At San Diego Comic-Con, it’s never easy getting into the infamous Hall H. That doesn’t deter fans, even on a Saturday night, from trying, however — especially when that evening promises a showing of the highly anticipated Supergirl pilot. The pilot screening, which was first shown during the convention’s Wednesday preview night, was a part of the Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment Super Hero Saturday Night. This was the second year the companies partnered up for a three-hour block of programming showcasing their superhero TV shows, and fans were eager to see what they had in store.
That was glaringly apparent when I arrived to line up for the 8 p.m. event around 4:45 p.m. and discovered a growing line. While the woman in front of me was there for the Warner Bros. presents A Night of DC Entertainment event, some still held out hope of making it in to see earlier panels, like the two men behind me in line who were aiming for the 20th Century Fox panel (they didn’t make it). Even as all these individuals left the line as their panels started without them, a large chunk remained for DC. As people do in comic-con lines that last for hours, this led to conversations you can only have with your fellow convention-goers about the con and its highlights as we slowly inched forward. As the Fox panel emptied out of Hall H late, our waiting lines cheered, and not long after my surrounding group and I were inside.
Despite a late start to the programming block, the audience was enthusiastic as the event began. The hosts led the program into a short Arrow video before the show’s leading man, actor Stephen Amell, appeared on stage dressed in his new costume for Season 4 and declaring, “San Diego Comic-Con, you have not failed this city.” After the rest of his in-character speech and a video full of highlights from the previous season, the Arrow panelists were brought on stage and shared news that excited the attending fans. My neighbors heartily applauded word that Oliver Queen’s new costume would be the first step in Queen’s development to becoming the Green Arrow from being the Arrow. Other Arrow topics that received a strong response included Diggle finally getting a costume, the strong female characters in the show and the introduction of new characters such as Anarky and Mister Terrific, who will be a new LGBT character in the series.
Right at the end a sneak peek was announced and greeted with a mix of disappointed “ahhs” from those who probably wanted something from Arrow itself and happier claps from those excited to see it was a look at the new animated series Vixen.
Vixen acted as a perfect transition from Arrow to The Flash. The video showing highlights of The Flash’s first season drew cheers, but attendees grew especially loud at the hints at the end of the video for what was to come in the second season, namely the villain Zoom. As the panelists came on stage, if fans weren’t already eating this seemed to be the time for many to pull out their snacks. It had started late, after all, so those around me took the chance to eat as the panel discussed a number of things including Zoom, Jay Garrick, Patty Spivot, Wally West, and introducing Earth-2 characters.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
The crowd was clearly excited for the brand-new Legends of Tomorrow. They perked up when the video began to play and greeted the panelists walking on stage fervently, especially actress Ciara Renée, who plays Hawkgirl. The producers explained that Arrow and The Flash would be “table setting” for the midseason Legends, including a crossover that would play into the show. The crowd seemed happy to hear the series described as “all it is is the crazy ideas.” Fans cheered at word that Hawkman would be part of the show as well.
Then, in the middle of the panel, fans in my section received glow sticks, something that perhaps those further up received earlier in the night. My neighbor handed me the bag with a brief “take one and pass it down.” No further information was given. The glow stick wasn’t branded, but I could see other rows passing down a bag, so who could they be from other than Warner Bros. and DC? This didn’t make it any less confusing, though.
Perhaps they thought the light from the sticks would keep everyone awake as it grew later. The unbranded items sat glowing in the laps of those around me.
Unfortunately, Gotham turned the tide in Hall H, and as soon as Legends was gone and the Gotham video began to play a number of people decided it was time to bail. The new teases in the video of the upcoming season weren’t enough for them to stay. The people leaving, though, did not number enough for the hall to look much different as the panel began. The focus on the new season being about the rise of the villains interested some, but many were shifting in their seats by this point. By the time the panel ended with a question from a visiting Joker, it was about 10 p.m. and Supergirl, which seemed to be the mission for the majority of the crowd, was almost here.
Supergirl: The Panel
The crowd continued to clap, though they were slumping tiredly in their seats as the Supergirl panelists stepped on stage. The crowd cheered the discussion about female superheroes and it finally being time for a female superhero TV lead. A discussion about Stephen Amell showing off his abs at last year’s Saturday Arrow presentation woke up quite a few audience members, especially when this eventually prompted actor Mehcad Brooks, who plays James Olsen, to lift his shirt, rousing a lot of the crowd into whipping out their cameras.
Discussion of Maxwell Lord and appearing villains like Reactron and Livewire extended the panel’s energy until the very end, when the crowd thought it was finally time for the pilot — or so we thought.
An Odd Performance
Instead the audience was then treated to what can only be described as a strangely placed superhero-inspired acrobat-type show, which made most of the crowd sit up in a “What on Earth is happening?” position and led to another stream of people making their way to the exit. After a late start to the event, many of those around me did not appreciate what to them was a delay into getting to their ultimate goal.
Why did we need it? We didn’t. But we got it. And with it the event was destined to in no way end by 11 p.m.
Supergirl: The Pilot
The fans stuck it out though for Supergirl, which received a giant collective if tired cheer when it began to play. Early on the pilot inspired claps, laughs and repeated murmurings from people about actress Melissa Benoist in the title role. “So love her!” was a phrase exclaimed behind me during one particular scene near the beginning. The audience continued to have positive reactions during the show despite the late time, though they were clearly ready to leave when it ended around 11:20 p.m. as everyone stumbled to their feet and staggered out into the night.
The talk amid the crowd was mostly hopeful for the new show as we exited, with excitement over Benoist. However, there was also some dislike of how much the pilot decided to bluntly state to everyone repeatedly and obviously how strong girls were instead of focusing more on showing it and not telling it.
Still, fan response to what Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment were doing with all their series was mainly positive, and it once again drew quite a crowd. If they decide to go for a third year, they might just want to reconsider a pilot-delaying performance and the still-mysterious glow sticks.