It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Convention Season (because that’s what it is…we have THREE conventions in the next 5 weeks!) kicked off this morning with the first day of New York Comic-Con. For the second year in a row, we’re proud to be accredited members of the press (we’re so fancy!), so we’ll be bringing you all the scoop, cosplay, celebrities, and panel highlights from all four days of the con. And this time, because we believe in spreading joy, we’ve got friends with us. TV Mouse Kelly is covering the con for the Entertainment Weekly community (so be sure to look for her posts there) and several friends from Twitter came in for the party as well. Because NYCC is always better with friends! Day One was jam-packed, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
– We arrived at the Javits Center bright and early this morning to queue up for main stage panels. NYCC is trying something different this year with the main stage. Unlike previous years, they are clearing the room between panels, so there is no camping out in the main room all day just to wait for a panel late in the afternoon (a BIG difference from the famous Hall H at SDCC). This is good because it potentially allows more people to see the marquee panels, as there are separate lines for each panel, and then wristbands are given out once the line is capped, so you are free to leave the line and then come back for your panel later in the day. The BAD thing about this new policy is that it makes it hard for you to do more than one panel in the main room, so you are forced to choose which one you want to do the most. And then things like THIS happen:
That’s right. The unthinkable happened. As I wanted to do the Disney Studios panel and Sage wanted to do the Bob’s Burgers panel, we were forced to separate for a big chunk of Day One. It was terrible and can never happen again. Until it happens tomorrow.
– Once our wristbands for the panel were acquired, Sage went off to the press session for Bob’s Burgers while I did what I do best…I got seats on the third row in the center for the Big Hero 6 and Tomorrowland panel. 2014 marks the first time Disney Studios had a major panel for New York Comic-Con and they did not disappoint. The first half of the panel (moderated by everyone’s favorite Nerd, Chris Hardwick) focused on the latest project from Disney Animation, Big Hero 6. We were shown several EXCLUSIVE (until they released them on the internet moments later) clips from the movie, which looks FANTASTIC. I had seen the trailer several times and had always giggled at the lovable inflatable robot Baymax as he tried to squeeze his giant belly into a suit of armor or when he would cover his punctures with scotch tape, but I did not expect to be as DELIGHTED as I was by all the footage. It was so clever, and it had all the visual gags for the kiddies and the super sharp dialogue for the grown-ups that we’ve come to expect from Disney. If you were a fan of Wreck-It Ralph (that movie is a GEM), you’re going to love Big Hero 6.
– One of my favorite moments of the Big Hero 6 panel was when Scott Adsit, who voices Baymax, expressed his sheer delight and awe that he was on the main stage at New York Comic-Con. “I always come to this con,” he said. “And I can NEVER get into this room because of crazy people like all of you…and now here I am ON the stage. It’s amazing.” Stars…they are nerds just like us. (And my heart grew three sizes in that moment.)
– When asked about the arc for his character Hiro, Ryan Potter said, “He’s a kid who is on a wrong path until he meets Baymax and all these weird and cool geniuses…and they help him find his way and realize the good in him.” So what you’re SAYING is that this movie is going to leave me a blubbering mess, right?
– Up next was Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird and written by Damon Lindelof. The movie is so super secret, I still can’t even tell you what it’s about. And that’s not me smugly lording Comic-Con secrets over you (I’ll tell you when I am doing that, I promise). That’s me saying that even with the footage they showed us, I STILL have no real idea what the movie is about. But I know it looked awesome.
– When trying to describe her character Casey, Britt Robertson (RIP Life Unexpected) said “She’s a girl…(looks at Lindelof, terrified she’ll say something she’s not supposed to) and that’s all I’m going to say about that.” Adorable little Raffey Cassidy literally recited a character description (“She’s full of Hope”) that Lindelof whispered in her ear. And world treasure Hugh Laurie said “I’m a GOOD guy…or BAD…I just don’t know.” It was amusing and ridiculous and everything you want Comic-Con to be.
