre-VFX footage from the making of the ride. Unfortunately, the ride will be replacing the long-time favorite Tower of Terror ride. And while there was some applause at the announcement, there was also a lot of booing. Yikes! I get it — Tower of Terror is a classic. But this new ride featuring Benecio del Toro as the Collector does look like a lot of fun, so hopefully people won’t be too disappointed for too long. The ride opens in Summer 2017!

To cap off the panel we were shown more exclusive footage in the form of a sizzle reel!

FOOTAGE RECAP: Seemingly about to enter a big battle, Gamora (Saldana) preps a rifle, but Quill (Pratt) gives her a hard time about it because she’s being “inconsistent” by not using a sword. In another scene, Quill warns the group to tread lightly among the easily-offended people known as the Sovereign, and of course Rocket immediately backhandedly compliments/insults them saying he heard they were “conceited douchbags, but that’s not true at all” — and he adds a little wink. Other highlights included Quill calling Rocket a “trash panda” and thinking it’s hilarious, seeing Sylvester Stallone as a Ravager, a little role-reversal with Baby Groot now on Rocket’s shoulder in an epic shooting shot, and finally, a look at Kurt Russell revealed to be playing Ego the Living Planet, Star Lord’s father! There’s a funny bit about how in the world Ego, as a living planet, could have conceived a baby with Quill’s mother. Drax inquires about it, and Ego happily tells him all about it much to Quill’s embarrassment.

Guardians of the Galaxy was so much more than I could have ever expected or wanted out of a superhero film. It had me hysterically laughing and crying all over the place, and I just loved it. Vol. 2 looks like it’s promising to deliver that same AWESOMENESS, including a new Awesome Mix soundtrack to boot. To take from another one of Chris Pratt’s movies:

Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team that’s as cool as the Guardians of the Galaxy.

captainmarvel
Release Date: March 8, 2019

After all of these amazing panels, Chris Hardwick wanted to take a giant Marvel family photo with EVERYONE who just came out. Last year 20th Century Fox did this by taking a picture of the casts of X-Men: Apocalypse, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, plus Hugh Jackman, Channing Tatum, and Stan Lee all in one picture. Of course Marvel has to top this. They joined the Guardians Vol. 2 gang with the casts of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

AND they brought out the newest member of the Marvel family, playing Captain Marvel: BRIE LARSON! Need I say more? Girl’s gonna crush it.

Marvel Studios Hall H Panel
Photo Cred: Collider.com

After Chris Hardwick took the most awesome selfie ever, Hollywood’s finest exited the stage and ended one of the greatest panels Comic Con has ever seen. Even after 20+ hours of waiting, our whole group pretty much agreed: WORTH IT! Everyone in Hall H was also given these snazzy hats with the new Marvel Studios logo. You can see Brie Larson rocking it in the picture below. Definitely an awesome souvenir!

IN CONCLUSION: (Did anyone make it to this point?) The newly named Marvel Studios is SLAYING. They completely exceeded my expectations with this panel. They used the time very efficiently, they were so generous in all the exclusive footage they prepared and brought, and Chris Hardwick is the best moderator always. None of the footage has seemed to make it online yet (except for the officially released Doctor Strange trailer), so it feels pretty good to be one of the lucky few who got to witness it all in person! Perks for the dedicated fans — which is what Comic Con is all about!

There was more that happened Saturday evening, but how can I top Marvel? I’ll just add the rest in when I conclude my Comic Con recaps with the fourth and final day: Sunday. Be sure to check back for the final installment of Comic Con 2016 journey!

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