Hi everyone, I’m back with the story of my trip to the LOST panel at the 2009 Comic-Con. I have to be honest…I’ve always been a bit of a comic book geek. I collected comics through most of my childhood, and didn’t really stop until I pretty much didn’t have time for it anymore while going to college at Arizona State University. In fact, had I grown up in San Diego, I’m sure I would have been to a Comic-Con much earlier than this year. Regardless, attending the Con has been on my list ever since I first heard about it after moving to San Diego back in 2002. When I came to realize that this would be the last LOST panel ever at the Con, I knew that the time was finally right to go.
Ironically, it almost didn’t happen. During all of the hype for LOST’s cliffhanger this past season, it didn’t even occur to me to go to Comic-Con. It really wasn’t even until after the season ended in May that I came to realize that this year’s LOST panel would be the last. Once it hit me, I immediately tried to get tickets. Unfortunately, at that time, all of the 4-day passes had been sold out, as well as the Friday and Saturday 1-Day passes. I could have bought passes for Thursday or Sunday, but at that time, I had no idea when the panel was. If I couldn’t get a 4-Day pass, I didn’t want to buy a single day pass for a day when the LOST panel wouldn’t be there. But rather than give up, I sent an e-mail to the “Contact Us” link on the Comic-Con site to see if there was going to be a wait list for folks that may have bought them last year but wanted a refund. Initially, I was told that no additional tickets would be sold…but a few weeks later, I was told of a new method of getting tickets that Comic-Con had never used before…
That method was a combination of Twitter and eBay. Basically, Comic-Con would tweet when they were going to release tickets that day, and then they’d put up a small set of tickets for everyone to try to get simultaneously. The tickets sold very quickly. Generally, they would all be gone each day in 60-90 seconds, sometimes less. I tried every day for the weeks leading up to the Con with no luck. The experience was actually rather frustrating; some days I felt as though I was just a few seconds away from getting the tickets, while some days it felt as though I had no chance. In fact, as we came up on the last few days before the Con, I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that I wasn’t going to go. But amazingly, on the last Sunday prior to the start of the convention, I snuck in and got a ticket for Saturday! It was a great feeling, and I became incredibly excited for what was to come.
After winning the ticket, I realized just how little I knew about the Con. I had heard a bunch about the lines, the mass of people, even the smell…but that’s it. I knew nothing about getting into the LOST panel and getting a good seat, how the parking might work, and generally how I might spend the day. There were a lot of good posts around the web on attending the Con, and what to expect. It helped me to know exactly what do in all respects: pick up my Saturday passes on Friday night, get in the line for LOST and Hall H ridiculously early, and bring my own food. Everything was set to go for the day of the panel.
Waiting in Line
Driving down to the Con at 2:30 am was pretty cool. I’m used to driving on the 15 freeway during rush hour with a ton of traffic. Obviously, at 3:00 am, there was no one to slow me down or make me feel as though I was going to have anything other than a great day at the Con. When I got there, it was about 3:15 am, and the line was about what I expected. Several hundred people were already there, almost all of them with camping gear, blankets, and pillows. Pretty much everyone was doing what we all hope to be doing at 3:00 am: sleeping. I only managed about 4 hours of sleep prior to getting up for the event, but I was too geeked at this point to actually shut my eyes and sleep. I brought my iPod to entertain me, and I’m glad I did. With everyone snoozing, there was no people watching to do, and no conversations to eavesdrop on. I played some Solitaire and Mah Jongg, and listened to my favorite music. It was essential to help me pass the time between the wee hours of the morning, and when the sun finally came up.
As the sun rose on what was a hazy San Diego morning, things came to life just a little bit. People started to wake up and head out to get coffee and breakfast for their groups. I had heard that if you didn’t get into the line by 6 am, then you’d be in jeopardy of not getting into Hall H for the panel. But when 6:00 rolled around, the line was really not a whole lot longer than what it was at 3:00. There were maybe an additional 2 lines, but I’m sure those people got in without any issue. The fact that the line wasn’t very long actually made for an interesting story for the people just in front of me in line. Apparently, these 2 had 4-Day passes, but no hotel room. They had just left some party at 3:00 am and realized that they didn’t have anywhere to stay. They knew that Hall H always had a line that camped out overnight, so they got in line simply to have a safe place to sleep for the night. Crazy! Once they woke up, they admitted to me that they had no intention of actually going to the LOST panel. In fact, they were hoping to sell their place in line for $100. I wasn’t sure how that might work out for them, but I didn’t think that it was completely out of the realm of possibility.
