San Diego Comic-Con 2017 took place at the San Diego Convention Center Wednesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 23. Follow along as we recount our experience at SDCC 2017!
After a long Thursday, which ended with Marvel’s Inhumans panel and IMAX offsite event, on Friday morning it was time for the long day of waiting in line for Hall H Saturday wristbands. Violet and I prepared for the adventure, packing snacks, and making sure all of our electronics were charged. More importantly, we made sure to bring our sunshade umbrella and collapsible chairs we got for this specific event.
We got in line alongside the Marina around 7:30am, where we waited, anticipating there would be a line move onto the Embarcadero South “island” once the Friday Hall H line moved into the Hall. Cyberaug spotted us as we were heading to get in line, where he sat and chatted with us for a couple hours while he waited to attend a panel located in the Marriott.
As expected, we moved towards the island, and got all set up with Gina, Corgi’s cousin-in-law, joining us. Corgi and Pablo also joined shortly thereafter.
Legion Offsite Event
Violet had arranged an appointment for the FX off-site event for Legion at 10am, so Violet and I headed over after settling in the Hall H line’s (what we thought) final spot for the day. It was outside the Hilton Bayfront, and we got there right as the area opened up.
Once checked in, and given wristbands identifying us as David Haller, we waited in line, and Violet was first to go in. I went in second, and once inside the enclosed trailer, it felt like a doctor’s office. The actress who led me in was pretty creepy, and asked me if I remembered specific people and events, which I answered in the negative. I was then outfitted with the Hololens, which is an “augmented reality” device, which is essentially a pair of goggles that overlay holographic images onto the real world. A recorded voice gave me some basic instructions, and the woman “nurse” escorted me into a small room.
Inside the room, a “doctor” came in, and interviewed me, telling me that he was trying to help me develop my powers. I looked at some ink blots on the wall which kept altering, I did some “telekinetic” abilities, moving some objects with my mind. I also did some mind reading, figuring out the images of some cards the doctor was asking me to figure out. At this point, a voice entered my head, telling me that he had taken over the mind of the doctor, and told me that he was going to break me out. The doctor then grabbed me suddenly, to rescue me from a strange large headed person — just like the one from the show. The woman apparently had put on a mask, which was a little creepy. I was then ushered out the back, and made it to “safety.”
After the rescue finished, I took a picture with the hololens on, and that was about it. Overall, it was a really fun experience. There were a couple things I wished were a bit better. I think it was a limitation of the hololens, but things would disappear when they hit my peripheral vision, which was distracting. Also, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing when I was trying to perform the actions I was supposed to. This was surely partially my fault, as I think I missed part of the instructions. Still, it was a good fun event, despite the awkward interactions with the actors (which I am sure was intentionally meant to be awkward).
Violet and I then returned to the Hall H line. Gina had just left, but Corgi and Pablo were there. Scott Angus’s sister, Jennifer, also came and joined us. After some chit-chatting, and sitting around, Violet and I decided that it was time to hit the Red Wheelbarrow, part of the Mr. Robot offsite, which was giving away free food. But we learned that the line would be moving back to the marina, so we waited for that to happen so that we could help disassemble and reassemble our umbrellas and chairs before heading to the Red Wheelbarrow.
Mr. Robot Offsite: Red Wheelbarrow BBQ
After getting settled back in to the line, Violet and I headed out, and Pablo decided to join us. We got the food, which was pretty easy to do, only having to wait maybe 5 minutes in a short line, since we had already signed up for our “E-coin” online. The food was pretty good, and best of all it was free! It included a pulled pork slider, a bag of chips, bottled water, and a milkshake. Outside the restaurant, we saw people in line to set up their E-Coin account at the “bank” set up. I am curious if these people were aware it could be signed up for online, or if they just wanted the “experience.” Either way, I was glad to not have to stand in that line. After food, the three of us decided to head to the San Diego Trading Company shop to pick up the Red Wheelbarrow T-Shirt that cost 5 E-coins. (You were given 20 E-coins upon signing up.)
After picking up the shirt (which we actually got to pick our size), the three of us made our way back to the Hall H line, where Violet and I spent the rest of our afternoon. We worked on our blog, talked with Corgi, Pablo, Jennifer, Gina, and a couple other people joining us in line and who would come down to visit from time to time.
The Wristband Situation
As what seems to be a standard state of affairs for the Hall H line for Saturday panels, there of course was a significant amount of drama regarding the wristband situation, for which distribution began at 8:30pm Friday night. For those unfamiliar with how the situation works for wristbands for Hall H, the day before, people can get in line to wait for wristbands that will allow you into the first Hall H panel on Saturday. One person can hold five spots for other people who would like to see the Hall H panels. At 8:30pm the Comic-Con staff proceeded to pass out wristbands, with letters A-D on said wristbands, and once they run out, then they’re out, which means you have a very slim chance of getting into Hall H for the first panel.