– Talk inevitably turned to Mega Movie Star George Clooney and what it was like to work with him. Raffey and Britt sung his praises, but Hugh was having none of it. “The thing no one is talking about is all of his shouting…and his drinking…JUST AWFUL HE IS.”
– You know, I had HOPED that Clooney would be there…but I never dreamed he actually would be. He HAD just gotten married after all. Shouldn’t he be off on his honeymoon with his absolutely glamorous new wife? But the minute Hugh started talking shit about him, I started staring at the opposite corner of the stage. Sure enough…there he was. And I’m not even ashamed to admit it, I started screaming. That first scream you hear when you watch this panel online? Yeah, that’s probably me. Apologies to my friend Taylah for hitting her over and over as he walked out. And now, a George Photo Essay.
– “It’s not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic-Con,” George said drily (His first ever!). So really, as Kelly said on Facebook, we were ALL on George’s Honeymoon. George was at his Clooney-est, cracking jokes about Batman (“I think that’s why they’ve never invited me to Comic-Con before. Also, I saw Adam West backstage and had to apologize for the nipples.”) and basking in the general movie star adoration. But the thing about Clooney is that it never comes off smug. He’s charming and sarcastic and he IS that big of a movie star. “I saw that teaser trailer they just showed you and it was crap. I was barely in it. I’m a REALLY big star, you guys, shouldn’t you see something with me in it?” It was a perfect segue into an extended sequence with Clooney and Robertson’s characters. There were robots. There were explosions. There were crazy gadgets. I still don’t know what this movie is about BUT I AM EXCITED ABOUT IT.
– Adorable Chris Hardwick Moment: When it was revealed that some of the swag bags had wristbands to an advanced screening of Big Hero 6, he gave his own wristband to a girl on the second row, as her companion had gotten one and she didn’t. “Now you can both go,” he said. “But wait…how am *I* gonna go now?”
– After the Clooney, we scurried off to a Q&A session with our favorite former Doctor Who companion, Arthur Darvill. We’ve been spoiled rotten with Arthur time in the past year and a half, from his extended time on Broadway in Once to his appearance at Gally earlier this year. But you can never get enough Arthur Darvill. His Q&As can be so wonderful and so weird and so random that you always know a panel with him is a good time. Kelly live tweeted this panel with more aplomb than I ever could, so head over to the TV Mouse Twitter for Arthur-isms on everything from kissing Matt Smith (“He has feelings for me.”) to what kind of tea he would be to his dream of journeying to the Planet Cake. Never change, Arthur Darvill.
– One thing I HAVE to point out from Arthur’s panel: one fan asked him about the “Let It Go” video he did where he sang about wanting to be known for more than Doctor Who. “It was a JOKE,” he said emphatically. “Doctor Who changed my life, and I am still surprised and flattered when people come up to me about it. All the time.” There you go, anyone who thought Arthur was serious. (And if you did…who ARE you?)
– I lied. One more thing. Arthur said there was a musical that he and Matt and Karen “worked on” while they were on set. It’s called “It’s Bigger on the Inside” and he sang some for us. “There were singing Daleks. It got VERY Broadway.” Someone HAD to have caught that on camera, right? Get on it, BBC.
Okay, time for me to butt in. –S
Yes, yes, I missed the Cloons. But the Disney panel conflicted with Bob’s Burgers on the mainstage and its press session. And once you’ve met the Belchers, you’ll pretty much want to hang out with them all the time.
– Representing the show at Comic Con were creator Loren Bouchard and stars H. Jon Benjamin (Bob), John Roberts (Linda), Eugene Mirman (Gene), Kristen Schaal (Louise), Larry Murphy (Teddy, etc), and Bobby Tisdale (Zeke). In the press room, we talked to them roundtable-style as they rotated from group to group. What’s really unique about Bob’s and certainly one of the reasons why it’s so endearing is that the actors record together. In the mainstage panel, a young girl talked about the more frantic group scenes and their perfectly timed overlapping dialogue. “Don’t even try to do that unless you’ve got your actors in a room together,” Loren said. “You can record them separately and piece it together, but you’ll never get that same feel.” He also recommended that anyone creating an animated show should cast first, before they even write. The Bob’s crew had been getting together to record dialogue for scenes for a full two years before the show hit our TVs. “My agent called me and said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were on this animated Fox series?” Kristen Schaal said. “And I told her I didn’t know.”