At around 8 am, almost everyone was milling about, and costumed fans began to wander the grounds, with many folks looking to get their picture taken with them. It was at this time that I noticed someone very familiar in the very first line…it was Ed Hochuli! For those of you that are a fan of the NFL, you probably know just who I’m talking about. For those of you that don’t, here’s the quick scoop. Ed is a very muscular man, who was known as one of the strongest referees in the league prior to last season. Last season, however, Mr. Hochuli made one of the most controversial calls of the year, perhaps in several years. And in fact, most objective observers say that it cost my favorite team, the Chargers, the game. Click here if you haven’t seen the play and are interested: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d80ad0bfa/Broncos-fumble-analysis
In the end, the call didn’t end up hurting the Chargers, as they wound up winning the division over the Broncos on the last day of the season. Plus, there’s this article on Hochuli that makes you realize just how good of a guy he really is: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=090507/hochuli
In any event, I had no ill will towards the man, and I was stunned that he was in the LOST line, camping out! He was nice enough to chat with me for a bit, and shared with me that he’s a big fan of LOST, and of sci-fi in general. It just goes to show how down-to-earth the guy really is. I told him that I’m a Charger season ticket holder, and that I had forgiven him for the bad call. I told him to enjoy the LOST panel, and wished him luck in the upcoming NFL season.
Just after my encounter with Ed Hochuli, the guys in front of me gave up on their plan to sell their spot in line and headed out to who knows where. Apparently, one of them went to the end of the line and asked the last person if they wanted a spot further up. There didn’t seem to be much interest. Really, they should have waited it out a bit more. Around 9:00 or so, the line got so long that I couldn’t see the end of it. I’m sure someone would have taken them up on their offer then. It was also around 9:00 that I saw Chris from the official ABC LOST podcast interviewing some of the fans at the front of the line.
Getting Ready for the Panel
Finally, at around 10 am, they let us into the Hall. Wow, was it big! I knew that it sat 6500 people, but you don’t get a feel for just how expansive it is until you actually get in there. My wife and I got seats in the second row of the second section. In retrospect, we probably could have done much better. The panel seemed to take questions from a line that formed on the left side of the hall. We initially tried to get our seats as close to the middle as possible. But had we just gone for something slightly to the left, we probably could have had something in the first section, and we could have been close to the Q & A section for photos of Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson when they invaded the line. In any event, we were close enough, and got some decent photos of the panel.
At about 10:30, Chris from the podcast actually came into our area, and my wife volunteered me to ask a question. As I was about to ask Chris the question, he said that the question was for Damon & Carlton. I actually had a question for them prepped in case just such an event happened, but with the way it worked out, I was caught off guard. I ended up still asking Chris the question for him, which was just how much did *he* know about the final season of LOST. I’m sure I won’t make the cut for the podcast. My original question for Team Darlton was about Nestor Carbonell, and whether or not he was going to be a regular for Season 6. (More on that later.)
At about 10:45, it felt like all of the hoopla was over, and it was go time. We had sat in line for hours, we saw all of the sideshow stuff, and now we had our seats. All that was left was to see what Team Darlton had in store for us.
Team Darlton Gives Us a Show
And what they had in store was cool right from the start. The panel started off with a really sweet silhouette progression through all of the characters of the show, until it finally displayed the LOST logo, and the “final season” tagline. Way cool, but I haven’t seen it anywhere online to share with you guys. They followed that up with the LOST University clip that I shared with you in my last post. Nothing new there, but still pretty cool. They then went with a new clip, and one that I really enjoyed. It was a video of what was supposed to be an old TV show, and they pulled it of really well.
It reminded me a bunch of the old “In Search Of” TV show from the 80s:
You can view the video from ABC’s site and get ready for new ones by going here: http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index?pn=lostmysteries&v2 The next video is due to be available on August 4th.
After the great intros leading things off, Damon and Carlton took the stage and let us know that they wanted to celebrate the fans with this panel. I found some good video on YouTube for you:
Here’s a video of the fan generated content they showed:
Here are some “commercials” that air in the middle of the next video. First, there’s an Oceanic commercial:
“30 years with a perfect safety record”? Hmm… Next is a “Mr. Cluck’s” commercial:
“Ever since I won the lottery, I’ve had nothing but good luck”? Interesting. I’ll comment more below. But the panel continues here, first with Hurley asking about the commercials, and then with hilarity from Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson.
