Welcome To Hall H
Empire spends a day in the legendary arena. And lives to tell the tale. Kinda
Saturday 22 July, 11:18am __ Hall H, right at the end of the San Diego Convention Centre, is the place where Hollywood shows off its wares to the Comic-con massive. And massive is about right — it’s a Costco of cinema, a Glasto of geekery, that can host 6,500 people, many of whom have camped out all night to try to get in for the Con’s biggest day.
11:30am __ Warner Bros. are first up with their signature move: giant screens that wrap around the hall.
11:39am __ Ready for Ready Player One? Here comes former Empire editor Sir Steven of Spielberg. It’s only his second visit to the Con, but he knows the drill: don’t come empty-handed. He's brought the teaser for his pop culture-tastic film, a visual treat featuring cameos from Freddy Krueger, the Iron Giant, the Back To The Future Delorean and more. The crowd accept his offering.
12:06pm __ Next is Blade Runner 2049, which kicks off with a holographic Jared Leto. Harrison Ford soon follows, looking like he wishes he’d taken the hologram option, too.
12:21pm __ As the DC panel begins with Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, racing through the crowd to take the stage, we break into our first snack. Not, sadly, an aquaflan.
12:45pm __ Comic-con: the only place on Earth where a man dressed as Wonder Woman can ask a question of the actual Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot. Never change, Hall H.
2.30pm __ Three hours in. Sunlight is but a rumour. 3:29pm __ Stranger Things is happening on stage, with the debut of the new season 2 trailer, soundtracked to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The ’80s vibe continues with the kids in Ghostbusters costume. And stranger things are happening off stage, too — a bloke dressed as streaky bacon walks past.
4:45pm __ The cast and creatives of Westworld talk up Season 2, bringing some early teases including Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) gunning down people while on horseback.
5.30pm __ The Marvel Studios panel is scheduled to begin. Anticipation is at fever pitch. The only thing that could dampen spirits would be Marvel president Kevin Feige striding on and telling everyone to go home.
5.50pm __ Feige doesn’t do that. Instead, he brings out the teams behind Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, with exclusive footage galore. The biggest cheer may be reserved for Jeff Goldblum, though, making his first Con appearance.
6.55pm __ During the Avengers: Infinity War footage, the crowd welcomes each character reveal with earsplitting screams that would give Paul Mccartney a serious dose of Beatlemania flashbacks.
7:00pm __ And that’s that. Seven-and-a-half hours after entering, we stagger blinking into the sunlight like Andy Dufresne after his escape from Shawshank. But better than Andy Dufresne, because he hadn’t even seen any Avengers: Infinity War footage.