– Eugene Mirman reminded us in the press room that most of the actors have known each other (and Loren) for ten or fifteen years, so the Belcher family dynamic builds on one that already exists. I asked what it’s like then to welcome in guest stars (Kevin Kline, Sarah Silverman, Aziz, Jenny Slate, Megan Mullally – they’ve got good connections over there), and he said, “Oh, it’s terrible. We don’t talk to them.” “And you don’t sit with them at lunch, right?” “No. And we definitely don’t share our snacks.” Kristen Schaal said that it takes her a while to get comfortable with guests she really admires, but with someone for whom she has “no respect at all” for, she’s fine immediately.
– The music of Bob’s was a big topic in both sessions. I asked Loren how and when the songs are incorporated – are they written concurrently with the episode or do they set “song here” placeholders. For the credits songs, Loren said, they’re often “like college kids with a paper,” frantically composing the night before the episode is due. He also promised a fan in the Q&A that a soundtrack would be coming out somewhere, on iTunes (“Is there a form you have to fill out or something?”) or elsewhere. The actors told us that they all love singing on the show, especially because they’re not supposed to actually be good. Though they did curse Megan Mullally for sounding incredible, even when singing in Gayle’s nasal-y voice. The highlight of my pressroom experience was John giving us a brief live performance of “Wonder Wharf” in full Linda voice. Alriiiight!
– Dan Mintz couldn’t be there, so the show compensated us with a 9-foot-Tina. She behaved herself, despite the many Jimmy Jr. cosplayers in the audience.
– Loren (who is also responsible for the brilliant Home Movies, by the way) moderated his cast for the panel, but they reserved most of their time for fan Q&A. Die-hards hit the mic – many of them in Louise bunny ears – and surprised me with some thoughtful questions, like “what do the actors admire most about their characters?” Eugene loves Genes joyfulness and complete acceptance of his own weirdness; Kristen admires Louise’s “fire”; and John respects that Linda “sees the uniqueness in each of her kids and encourages it.” The Belchers realy love each other, the cast reminded us. And though they might make fun of each other, the real comedy comes from the way they have each other’s backs and take on their ridiculous lives as a family. Suck on that, Family Guy.
– While I was separated from my girls, I also picked up my speaker badge. That’s right – someone is actually trusting me with a microphone and a stage at this thing. So here’s my shameless plug to join us Friday at 8pm in Room 1B03 for Doctor Who Trivia! Anyone can play to win passes for next year’s NYCC and some dope DW swag courtesy of BBCAmerica and Penguin Random House. /endplug
Throwing it back to Kimmie…
After being reunited, we did a brief sweep of the floor (much more of that to come tomorrow) before popping outside for some food. Thank GOD there are more food trucks this year, as we destroyed some pulled pork mac and cheese. We’re always so focused on getting where we need to be that we often forget to eat…until we put that first bite our mouths and remember we are STARVING. (#ConLife) We then made our way to our favorite place, Artists Alley, where Sage and Kelly fought the youths around Alice X Zhang’s table and scored some beautiful notecards. Wall space is a premium in my tiny apartment, but I’ll definitely be making a return trip tomorrow.
All in all, it was an incredibly successful Day One. Despite our painful separation, we did everything we wanted to do. If this is any indication for how the weekend will go…it’s going to be awesome. Follow us on Twitter (@HeadOverFeels) and Instagram (headoverfeelsdotcom) for live updates all weekend, and we’ll be back tomorrow to recap day two!