Now that we are all recovering from Avengers: Infinity War and are now laughing along with Deadpool 2. I was thinking about the pre-Infinity War report of Marvel skipping Hall H this year at SDCC which has reported by many outlets.
Rob Keyes of Screenrant wrote something that got me thinking “Celebrating ten years directly with the fans at the venue where it all started would have been a great move too but this doesn’t rule out them having a major presence still.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said: “We’re not going to Hall H this year. It will be an off year… which is what we did after Avengers 1 and what we’ve done every few years. There will be a tenth anniversary presence at Comic-Con but [no Hall H panel.]”
As most SDCC goers know Hall H is typically used to wow audiences with preview and announce upcoming films, and yes it was where Iron Man was first shown to the public.
Though Rob saying directly at the venue (which I’m assuming means Hall H) means something different now because like the characters in the movies SDCC has grown and evolved, and so has social media, and those who come to experience SDCC. Even though the numbers look to over 130,000 attendees each year (and there is a badge limit) a lot more people now look to come to SDCC for the experience (like people do for many cons, but especially SDCC). So let’s look at some of the Marvel evolution.
Basically with the huge success of the first Iron Man movie, superheroes especially the Marvel ones have skyrocketed in popularity. Names that might have only been known to those who knew comics or remembered them from some great animated properties. Now globally people know the names of the characters of our favorite properties.
We of cinematic generation knew the names from the great properties of the DCAU, Fox’s Spider-Man and X-Men, particularly the last two for Marvel. It was through these many of us were introduced to the comics properties, we were the first part of the cinematic generation. The second part of the cinematic generation was introduced through the movies, especially the Marvel ones. While this second part started primarily with the X-Men movies, it accelerated beginning with Iron Man above, basically with the heroes looking like they came right out of the comics.
Marvel turned to dominate the box office (this includes the co-licensed properties) over the past decade and had expansions in television as well as multiple Netflix series (though these have had varying success), and fandom exploded, so many are fans now.
Marvel doesn’t need Hall H to give the sneak preview because we will readily watch it as soon as the trailer and the teasers of trailers are released, which are shared via social media. (Which rose to prominence as well as smartphones, led by Apple and Google.) Though there is something to say about the feel of the live fan reaction especially in a large group of like minded people. But even with this, the group here is limited. To get to Hall H, there is a lottery, and lining up all night (and possibly for several nights and days) to get to a single panel, which of course will be covered by all the major sites, but what about the fans who missed the lottery, couldn’t to the day and night wait, etc. This in a way excludes some fans from the experience. So what might be better? The installations and event spaces.
Many people come to see and experience the installations, including the ones inside that Marvel usually has on display as well.
Some classics being Odin’s throne:
Or the SHIELD bridge from NYCC 2011 (images are mine)
Marvel always celebrates with the fans usually at their booth with the large amount of events from all aspects of the Marvel multiverse so this is always a celebration with the fans, but doing a large installation perhaps even an interactive museum/exhibits like is the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle in the new museum space perhaps?
Or several installations such as Avengers Tower (in partnership with a hotel), a travelling embassy of Wakanda, a celebration of the history of Captain America, a sample of things from The Collector, basically making a small theme park (which is what the collection of installations can feel like). There’s so much to celebrate Marvelwise from the various Marvel multiverse properties (which is always expanding). A multitude of installations can also help with some of the crowding at the convention center and also make it feel like a larger celebration of the brands, making Marvel feel across SDCC (and maybe San Diego).
The catch is this costs a lot of money to do, but it’s Marvel (and Disney) so they aren’t hurting.
Having something different to experience at each location would make it like Disneyland and Disney World in a way and I think would be one of the most interesting ways for Marvel to celebrate with the fans, by making it span across the con as opposed to be being in just one or two locations with events, panels, and more.
To quote Stan: ‘Nuff Said!