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Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences You Could Have at Comic-Con 2013

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Comic-Con 2013 starts in just one week. And if you're still overwhelmed with the wealth of panels, activities and off-site adventures, then we're here to help. We've compiled a complete list of the best of the best events that you cannot miss this year. Here's the ultimate Comic-Con 2013 To-Do List.


See It First

One of the best things about Comic-Con is being the FIRST person to see gobs and gobs of new television and movie footage. Thus giving you epic bragging rights for the rest of the year. It's a special treat for only the biggest of fans, the Comic-Conners.

  • SDCC Official Preview Night Before the madness of Comic-Con begins the annual "preview night" must take place. And this year the Convention is screening some major bragging-rights pilots. Almost Human, The 100, The Tomorrow People, and The Originals will all debut their premiere episodes for the masses, including new Originals footage. And we can honestly say we are legit excited about each of these new series. Located in Ballroom 20, from 6:00pm - 10:00pm. You must have a Preview Night badge for admittance.
  • Psych the Musical Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! We love this duo so deeply, and we're doubly excited that USA will be screening the much whispered about Psych musical episode on Wednesday July 17th, at Reading Cinemas. Doors open at 10 PM, and the show starts at midnight. RSVP here.
  • Black Sails Michael Bay's super sexy Starz pirate series is hosting a sneak peek screening on Thursday, July 18th at 8:30 PM at Reading Cinema. You need to RSVP to Starz to attend.
  • Escape Plan A special fan screening hosted by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday at Reading Cinemas. Tickets are available through online giveaways and at the Summit Booth on the convention floor. There will also be a ticket giveaway outside the screening location (but that's only until supplies last). The fan line starts outside the cinema at 5 PM.
  • Cockneys Vs. Zombies SHOUT! Factory will hold a special film screening of this cute indie film (we still haven't seen!!) at Marriott Marquis Marina Ballroom D on Saturday July 20th at 8 PM.

Stock Up On Free Stuff

A lot of the free exclusives passed out at Comic-Con are, sadly, tomorrow's trash. However, every Con has a collection of quality freebies that are not only useful to the convention-goer but also awesome. Previous Cons handed out Big Foot deodorant, some awesome Mockingjay pins and Supernatural salt (funny and useful). These ware things you should be on the hunt for, because they will not only make you life easier, but are also awesome.


This year we've already spotted two must have freebies. The Yoda Dog ears from the Petco booth (Booth 2913) and a FACE CHAIR. Simple, yes, but you will be thanking us later when you go pick up your free chair from NBC and Universal Television over at Tin Fish (across the tracks from the Convention Center). Face chairs will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis (we're assuming) so we would get there early, get your free chair and get on with your conventioning. It will be a life saver, we promise. Also, think of all the sit-on-my face joke possibilities!

Image via ComicConGeek.


Can't-Miss Movie Panels

And we're off — this year, the movie panels are not messing around. Friday and Saturday promises to be an absolute typhoon of amazing footage and freakouts. So here is our can't miss it collection of movie panels from SDCC 2013.