Next was an “audition video” of Michael Emerson trying out for the role of Hurley:
After the “audition”, Jorge and Michael joined the panel, along with a surprise guest:
The panel continues here, with even more special guests:
Here’s the video they played before Josh took the stage:
There were a couple of videos I couldn’t find online, including the winner of the LOST theme song (which was very cool when set to video), and the ending tribute of all of the dead characters set to Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”.
Recapping What We Saw
At the end of the panel, we seemed to get plenty of answers, even if they were minor ones. My favorite character, Richard Alpert (played byNestor Carbonell), will play a large role next season (rumored to be 16 of 18 hours). Man #2, called “Esau” by many, is not really named “Esau” (at least that’s what Michael Emerson says). Jacob has not ever appeared as any other main character in LOST in any previous episode. Elizabeth Mitchell *will* be in Season 6 (although it’s not certain if it’ll be as a live character in the present, or in flashbacks). Faraday will also be back for Season 6. The Dharma food drop will be explained. And some characters that we haven’t seen since Season 1 will return in Season 6.
To be honest, I’m wondering who those characters might be. After all, even though Boone died in Season 1, we did see him again in Locke’s vision (which I believe was in Season 3). But regardless, I’m excited to hear that they’re going to try to bookend things by bringing back characters from the beginning. But the real head-scratcher and thing to question coming out of the Con is the 2 commercials from Oceanic and Mr. Cluck’s. If we’re to take them at face value, then the crash never happened. I’ve never really given that a ton of thought before, because I’ve always subscribed to the “Whatever Happened, Happened” theory. But what if Jack and crew actually succeeded? How could that make any sense? Well, this post is on my experience at the Con, so that’s a question for another post. Feel free to post your theories below though, if you’re so inclined.
The Rest of the Day in Hall H
Once the LOST panel left, my wife and I decided to stick around in Hall H for the remainder of the afternoon. We saw a Solomon Kane panel, which had some really cool special effects. It was a little heavy on the blood and violence, but I would still recommend it based upon the footage I saw. Next was a Mike Judge panel discussing his new movie, “Extract”. For someone with such big chops for comedic writing, I was quite surprised at how uncharasmatic and unfunny he was in person. If I was basing my decision to go to the movie based solely on the panel, I don’t think I would. He was largely unentertaining.
Up next was a panel previewing 2 movies: “Zombieland” and “2012”. Both movies looked great in their own way. Zombieland’s selling point seemed to be its unique way of dispatching with zombies. I won’t get into it here for those of you that may not want to hear of such gruesome details, but it was entertaining in a brutal and demented way. If you are inclined to like zombie movies, I think you’d like this one. But really, 2012 stole the hour. We were treated to an extended scene of carnage, where John Cusak’s character is trying to escape a massive earthquake and the wreckage it causes all around him. It’s absolutely on-the-egde-of-your-seat stuff, with incredible CGI that makes you believe that LA is crumbling into the earth and into the ocean. The scene, to me, was the definition of blockbuster. I don’t think they’ll be much disappointment. Finally, we were treated to a sneak of some Iron Man 2 footage, which looked spectacular as well. I absolutely loved Iron Man last year, and rank it as one of my all-time favorite super-hero movies. It’ll be hard to top the first one, but the footage looked like it was going to do its best.
Walking the Exhibit Hall
After the Iron Man 2 panel, we decided to walk the exhibit hall, and here’s where we had the least amount of fun. All of the bad things I had heard about the Con…the crowding, the smell, the overall feeling of being “too busy”…they all happened here. My wife and I went to the LOST auction table, but didn’t spend much more time there after that. I think we spent less than an hour there overall.
What an experience!
So that was my first (and probably only) Comic-Con experience! Overall, I really enjoyed myself, and felt as though it was worth every penny of admission, as well as the early morning wait in line. The panels were all fun in their own way, and if I ever go back again, it will be because there’s a panel on some TV show or movie that I’ve just got to see. But you do have to deal with crazy crowds, especially in the exhibit hall. And getting in line early is almost a must, especially if the panel you want to see is remotely popular. But if you’re willing to put up with those things, it’s a great experience. I would certainly recommend it to anyone considering going. You’ve got to do it at least once, just to see what it’s all about.
And that’s it for now! I’m sure that most of the info has been posted since right after the Con, but hopefully I shared some things with you that you didn’t get elsewhere. I’ll be back soon to comment on the next Mysteries of the Universe installment, and maybe to discuss the 2 commercials shown at the Con, and what they might mean to LOST’s final season. As always, thanks for stopping by and reading the blog!
EDIT: I found the tail end of the silhouette intro I was referring to, check it out below.
Also found the “In Memory Of…” video as well. Not the best quality, but it gives you the idea: