Patriciana and Miguel's NYCC panel picks, ranked. By idobi Staff | October 19, 2016 at 5:30 PM
10) SON OF ZORN
@ HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
P: Out of all the panels I saw this was the worst. It had all the main cast-members including Jason Sudekis who does the voice of Zorn himself. They played an entire episode of the show for the panel. Yet it wasn’t enough to keep anyone interested. The cast members’ Q&A wasn’t really engaging, I was not at all entertained by the episode itself, and the room definitely cleared out quite a bit when this panel was happening. They seemed out of place and not quite prepared.
M: Possibly the least entertaining entertainment panel of the weekend. This one was definitely a disappointment as it started off showing an entire episode. As someone who has never seen the show before, I was excited to give it try. Yet, between you and I, I fell asleep somewhere between the theme and the credits. Disappointing considering they had the talent of Jason Sudekis behind it. Even when he came out on stage, I struggled to stay attentive. The Q&A couldn’t save this panel as the moderator, cast, and crowd seemed to be aware that they were unprepared and mostly there waiting for the panel that followed.
9) UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS
@ THEATER AT MSG
P:This panel was nothing special. They showed a preview that wasn’t yet released and had some major cast members. They even gave away free posters afterwards. Yet, it’s never a good panel when the cast members don’t seem very excited to be there.
M: UNDERWORLD 4! …My first thoughts going into this panel honestly were, “Who asked for a fourth Underworld movie?”. Now I can’t complain about seeing the exclusive debut of the final trailer for the movie which of course featured lots of bloody werewolf vs. vampire battles and Kate Beckinsale in leather with blue contacts. Despite all this the panel that followed mostly consisted of actors who didn’t seem that excited to talk about this new film in the franchise, while Kate tried to save the day by awkwardly flirting with her co-star the whole time. (P:I KNOW RIGHT?! I mean Theo is cute but…) After a strange set story involving a ferret in someone’s trailer I have to say even seeing Kate in person did not leave me super excited for this next instalment of the explosive franchise.
8) RESIDENT EVIL THE FINAL CHAPTER
@ THEATER AT MSG
P: This was slightly better than the Underworld panel, only due to Milla Jovovich’s charm. She was funny and happy, and had great energy. They also showed a preview that had yet to be released and gave away free posters afterwards.
M:Following the Underworld panel was fitting, as both films are bloody and feature kickass female leads. With the same format to Underworld, we were treated with the exclusive look at the final trailer which I have to say had me pumped! Not to mention, I may or may not have been able to secure myself a selfie with Milla Jovovich. Overall not too bad of a panel yet nothing seemed to stand out to really make this event something special over all the others. Unless you count my selfie of course.
7) STRANGER THINGS
@ MAIN 1-D IN JAVITS
P: This panel unfortunately took place in NYCC’s equivalent to the infamous “HALL H” aka “MAIN 1-D”. Upon arrival I was asked if I had “tapped in” for the panel and told that you had to do so before it started in order to get a seat. I noticed several people lie and say they had and walk right in. Once I eventually did get into the panel, there were seats remaining. There were only two cast members present and they did not show ANY clips because likely they have yet to film anything for season 2. The guests were charming and humorous but definitely a panel that would have been just as good to watch online later on. The Main 1-D room offers small concessions and beverages which helps when you’re sticking around for the panels to come later on in the day.
M: One of the best break out shows of 2016 somehow found a way to let me down! After finally securing a way into what some could say was one of the most anticipated panels of the weekend, I was left feeling as if my excitement was undeserved. I know, I know I was reaching when I expected to see a sneak peak of season 2. Yet no season 1 reel? No gag reel? Not even the theme playing as the cast walked out! Maybe I was asking for too much. The two cast members who were at the panel were funny and engaging with the crowd so it was certainly not the worst panel. I was still left wishing there was just something more to leave me pumped for season 2.