  • Entertainment Weekly’s The Visionaries Thursday, Hall H – 2:30pm – 3:30pm. Marc Webb, Alfonso Cuarón and Edgar Wright all together talking about movies. Get there early. Really early.
  • Ender’s Game and Divergent Thursday, Hall H– 3:50pm – 4:50pm. Our guess? This will be the first time we see any actual footage from the movie adaptation of that dystopian YA novel Divergent. Which could set this film up as the next Hunger Games. And then there's Ender's Game. The whole cast of alien-fighting youths will be there — including Ender himself, Asa Butterfield. Plus Harrison Ford. That's right Harrison Ford will be at Comic-Con, so everyone put on your nicest shirt, brush your hair and try really, really, really hard not to ask him about Star Wars. Fingers crossed for the first-ever screening of Battleroom footage.
  • An Exclusive Preview of The Zero Theorem, Directed by Terry Gilliam Thursday, Hall H – 5:10pm – 5:40pm. Nobody knows a damn thing about this movie besides the strange synopsis "An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being." Sadly, Terry will not be in attendance but the producers will be screening a bit from the film — which could be even better?
  • The World’s End: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost Reunited Friday, Hall H – 10:00am – 11:00am. Hilarity will ensue, we might cry. We love this trio so much.
  • Kick-Ass 2 and Riddick Friday, Hall H – 12:15pm – 1:15pm. More good footage to behold. Kick-Ass is always a welcome relief of comedy during the long days of Hall H. Plus you'll get to see the Furyan in the flesh!
  • Sony & Screen Gems: RoboCop, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Friday, Hall H – 4:05pm – 6:15pm. Your first look at the new RoboCop, are you nervous? We're nervous/excited. Can't wait to see the new suit. Plus the new gang from Spider-Man 3 will be in attendance. Sony will also be premiering footage from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
  • Gravity, Seventh Son, Godzilla, The Lego Movie, 300: Rise of an Empire Saturday, Hall H – 10:45AM – 1:15PM. Warner Bros. unveils its new collection of movie goodies. And if you're wondering what film will be the "HOLY CRAP" flick of the convention, it's Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. If Warner Bros. shows footage that is even close to the white-knuckle inducing trailer bits we saw a few months ago, then this is a moment you do not want to miss. Pair that with the first footage from Godzilla (which they should have ready, since the movie has been filming in Vancouver for a while now) and the slight chance of a Justice League announcement, and you've got SDCC history right there.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I Frankenstein Saturday, Hall H – 1:35PM – 2:35PM. This will be our very look at I, Frankenstein, starring Aaron Eckhart and Yvonne Strahovski. And then the Hunger Games cast will show up and suck all of the air out of the room. Here's hoping for the first Finnick footage!
  • 20th Century Fox TBA??? X-Men??? Saturday, Hall H – 4:15pm - 5:45pm. The official schedule has "TBA" marked for Fox's movie reveal. But if we were betting folks, we'd bet the farm on a X-Men: Days of Future Past panel. With the way Bryan Singer is constantly tweeting set photos, you know he's just dying to show off his X-Men goodies to the fans.
  • Marvel Studios: Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier Saturday, Hall H – 6:00PM – 7:00PM Comic-Con King, Marvel Studios has a lot to live up to this year, and some serious competition. Can new footage from the Thor and Captain America sequels keep this comic studio seated on the throne of Comic-Con. Perhaps — if they bring along the Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Strange.

Can't-Miss Comic Panels

Remember comics?

  • Dark Horse: Joss Whedon Friday, Ballroom 20 – 6:15pm – 7:15pm. Joss Whedon, alone in a room talkin' bout Dark Horse comics and the future of the Whedonverse. What's not to love?
  • The Tick 25th Anniversary Saturday, Room 23 ABC – 1:00pm - 2:00pm. Celebrate the big, fat anniversary of The Tick with creator Ben Edlund Chris McCulloch (Tick Karma Tornado artist/writer and Venture Brothers creator), and Bob Polio (art director of The Tick comic series). Sheesh has it really been that long? We're old.
  • Spotlight on Neil Gaiman Sunday, Room 6DE - 3:00pm - 4:00pm. Neil himself, speaking for a full hour on Sandman. We only wish it was longer.

Can't-Miss TV Panels

Now it's time to start worrying — a lot of this awesomeness is in Ballroom 20. Not Hall H, which means smaller spaces and longer lines. But every, single one of these panels is worth the wait.

  • X-FILES REUNION! Thursday, Ballroom 20 – 3:30pm – 4:30pm. It's been two decades (TWO DECADES) since we've seen Special Agent Mulder and Scully together (completely ignoring the less-than-stellar movie appearance a few years back). But now the band is getting back together and this panel will include Chris Carter, writers/producers David Amann, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, Jim Wong. And of course, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
  • Entertainment Weekly’s Brave New Warriors Thursday, Ballroom 20 – 4:45pm – 5:45pm. TV's new heroes Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), and David Giuntoli (Grimm) join together on stage to talk about TV warring and whatnot. First question: Where's Tatiana Maslany?
  • Cartoon Network: Adventure Time Friday, Indigo Ballroom – 11:00am – 12:00pm. get your Adventure Time fix. Let's hope the Cartoon Network is keen on spilling a few future details. We're hoping for even more Ice King origin stories and the return of NPH with a song, naturally.
  • Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra Returns! Friday, Ballroom 20 – 11:15am – 12:15am. It's been way too long without Korra! Thank goodness show creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino are coming back to Comic-Con to hopefully debut the brand new season 2 trailer. We missed you, Korra.
  • AMC’s The Walking Dead Friday, Hall H – 1:35pm – 2:30pm. The whole gang (who survived the last season) is coming to Comic-Con. Including, Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus,Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Chad Coleman.
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC Friday Ballroom 20 – 1:45pm – 3:00pm. The cannot miss TV panel of the year. Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s head of television), Joss Whedon, and surprise guests (OMG WE HOPE IT'S CLARK GREGG) will reveal details on the new Marvel show. And, god willing, will show us a big, fat chunk of footage.
  • Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session Friday Hall H – 2:50pm – 3:45p. A Comic-Con staple. A huge cast of characters are assembling for this years Game of Thrones presentation, which will include John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister,Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark. And of course the showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and George R. R. Martin will be joining this blood-splattered troope.
  • BBC America’s Orphan Black Friday, Room 7AB – 7:00pm – 8:00pm. Behold the awesome new show that everyone is obsessed over. Plus lead actress Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris,Dylan Bruce and co-creators Graeme Manson andJohn Fawcett will (hopefully) give us clues to the new season. Seriously what is an Orphan Black?
  • Futurama Saturday, Ballroom 20 – 12:00PM – 12:45 PM. The always highly entertaining panel might be a little heartbreaking this year — as this could be the very last Futurama Comic-Con panel for a very long time. But then again, we've heard that before. The whole cast, and creator Matt Groening, all promise to be on the panel. So go and say goodbye (again) to the Planet Express Crew.
  • True Blood Panel and Q&A Session Saturday, Ballroom 20 – 3:30PM – 4:15PM. The sexy cast of True Blood assemble on stage to take your questions. Here's hoping the new showrunner receives a standing ovation for returning this season back to the former its former glory.
  • Being Human Saturday, Indigo Ballroom – 4:00PM – 5:00PM The super adorable cast of Being Human get together and act super adorable. No lie, Meaghan Rath is part kitten. Panel members Sam Witwer (Aidan), Meaghan Rath (Sally), Sam Huntington (Josh), Kristen Hager (Nora), and executive producer Anna Fricke should hopefully have some hints on the new season.
  • Supernatural Special Video Presentation and Q&A Sunday, Hall H – 10:00am – 11:00am. It's just not Comic-Con without a visit from the Winchester Brothers — and this time around they get to tell us how they broke all the angels and failed to close the gates of Hell.
  • Breaking Bad Sunday, Hall H – 11:15am – 12:15pm. Another goodbye panel. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan will appear with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, R. J. Mitte, and Bob Odenkirk to say goodbye and talk about filming the last season of BB. This will be brutal.
  • BBC America’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Sunday, Hall H – 12:30pm – 1:30pm. Matt Smith's last Doctor Who San Diego Comic-Con panel. It's OK to cry. Here's hoping for a snippet of actual Tennant-Smith interaction.
  • Community: Celebrating the Fans Sunday, Hall H – 1:50pm – 2:45pm. You have not lived until you've seen Community creator Dan Harmon go completely apeshit on a panel. It's pure poetry. And now that our dear leader is back to running things at Community, the screams leading up to his grand entrance should be heard around the globe. Harmon will join cast members Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong on stage to say "we're back bitches."

io9 LIVE AND IN PERSON! Friday, Room 5AB - 6:45pm - 7:45pm. That's right, WE WILL BE AT COMIC-CON WITH YOU! So please come and say hello. But wait there are also other awesome folks joining out panel, behold:

What science fiction stories from the past year made you think, as well as entertaining you? Panelists talk about the year's smartest books, comics, movies, and TV with io9 staffers Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, Meredith Woerner, and Lauren Davis, joined by Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Middleman), Marc Bernardin (Alphas),Austin Grossman (YOU), Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy), and Jose Molina (Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hollow).


Escape The Convention Center

As the marketing extravaganza grows so does the Comic-Con sprawl. No longer are events convention center mandatory. In fact, some of the best gatherings of geeks happens all over the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. We rounded up a few of our favorite happenings (some free, some not).