Well you know that whole 1 person can hold five spots rule? It appears that many people took liberties with that and may have allowed much more than that number of 5 into line. Additionally, through the rumblings of Twitter, the “infamous” parking lot which was the subject of much debate last year supposedly had a rash of people cutting into line during the chaos of the Viking Funeral that the History Channel put on for their show Vikings. This Viking Funeral was also the reason that we had been moved back to the marina, as it was taking place on Embarcadero South, so instead, the line snaked up to Embarcadero North, by Seaport Village.
While I was awaiting wristbands, I decided to walk up the line to see how the progress was going. As I walked by this parking lot, the number of people that started in the parking lot swelled to be many, many times what had been there in the morning when I had first seen it. For comparison, last year I was in that parking lot. The wristband I got there was “B”. This time, Violet and I received “D” wristbands, with being what seemed to be only a few hundred people farther back. What made this even more frustrating was the fact that Violet and I got in line over half an hour earlier than we did last year.
There was a lot of concern and drama regarding getting wristbands, and for a while, it looked like we might not get any this year. We did manage to get the “D” wristbands though around 11:00pm. We kept an eye on Twitter after we got ours to see what happened with the rest of the line, and the consensus seemed to be that people who got in line shortly after 8am Friday morning did not receive wristbands. We got in line 7:30am Friday morning. 35 minutes was the difference between success and failure. Twitter’s hashtag #HallHline was ablaze with accusations of cutters, people selling spots, and people allowing more than 5 people into line with them. It was not a pretty sight.
While you would think this would be the end of the drama for the Hall H line, unfortunately more unfurled the next morning. But to wrap up Friday night, Violet and I decided to get some food because we were hungry, so we dropped off our “camping” supplies at our room in the Hyatt, and then decided to make our way to the Cheesecake Factory across the street. There we ran into Steve from Nerd Fu, among other people. Violet was so out of it, that she walked right by them without noticing. We had some appetizers and decided to get to bed as soon as possible, as the next day was going to be pretty tiring.
Saturday Hall H Wristband Controversy
Saturday morning came too soon, as Violet and I only got about 5 hours of sleep. I am sure many people reading this are probably thinking we’re babies for complaining about the lack of sleep, but hey, Violet and I are getting old, we need our beauty rest! Violet thought we should get up at 6:30am, to head down to line. We had to be back in line by 7:30am, so that seemed to be plenty of time. For those unaware, after you get your wristband, you have a few options: 1) stay in line, 2) have someone from your party stay in line and then you can come back and meet up with them later (before 7:30am the next day), or 3) your entire party can leave and will be allowed to return to the end of the wristband line as long as you return before 7:30am.
Luckily, we were able to re-join our group in line rather than having to go to the end of the wristband line. This turned out to be a lot luckier than we thought, as the line did not seem to go too much farther back than where we were left the night before, and even worse, at some point behind us, people did not get into Hall H, even when they had a wristband, which was supposed to guarantee entry for the first panel.
But before I get into that, I want to commend the Comic-Con staff for their fairly smooth Hall H loading Saturday morning. Violet and I and our group made it into Hall H at about 11:15am, which is pretty good, considering how far back we were.
Regarding the controversy though, partially through the Warner Bros. panel, Violet discovered on Twitter that people with wristbands had not made it in yet, despite them guaranteed enough room in the Hall to let them in. Then things really started brewing on the #HallHline Twitter hashtag, accusing people of forging fake wristbands to get in line. Sadly, I had to believe those rumors, because how else would you explain the lack of entry for those people? The only other possibility I can think of would be the staff miscalculating how many wristbands had been given out. This seemed unlikely though, given how far back Violet and I were when we received our wristbands.
— syntulk (@syntulk) July 22, 2017
Eddie Ibrahim and the Hall H announcer also made announcements saying that there were people with wristbands trying to get into Hall H, and asked the audience for help in pointing out empty seats, which seems to add fuel to the theory of fake wristbands.
Additionally, when people used bathroom passes in the morning, security was sure to check for people having both a wristband and bathroom pass. When I went to use the restroom during the intermission between Warner Bros and Women Who Kick Ass, the security guard thoroughly checked my wristband to ensure it was not fake, spinning it around my wrist creepily, while feeling the paper. It was a bit odd, but I could tell she was trying to see if there were any fake aspects to it, or perhaps I had cut it off someone else and taped it on myself.
Comic-Con did not provide any insight into what actually happened, but we know that they gave people who were stuck outside for the Warner Bros panel free passes to next year’s Comic-Con.
— Carrie Anne Hudson🦇 (@carriehudson) July 22, 2017
This seems to confirm that something shady was afoot, but we will likely never know what actually happened that Friday night and Saturday morning. I plan on doing a follow up article on this wristband/Hall H Saturday topic, so look for that in the future.
Click here to continue to our recap and photos of Saturday in Hall H, which began with the Warner Bros. panel!
Below you can view more photos from our Friday waiting for Hall H wristbands, and our Saturday morning waiting to get into Hall H.