6) THE GREAT WALL
@ THEATER AT MSG
P:This panel had its moments. Started off with singing Matt Damon “Happy Birthday”, which is now something I can say I did. They showed yet another preview and had cast members all the way from China. There were plenty of seats and they were super comfortable. They also had concessions open so you could get food or water. One of the best things about the MSG panels though was the DJ and hype-man that kept you entertained in between panels.
M: Going into this panel you would think the loudest screams you would hear over a cast member being announced to the stage would be Jason Bourne himself, Matt Damon. Well, you’d be surprisingly wrong. As the film takes place around a mythical backdrop to the story of the Great Wall of China and is directed by China’s most renowned directors Yimou Zhang, you better believe it would star a young heart-throb Chinese actor. When Junkai Wang was announced to the stage the crowd went insane! Leading us to quickly google his name seeing he is a huge celebrity in China as part of the boy band TFBOYS. Between exclusive footage, a great venue and singing Matt Damon “Happy Birthday”, I’ve gotta say it was not too bad of way to spend the Saturday at NYCC.
@ HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
P: This one was unexpected, as I did not know anything about this show before stumbling into the panel. They played what seemed to be an entire episode, but was actually only one part of an episode. I was pleasantly surprised that this is an X-Men related show, yet looks nothing like the X-Men movie franchise. It will definitely stand on its own and can be enjoyed by anyone, even if you’re not a fan of Wolverine. They had the main cast members present who were funny and engaging with the audience. I bet you will be seeing them at NYCC again next year.
M: Definitely the biggest surprise panel by far. The Legion panel debuted almost an entire piece of its first episode and what really caught my attention was not knowing anything about this series or its source material. While watching the exclusive preview I got a vibe that this show was being created as the superhero answer to the American Horror Story fans. Equally eerie as it was suspenseful. For the comic book tv show/movie crowd what might confuse you though, is this show is being done by Marvel TV… about an X-Men character (of which the rights belong to 20th Century Fox)… but still operating outside any of the other Marvel properties. Perhaps it’s fitting though, as this is about a character who is a mentally deranged person (P: OR IS HE?!) with superpowers, which cannot only stand on its own, but it doesn’t belong anywhere else but on its own. After our preview we were treated to a moderated Q&A which did not live up to the same entertainment we just saw and they barely asked the hilarious Aubrey Plaza any questions, which was disappointing to me as I may have a huge secret crush on the actress.
@ HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
P: One of my most anticipated panels was HBO’s new series Westworld. The panel did not disappoint: they played the entire new episode before it was available. They also had cast members, although James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood did not make an appearance. After the panel they had three different poster designs available to give out. Ben Barnes even stuck around taking selfies and signing some things for fans afterwards. I love a cast who really appreciates their fanbase. This panel took place in the Hammerstein Ballroom which had plenty of seating and no standby lines.
M:This was probably the panel I was looking forward to the most this weekend. I am a fan of anything the notorious Nolan brothers touch so even before seeing the first episode I was signed up and ready for this series. The panel treated fans to the entire second episode airing later that night. Being able to watch an hour long episode of a series that already has me hooked before all of my friends gave this panel an “A” right off the bat. Although the panel that followed had many of the show’s casts including the awesome Jimmi Simpson, it lacked the show’s two biggest stars, James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood. The moderated portion however, did give a lot of insight into some of the actors like Thandie Newton’s challenges with playing a character who is an AI playing a person who doesn’t know they’re an AI.
3) WAR for the PLANET of the APES
@ REGAL E-WALK IN TIMES SQUARE
P:This one took place outside of NYCC, at the 42nd Street Regal Theatre. It was not exactly a panel per se, as you had to enter to win a ticket. However, there was a standby line and I’m pretty sure everyone from that line was able to get in. They played a teaser and the trailer, but they also played a seven minute clip of unfinished footage and GFX for everyone to be able to see the process of editing and finishing. We got to see the actors before they are transformed into the Apes, and are just humans in motion-capture suits. It was fascinating, fun, and Andy Serkis is an amazing actor to even be in the presence of. Afterwards they gave out free t-shirts as well.
