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Take a Trip to WonderCon 2015

Written by: Abel S. Pinedo

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Ah WonderCon, another glorious gathering of friends, fans and fun. Friday morning, after getting my badge, I met up with some friends and we planned our day. Once inside the first thing I noticed were some changes to the show floor. We spent some time getting acquianted with the new layout, and once we memorized the new floor plan, it was time for some panels.

First up on my agenda was Star Trek: They're Not Really Dead As Long As We Remember Them. This was a nostalgic look back primarily at the career of Leonard Nimoy but also at the careers of Harve Bennett and Maurice Hurley. If you're a Trekkie, then those names are definitely familiar to you. Stories were told about Nimoy's sense of humor during the making of classic Trek. My favorite moment was learning that Nimoy's off the cuff comment with regards to the scope of one of the story ideas was a simple one word line, “Fascinating.” He said it with such gravitas, that it instantly found its way in to Spock's dialogue and the rest is history.

Speaking of history, Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood led a panel focusing on the greatest geek films of 1985. Some of the films touched upon were Back to the Future, The Goonies, The Breakfast Club, Lifeforce, Silverado, Cocoon, Witness, After Hours and Gymkata. Granted, not every film is spoken of with reverence (looking at you, Gymkata) but there is no doubt that there is still love...except for Gymkata. My personal homework is to watch that film as well as Silverado. I just never got around to them.

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Onward to Saturday! I meet up with some friends and we made our way to the Arena where Warner Brothers gave us two major jolts (pun intended, read on.) First up was an all new trailer for the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road. After that, we got a look at the disaster movie of the summer, San Andreas. If the footage shown wasn't enough to bounce us out of our seats, director Brad Peyton as well as actresses Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario were on hand to talk about the physical aspects of the film. Peyton heavily emphasized the usage of practical effects in the film. For one harrowing scene, Gugino is dropped through four floors of a building. Not a stunt person, but the actress herself. The stunt crew told her once filming wrapped that she'd done more stunts than any other actor they'd worked with before. I'm trying to avoid spoilers but let's just say that I came away very impressed.

After the presentation, I made my way back to the exhibit floor to witness the San Andreas Experience. Essentially, Warner Brothers had outfitted a trailer with screens to show the movie trailer in a 4-D experience, complete with massive shaking. I didn't get to check it out myself, but others told me that it was a lot of fun. Even Peyton, Gugino and Daddario got to take part in it! It was most excellent.

 

What else was most excellent was Bill and Ted's Most Triumphant Return, a new ongoing comic book courtesy of BOOM! Studios. The writer of the comic, Brian Lynch, as well as the editors and the films producer Scott Kroopf were on hand to share a few stories about their connections to this iconic duology of films. Scott talked about how originally the time machine was slated to be a van but once Back to the Future came out, it would seem silly to use another vehicle so the phone booth idea took shape. There was no spoilers for the proposed third film other than to say that an unnamed studio has finally come on board so we are slowly but surely getting closer to that major announcement of the a third film.

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I made my way back to exhibit floor one last time and man was it crowded. The biggest crowds seemed to be around the Nintendo areas. No surprise there. With demos of Splatoon, Codename S.T.E.A.M. and Puzzle & Dragons, it was one of the busiest booths all weekend. The big draw was for the chance to win Splatoon shirts and a pin set. The prizes looked really cool!

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I arrived early Sunday morning for the last day of the show. After snapping tons of pics of early morning cosplayers, I made my way to the Arena. First item of the day was the Nerdist panel. The always entertaining Chris Hardwick and crew was a great way to start the day. After teasing us that Nerdist may soon become a news show on cable, Hardwick made the big announcement with regards to Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Nerdist and the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles are teaming up to bring you The Ultimate Marvel Marathon. On April 20-21st, you can take part in a 29 hour marathon culminating in the premiere of Age of Ultron well before anyone else gets to see it.

Hardwick and other Nerdist members will make appearances throughout the marathon as well as providing all kinds of meals and treats. He also confirmed that the Nerdist would be returning to San Diego Comic Con with just as big a presence if not bigger while they “take over the entire bottom section of Petco Park.”

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Sunday is usually the day that I get most of my shopping done. I picked up some comics, a few action figures and some neat convetion exclusives. One book I'm particularly excited about is the collected edition of Dead Future King. Our friends at Golden Apple Comics and their publishing imprint, Golden Apple Books, are the driving force behind the debut comic of David Flores. All I can say for now is that the artwork is nothing short of awesome and the story line involves King Arthur brought back to life in a post apocalyptic England!

I made a few more rounds of the exhibit hall before it was time to let go of WonderCon 2015. I headed for the doors and ran into a friend I hadn't seen in over 15 years! It just goes to show you the magic of WonderCon.

One final note: it has been officially announced that WonderCon is moving to Los Angeles next year because the Anaheim Convention Center is set to begin an expansion this fall. Comic Con International only has a contract with Los Angeles for one year so WonderCon could move back to Anaheim for 2017 or it could be moved elsewhere. The bigger question is, with San Diego Comic Con only contracted through 2016, could this be an early sign that a much larger shift is about to occur? In any event, I had an awesome time at the show this year and I'm already looking forward WonderCon 2016!

About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He's also an annual visitor to such conventions as Comikaze, San Diego Comic Con, Wizard World and More. When he's not touring the convention circuit he can usually be found at his keyboard telling the World about his adventures.