Comic-Con Should Really Stream That Hall H Footage Online

By  · Published on July 10th, 2015

Marvel Studios

Do you think Marvel’s bringing their terrifying security platoon to Comic-Con? Probably not, I’m guessing. Oh, also: yes, Marvel has a terrifying security platoon. They stalk convention halls with night vision goggles and bark “all cell phones away” at various intervals. Given the lack of a Marvel Studios panel this year (and that the only Marvel TV stuff seems to be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter and various cartoons – nothing gasp-worthy like Jessica Jones or season two of Daredevil), I’m guessing the official Marvel Security Force gets the weekend off. Good for them.

I’ve got a novel idea, though: can we just move past this whole escalating con-goer/panel security arms race and just stream Comic-Con online already? Stream the whole thing. Yes, even the secret, Hall H-only stuff. And here’s why:

Leaks Are Going to Happen, No Matter What

Footage leaks. Footage always leaks. Footage has already leaked. Somebody grabbed the new trailer for The Walking Dead’s sixth season (presumably, meant to air at today’s Walking Dead panel) and uploaded it last night in glorious grainy cell-phone-O-vision (I won’t link to it, but for the curious it’s just a Google search away). I’m guessing once the major movie panels begin in earnest, some other sneaky Sam will do the same.

Happens every year. Last year was Batman v Superman. In 2013 it was Guardians of the Galaxy. In 2012, Man of Steel. In 2011, Prometheus. You get the idea.

This year, Comic-Con’s updated the rulebook to ban selfie sticks, Google Glass and any other device that might act as a piracy aid (my favorite new rule: “No Drones or Flying Devices”- a rule I hope is enforced with anti-drone Nerf guns). But it’s all for naught. As THR tells us, lawless con-goers are having a banner year using the Periscope live-streaming app. Yesterday morning, someone used it to yoink Bill Murray’s Rock the Kasbah panel- the entire panel- and upload it online with seemingly little difficulty.

Given that Marvel seems to be the only panel employing a private security force, I’d wager most other studios are OK with a little collateral damage now and then. If that’s the case, why not get out in front of the leakers and upload the footage (or better yet, the whole panel) themselves? The only difference between millions of people watching grainy cellphone Batfleck and crystal clear YouTube Batfleck is that WB’s in actually in control of the latter situation.

Comic-Con Is Already Shrinking

At least if we’re going by the last two years. Last year everyone expected a Marvel blowout yet got a whiff- Josh Brolin wearing the Infinity Gauntlet and a few clips from movies everyone already knew were coming. Zero surprises. This year, our expectations come pre-tamped down. No Marvel Studios, no Sony, no Paramount. No new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. Not that there won’t be mega-important, Earth-shattering reveals… but there may be less of them.

In part (the Marvel part, specifically), it’s because Marvel Studios has realized it’s large and in charge doesn’t need to be tethered to Comic-Con anymore. Marvel’s unveiling of the Phase Three slate and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, all the goods you’d expect at SDCC, were done on their own terms and their own timetable (and that timetable was October, not July).

This year’s Marvel-less Comic-Con proves that’ll be the case going forward, with Marvel Hall H-ing when and wherever they’d like. The next step, then, would be streaming the whole thing- this, we know because Nintendo pulled the same moves two years ago.

Instead of stockpiling all its headline-making reveals for E3 (the June gaming expo that’s more or less Comic-Con’s equivalent) like everyone else, Nintendo broke ranks in 2013 and revealed the goods on their own terms. A “Nintendo Direct”- a live-streaming YouTube presentation of all the neat new junk they’d be bombarding us with in a year or two. Marred by technical difficulties, sure, but since then Nintendo’s dropped Nintendo Directs whenever it feels like it- regularly netting in one or two million views on YouTube.

Oh, and I’m assuming an eventual Marvel Direct wouldn’t cut to black (or perhaps a written message: Shoulda Gone to the Con, Cheapskate!) every time Kevin Feige introduces a new piece of footage.

Already, Marvel’s one of the few outlets to live-stream its Comic-Con fare this year (although the quality varies- I tuned in twice yesterday and caught several minutes of an Ant-Man billboard, then Rob Lowe talking about his new Comedy Central series). Let’s keep this ball rolling towards the streaming future. It’s Marvel for the people- all the people, not just the ones you can fit in a convention hall.

Petty Human Jealousy

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this was part of it. I’ve never actually been to Comic-Con, and every June there’s that familiar pang of come on, really? when a select few get to see super-cool exclusive footage and I’m stuck poring over every film site’s description to piece together as many details as I can. Especially when it’s a film I really care about- last year, people got to see an honest-to-god Godzilla 2 teaser with honest-to-god silhouettes of Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidora. Yes, I know what silhouette of Mothra looks like (hey, there’s one now). But still.

Although I’m guessing that’s kind of the point. Like there’s a camaraderie in standing for god knows how many hours in a Hall H line to be one of the select few to lay eyes on Comic-Con’s super secret preview footage. Maybe streaming the whole shebang would cheapen that. Maybe once I get to Comic-Con (I’ve lived in LA for a year now, I should probably just buy a ticket), I’ll see the light.

But until then, I’d really just like to see that damn Mothra silhouette.

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