M: This one took a bit further from the Javits Center and had a bit of a confusing line system outside consisting of stand bys, already checked-in guests, and press. However, once we made it in, it was well worth the confusion. At first we were shown a short minute long teaser for the film which would later release online. The treat of the panel came in the form of an entire seven minute scene that was unfinished. Seeing the actors in their motion capture gear really acting before being turned into the film’s realistic Apes was incredible. The panel also had an amazing moderated section that gave insight into how a film that is made with so much real acting and computer generated imagery is really put together. Andy Serkis was very engaging with the audience and you could feel his excitement for the film. The high point of this panel though was being able to see the film’s first trailer which has still yet to be publicly released but let me tell you—if you were a fan of the previous films, be ready for something on an entirely new scale, because this film, to put it simply, looks amazing.
@ THEATER AT MSG
P: I was looking forward to this panel because I’m a fan of Guillermo Del Toro. I knew that one of the cast members, Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) was going to be there. I was, however, extremely surprised when Kelsey Grammer and Ron Perlman walked onto the stage. It was also Guillermo’s birthday so Ron brought him out a cake and once again we all sang “Happy Birthday”. Guillermo also broke a table he tried to use as a chair which was charming and endearing. They played two full episodes of a show that doesn’t premiere for MONTHS. It was quirky and cute and I enjoyed it. The main reason we attended this panel however, was to be able to see the panel that came afterwards.
M:Another panel with more exclusives! Actually being able to see something exclusive has become rare at these conventions due to the rise of leaked content on the internet so it is always a treat when you get to see a trailer or a clip of something you know you won’t able to just watch on the official YouTube page a few hours later (I’m looking at you, Disney’s Celebration). Not only were we treated to two entire episodes of a show that doesn’t premiere until December, we got to sing Guillermo Del Toro “Happy Birthday”! Those two things alone spell out what you can truly only see at Comic Con. As for the show? It wasn’t exactly my thing, but if you’re fan of Guillermo’s work and his ability to create fantasy worlds, you’re going to love how he takes on a completely animated series suited for the whole family, while still remaining mature and intriguing in typical Del Toro fashion.
1) THE WALKING DEAD
@ THEATER AT MSG
P:Which brings me to the number 1 spot. The Walking Dead. HOW TYPICAL. HOW PREDICTABLE. But let me tell you, I don’t even watch this show any more! Not to mention, I have been to probably four Walking Dead NYCC panels over the years. I really didn’t think this was going to be a panel that was going to surprise me, and it did exactly that. It had all the cast members you usually see including fan favorites Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan, but it also had newcomer Jeffrey Dean Morgan. They played a preview of the first episode of the new season and that alone made me want to start watching the show again. The guests on the panel were so emotional to be at Comic Con talking about this show that means so much to so many people, that at least two of them cried during the panel. Norman Reedus also read a hilarious letter from co-star Andrew Lincoln which required him to throw an item of clothing into the crowd. One lucky fan got to leave with his hat. All in all this was the most iconic Comic Con panel in my opinion. It was the one where the crowd had the most energy and were the most excited. I may hate that they print TWD on the badges year after year, but this is definitely the top drawing show of the convention and the Con knows it. I may start watching this show again after all.
M: I know this is always the biggest panel at NYCC. They’ve printed the characters all over the badges for years and years and years. Yes, I’m a huge fan of the show and have skipped these panels the last few years due to simply not being able to get inside. But nothing else could possibly take the top spot here and that’s saying a lot for a panel that didn’t show us too much in regards to the actual show. The entire Madison Square Garden Theater was full with a 2,000 person waiting line outside, and for good reason. The panel started by welcoming one of the biggest casts at NYCC all weekend, including fan favorites and even newcomers to the series like Jeffrey Dean Morgan. We were treated to a short clip of the first episode of the upcoming 7th season. With the clip just being under two minutes it was dramatic and suspenseful enough to get anyone excited for the return of America’s number one show. Including my sister who, like she mentioned, stopped watching seasons ago. What made this panel gain the top spot for me as well was the obvious passion and gratefulness the cast showed to such a large audience of fans.