For a blast from the past, check out past recaps here.
All I can say was it's about time... long overdue actually. I can't tell you how surreal it was to be back at Comic-Con in person after three years.
I didn't even care about the lack of movies and TV programming or that the COVID-19 vaccination or negative test verification process was messy. Mask was enforced inside the convention. 2022 being my 17th year at Comic-Con, I felt like I had experienced it all, with all the highs and privileges, and I’m so incredibly grateful for those extraordinary experiences. I was simply there this time to truly soak in the immersive ambiance and cherish the experience even more. I was on a relaxed pace, arriving in the afternoons every day and nothing was a 'must' for me at this point. Outside of press access for activations, unlike in years past, I didn’t attend any press event.
I attended the “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (movie), “BRZRKR” (comic book), “National Treasure: Edge of History” (TV show) and “The Resort” (TV pilot) panels. Surprisingly, two-third of my time was actually spent outdoor, doing people-watching, picture-taking and activations – specifically, “House of the Dragon” (TV show), “The Gray Man” (movie), “Severance” (TV show) and “Ghosts” (TV show).
Stars present for "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" panel are Chris Pine, Rege Jean-Page, Michelle Rodriguez, Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant. Attendees saw some footage and trailer and had Q&A with the cast, producer and directors. Nothing dark and grim here; a relic heist, the movie carries a cheeky tone and is more of an adventure comedy. The video game adaptation is about a band of thieves and misfits, stealing the wrong thing for the wrong person, banding together, traveling across varied landscapes dotted with dragons, monsters and beasts, fighting in a gladiator-like arena, encountering and chatting with the undeads along the way.
The cast bonded while filming in isolation during the pandemic. Pine would like to bring the energy and excitement into the world. Jean-Page likes the no-limit escapist fantasy. Rodriguez gained 10 pounds of muscle for the role. Grant joked that he used to be a 'Dungeon Master.' The trailer is out and the Paramount Studios movie will unleash into theaters on March 3, 2023. To cap the Comic-Con experience, the studio also put forth the Tavern Experience downtown where fans could come inside the movie-themed bar/nightclub, which is plastered with posters and props, and getting interactive experience and glowing cocktail drinks.
I stopped by the "BRZRKR" panel where Keanu Reeves was the star of the comic book series panel. Reeves talked about a simple idea, a guy who could punch through chests, which brought BRZRKR to life. But it’s not just brawl, there’s also heart in the immortal character. The comic book is being adapted into a live action movie and Netflix series.
Biggest news coming out movies are probably Marvel's phase 5 and 6, ending with another Avengers team up, "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" and "Avengers: Secret Wars" slated for May 2, 2025 and November 7, 2025. An emotional trailer of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" also broke the internet last week. And Dwayne Johnson made an electrifying entrance by showing up in "Black Adams" (October 21, 2022) costume. Having seen The Rock rocking the entrance for "Hercules" years ago, he has that down to pat.
With no TV pilot showing on preview night, I was glad to catch “The Resort” screening and the panel that followed. Stars Cristin Miloti, William Jackson Harper, Nina Bloomgarden, Luis Gerardo-Mendez, Gabriela Cartol were in attendance. “The Resort” is a mutigenerational story taking place on a topical vacation getaway, with elements of mystery, romance, adventure and comedy. An interracial couple arrives in Mexico for their 10th year wedding anniversary. While they’re there to celebrate, it’s clear that their relationships have issues.
Soon the couple is trailing clues on a mystery of missing tourists that disappeared 15 years ago. Flashbacks showed a young man vacationing at an oceanfront resort there with his girlfriend and his parents. He stumbled upon proof that his girlfriend was cheating on him. He was later found missing and dead, the day before a once-in-a-century hurricane swept through the area and destroyed the resort. A girl, another tourist, also disappeared around the same time. The show, described as a magic trip, has an intriguing factor to it and left me wanting to see more. The show started streaming on Peacock TV on July 28, 2022.
Disney+ “National Treasure: Edge of History” brought a panel for a quick preview and behind-the-scene, but mostly it was a banter session among the young cast (Lisette Olivera, Jake Austin Walker, Jordan Rodrigues, Zuri Reed, Antonio Cipriano, Lyndon Smith). Nicholas Cage will not be reprising his role, but the show will add Catherine Zeta-Jones into the mix, playing a black market antique dealer. The show follows an adventure of a DREAMer, on a study break from her citizenship test goes on a trip with her friends to uncover mystery surrounding her family history. History and artifacts, treasure hunting and heist, and action mixed with romance promise a good time.
The hottest activation this year was “House of the Dragon.” First, I visited the market stalls outside of the makeshift castle and interacted with the warriors before entering the castle. The ambiance inside was a bit creepy, with mysterious sounds and glowing amber lights. Along with a group of visitors, we walked through darkened rooms and halls and saw a massive dragon skull in the lair. We went through the hatching of the dragon eggs ceremony, and everyone ended up in a spiky throne room for a photo op at the throne and exiting with a dragon egg stone pin. “House of the Dragon,” the prequel of “Game of Thrones” will hatch on HBO Max on August 21, 2022.
Netflix’s “The Gray Man” staged an action setup with a train crashing into a building. Although the action was not nearly elaborate as Amazon Prime’s “Jack Ryan” activation and super quick, it was still pretty cool. The premise is to test skills, strength and speed of spy recruits. As a recruit, I went inside the crashed train, with blaring sound and smoke, pushing button, rope and lever to escape from the train. Afterwards, I went up the stairs and then sprinted across a metal bridge to get to a briefcase. Once I saw the briefcase, I punched in a code to open it and placed the golden bronze coin pendant necklace I was given earlier on the circle inside the briefcase. The circle lit up and I accomplished my mission. The sprint was captured on video and a clip was e-mailed to each recruit. “The Gray Man” is now streaming on Netflix, released on July 22, 2022.
Apple TV+ brought in “Severance” and took me in with a group of ‘new hires’ through orientation. We were each given a new name to sever our identity and have a new one for work. We walked through a living room set with paintings and artifacts, the smile room where we saw pictures of numerous toothy smiles on the walls, the computer room where several visitors were chided for entering without permission, the wellness room where a new hire was sat down for a talk therapy, and an office with workstations. It ended with all of us breaking into dancing and taking a group photo. I heard another group went to the break room where a new hire was admonished for breaking protocol. We received a bunch of souvenirs to take home; a tote bag, orientation book, badge, finger trap, pen and pin, as well a card with an access code for three months free of Apple TV+.
CBS’ “Ghosts” took up a large chunk of Petco Park, with areas for archery, lounging and readings of crystal, palm and tarot for visitors. I partook in the tarot reading and it was pretty interesting. The reader shuffled the deck of cards and each guest picked a card and provided a quick reading based on the card. I would have been interested in doing the palm and crystal reading had I not been rushing. After shooting an arrow, I went to the photo op section where I sat down on a sofa with a bent arrow on my neck (with the arrow on one side of my neck and the other tip goes out on the other side). The digitized result shows I was surrounded by “Ghosts” characters. After each activity, I was provided with a “Ghosts” embroidered badge.
Among notable photo ops outside are Peacock’s and NBC’s hub by the Gaslamp Quarter, where people could take pictures under the “Quantum Leap” circles arch, sit on the "Vampire Academy" chair donning a robe, pose with a flipped umbrella to withstand the storm on the wall for the natural disaster “The End is Nye” show or relax against the backdrop of “The Resort” wall and greenery. There’s also a nice seating area in front of “La Brea” clips playing on a big TV. Marvel also came out with a photo op set in front of Doctor’s Strange’s sanctum sanctorum, complete with a wizard robe. Those who did the photo op also received a card with a code for a free digital copy of the “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” movie.
The movies and TV shows, comics and exhibits, panels and activations, and star-sightings are always amazing, but the entire experience makes up Comic-Con. Seeing the wrapped buildings and trolleys, the mile-long lines under the hot sun, the sheer insanity of die-hard fans camping out overnight, the jam-packed trolleys and streets, the cheering star-struck crowds... Comic-Con was truly BACK in full force. These days, a sense of normalcy (the craziness is part of the experience and 'normal' by Comic-Con standards) is good for the soul. It's awesome to see people out and about, happy and celebrating life!
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