It was barely noon that Saturday as I sat in Hall H at Comic Con and I had seen an incredible parade of celebrities that morning. I thought I would be bored enduring the time until the Catching Fire panel, but I was on the edge of my seat to see who was next.
Next was the biggest surprise of all-Tom Cruise. I know he is sort of controversial, but I have watched his movies since Risky Business and I have loved them. He is definitely an icon in the movie industry. His new movie ,Edge of Tomorrow is a sci-fi thriller. Emily Blount is in the movie and was also on the panel. Tom was very animated and kept interacting with the audience members. They had to try to get his attention to make him participate in the panel. Then they announced that Bill Paxton was also in the movie (major crush of mine woo,woo) and that he was in the audience with his daughter. He stood up a few rows from where I was sitting and Tom insisted on bringing him up. There were no stairs from the audience, so Tom literally grabbed Bill’s hand and pulled him up on the stage. It was a little precarious for a moment and I thought he might not make it. He joined the rest of the panel at the table and it was an exciting turn of events for me.
I couldn’t help but reflect on how San Diego Comic Con had become the Mecca for the movie industry and a preferred venue to present upcoming film projects. I wondered how this humble comic convention had evolved to a prestigious who’s who of Hollywood. I tweeted “Who’s minding the store in Hollywood? Everyone is at SDCC!”
The next surprise was “I Frankenstein” starring Aaron Eckhardt-another heavy hitter. I loved him in Thank You For Smoking and of course The Dark Knight. The new rendition of the classic Frankenstein story looked interesting- a return to the original story of the Mary Shelley novel. Aaron did some fitness training for the role and kindly flexed his biceps for us with the encouragement of the MC. He was looking good!
There was a break before the Lionsgate panel which featured my reason for being there- Catching Fire. I convinced my friend’s husband to trade seats with me so that I could be a few rows closer to the stage. Once I got settled in my new seat, I pulled out my McDonald’s salad and enjoyed my lunch.
I held my breath as the Catching Fire flaming Mockinjay symbol appeared on the screen. There were rumors about which stars would be there, but no guarantee. The crowd went wild as Lenny Kravitz, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and the other cast members came to the stage. All my favs were there!
After the cast was introduced, they went directly to showing the new trailer for the film. It was so exciting to be the first to see it in an audience filled with other fans and with the cast as well. Then the cast was interviewed. Jennifer Lawrence is so unassuming and hilarious. She and Josh had some funny stories to tell. She talked about a scene in the movie where she must give Josh’s character Peeta CPR. She was crying and slobbering so much that she filled his mouth with snot. She said that it was awful for her. Josh interjected, “What about me? I’m the one who got covered in snot.” The audience roared with laughter! They showed the trailer again after the interviews.
I was able to escape the Hall for an hour. You were allowed a “Hall Pass” and would be readmitted as long as it was during the same panel that you exited on. After the excitement of the Catching Fire was a panel on “Women who Kick A_ _”-not something I was interested in- so I took a break. I headed to the Expo with hopes of seeing the Catching Fire cast signing autographs at the Lionsgate booth. I did see a few of them there but not the main ones I was interested in Jen, Josh and Liam. The Expo was more crowded that day than my other visits. The aisles between the booths were so packed with people that there was barely room to walk. I had had enough after a few minutes and headed back to Hall H.
The “Women ” panel was just wrapping up. I was tired but had to stay for the Marvel panel because I hoped to see Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor-the most beautiful actor of all.
I had no idea what the 20th Century panel was, but was willing to sit through it for the chance to see Chris. What a shock to find out that the next film was Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman who was there in the flesh! The trailer for the film was pretty exciting. He spoke a little bit more about the film and then began telling us about his other film project X-Men Days of Future Past. Then one by one the incredible cast came to the stage Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, and Daniel Cudmore from X-Men and Jennifer Lawrence,(again)James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Holt from X-Men:First Class. Wow what a star-studded stage it was- Gandalf ,Captain Picard, Juno, Catwoman, and Gnomeo. I felt like I was in a dream watching all my heroes gather in one place.
We didn’t get to see any clips from X-Men days of Future Past but nobody seemed to mind.
Finally the last panel of the day came-or at least for me (Kevin Smith was the last panel-not a big fan of his). We were all enthralled as Loki himself came to the stage (Tom Hiddleston in full costume) He asked us to join his rebellion and the crowd enthusiastically agreed. I must say he was more beautiful in person than I imagined. This helped my disappointment at not seeing Thor. We did get to see clips for Thor the Dark World so I did get to see Thor on the screen. Unfortunately the battery in my phone was dead so I didn’t get a picture of Loki.
As the Marvel panel ended I packed up my stuff said good bye to my friends and maneuvered through the crowd back to my shuttle bus. The crowds on the sidewalk outside the Convention Center were so bad that I decided to take the stairway over the light train rail to Petco Park and walk on the other side of the rail and cross back to the Convention Center. I’m not sure if I saved any time with my circuitous route, but I did make it to the shuttle bus finally.
I came back to an empty apartment because my friends had gone away overnight. I had decided not to return to the Convention on Sunday. I was exhausted and was ready to get home. I was able to enjoy a nice relaxing evening and fell asleep to the sound of sea gulls, sea lions, fireworks and a foghorn. What an amazing experience I had. I can’t wait for next year!