  • W00tstock Vaudeville for nerds. This night of merriment and music (hosted at the Balboa Theater) is stuffed to the rafters with some of our very favorite people. According to the official W00tstock site, Garfunkel & Oates, Jonah Rey, Aisha Tyler, Molly Lewis and Partick Rothfuss are all slated to present a song, a reading or just infuse the place with their own special kind of wonder. Tickets for the Thursday show are still available, you do not want to miss this.
  • Geek & Sundry The Geek & Sundry gang will be hanging out at Jolt'n Joe's throughout the entire Comic-Con Week, with activities planned for every day (including TableTop gaming every single day). Stop by and say hi to Felicia Day and friends, and take in a bit of Magic: The Gathering. Check out the website for a schedule events, not everything is open to the public (there are a few invite only parties) but for the most part this is a jovial hang session. Don't forget to stop by to meet the members of our favorite book club, Vaginal Fantasy Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton on Friday July 19th at 2 PM.
  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour Old timey radio show hosted by big name Geeks. The p WorkJuice Players is made up of Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), Marc Evan Jackson (Kings of Summer) Autumn Reeser (The OC), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Mark Gagliardi, Craig Cackowski (Veep), Annie Savage, and Hal Lublin.
    So far the extra special Comic-Con guests include Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Molly Quinn (Castle) and Jenny Wade (Reaper). But we're sure even more surprises will be popping up during the week. There are two shows on Friday July 19th and two shows on Saturday July 20th. Tickets are still available.
  • Ender's Game Fan Experience Located right outside the Hilton Gaslamp is the very free Ender's Game experience. We're nor sure exactly what it will look like, but we do know that it's a collection of Ender's Game rooms that showcase movie props, set pieces and will screen bits of the film. Plus there's a Battleroom photo booth, which sounds adorable.
  • Adult Swim Funhouse Adult Swim is constructing a giant funhouse in the Petco Park (right next to the footbridge). Inside the house is a collection of challenges, and if you pass all of them you win a special Adult Swim Comic-Con t-shirt, and you know how we're all sluts for free t-shirts. Free for fans, tickets will be distributed at the Funhouse each day starting at 4:00 p.m. and will be open Thursday, July 18 through Saturday, July 20 from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. each night.
  • The Veronica Mars Fan Event Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas announced that there will be a special "event" for fans at Horton Plaza United Artist Theaters at 7:30pm, on Friday July 19th. Check out the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter for details on how to RSVP.
  • Insidious Experience Someone has constructed an "into the further" experience for adults only. Which sounds horrifying. Here's the run down from the official press release "The invitation-only event will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 18th, with three special sessions between the hours of 9pm and 1am. Producer Jason Blum (The Purge, Insidious), along with writer/actor Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson (Specs and Tucker), will be on-site to celebrate with fans as they uncover some of the more insidious manifestations that continue to inhabit this space." For more details on how to score the special tickets, check out the official facebook page.
  • Patton Oswalt, Live! Stand up comic and spouter of great nerd jokes is filming a set for his new Comedy Central. The live taping takes place at 8 PM at Spreckels Theater on Saturday July 20th. Tickets are available here.

Win Something

What could make this experience even more special? Cash money baby. Win something just for cosplaying, tweeting, or being the right place at the right time.

  • The World’s End Fan Crawl Ok this one is a bit tricky, but sounds amazing. IGN is hosting a bar crawl at 1 PM on Wednesday (drinks are not free). It starts at the Commons and then jumps to two other bars. At this crawl there will be trivia and 12 lucky fans will win tickets to The World's End party that night. More details here.
  • Adult Swim Cash Money Cosplay Contest Adult Swim and State Farm are giving out cash money to the best Adult Swim cosplay around. All you have to do is dress up as your favorite Adult Swim character and you could win $1,000 and a trip to the Williams Street studios where the animated sausage is made. You can even submit your costume online. So boom, you don't even have to be in San Diego.

Scuba Diving? Yes Scuba Diving

Did you know there is a completely awesome and free meeting of awesome scuba geeks thanks to the Roddenberry Dive Team? Experienced divers join Birch Aquarium at Scripps scientists as they explore the La Jolla’s Underwater Ecological Preserve. And help clean it up a little bit, so learning and giving back. Plus there's a fire pit to keep you warm and free coffee and donuts (as this is a very early morning swim). Absolutely fantastic. RSVP here.



And finally the Comic-Con parties, the late night revelry that keeps everyone up arguing about Doctor Who until the wee hours of the night.

  • MTV2 Party in the Park. Open to all Comic-Con badge holders, on Thursday July 18th. The Event will feature live music, free food and drinks and will broadcast a one hour special of Teen Wolf. The live music hasn't been announced just yet, but we'll keep you posted.
  • Geek & Sundry Community Party hosted with Magic: The Gathering. Friday at 8 p.m., in Jolt'N Joe's. This is open to the public.
  • Assassin's Creed Pirate Ship Party Ubisoft created an Assasin's Creed players lounge that will be open from 9 p.m.-midnight on Friday. Look for it on 5th Avenue landing (behind the Convention Center). Also open to the public.

Top middle image via Matt Eleven.