15 Magical Moments from Inside the “Fantastic Beasts” Hall H Panel
By now you’ve undoubtably seen the new trailer dropped by Warner Bros. on Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con, but today we have for you a moment-by-moment breakdown of what it was like being INSIDE Hall H on that magical day!
If you’re unfamiliar with the massive scale of Hall H, it’s the biggest panel hall at the San Diego Convention Center, one that seats 6,500 people. Most of them – myself included – had to camp out the night before just to even have a remote chance of getting in. As I waited in line, I heard two individuals chatting about someone they knew trying to get in line 28 hours before any of Saturday’s events would be starting. People really want to be in the room where it happened, and now having experienced it, I can’t say I blame them.
Fantastic Beasts was the grand finale to the Warner Bros. line-up, following mostly DC properties like Justice League, Kong, and Wonder Woman. Given the absolutely insane levels of cheers that marked the Fantastic Beasts segment of the afternoon, it was easy to see why. Here’s fifteen magical moments from the panel so that you can experience the day as we did in Hall H.
1) The Hogwarts Express began rolling across the screen, shrouded in misty, Patronus-esque light, as cheers shattered the hall and the familiar notes that began Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 kicked in. Dumbledore’s voice could be heard saying, “What you are about to see are memories…”
2) An energizing sizzle reel of Fantastic Beasts footage that we’ve already seen began to roll. Nothing new was given away, but it certainly elevated the hype of the room to an even more extreme level, which at the moment I didn’t think was possible. (Spoiler: It was DEFINITELY possible…) Then Warner Bros. panel moderator and late night show host Conan O’Brien introduced David Yates!
3) Once on stage, David Yates really kicked things off by bringing on the man of the hour, Eddie Redmayne, leading man of Fantastic Beasts. He seemed so genuinely thrilled to be there. The entire audience went nuts when he came walking out.
4) Eddie came out onto stage, clearly excited and slightly shaking, as the crowd went wild. It’s at this point that things started to get interesting because before we even realized what was happening, Eddie was pulling a wand out of his sleeve, and behind us, people dressed in 1920s garb began pouring into the back of the hall.
5) Eddie pointed his wand at the lighting fixtures overhead, shouting, “Lumos!” as the lights pitifully flickered on. So what’s a wizard to do when his magic isn’t working? He enlisted the help of other magical folk—here meaning the entire audience of Hall H. Eddie jumped from the stage and immediately started running around into the crowd to hand out Noble Collection versions of Newt Scamander’s wand. In unison, the room raised their wands and shouted, “Lumos maxima!” The screen exploded with the blue light of the spell and shot outward along the screens encircling the room. Lights finally came on at full blast.
6) Once the spell’s was cast, Eddie pulled out a very Muggle device—his phone. He then proceeded to take a MASSIVE selfie with everyone in the audience and announced the launch of the Wizarding_World Snapchat!
7) At this point, David Yates then introduced all the other panel attendees: Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, and Ezra Miller. Each of them emerged onto the stage with their own personalities showing. Katherine came out at an even pace with a soft smile, Dan came out with a face victorious and his arms wide open, and Ezra burst out to join them in what must have been his third cosplay of the day.
8) When asked by Conan if they can say something about their characters, they all chuckle slightly and reply with a firm, “NO.” It was worth a try, Conan. Worth a try.
9) Director David Yates then went into name dropping some the beasts we’ll be seeing, which you can read more about here. He mentioned the Niffler, the Murtlap, the Demiguise, and the Occamy. He described the Occamy as being able to change in size, sometimes being small enough for a table and other times big enough to fill all of Hall H. (You can spot these creatures and more in the trailer!)
10) Conan asked Eddie if he can comment at all on supposed Easter eggs in the film for pre-existing Potter fans, and with a smile, Eddie replied, “No comment.” Hopefully, this means we’re in for some exciting ones that require being kept under wraps!
11) Eddie got a little too excited after running around and all smiles, started stumbling over his words, which prompted Conan to say,
Always nice to have you run around Hall H in what looks to be a heavy sweater, in San Diego, in 90-degree weather, and then have you sit down and answer questions. I like the way they’ve laid this out for you.
12) Eddie gushes about the “extraordinary excitement” of there being a LEGO figure of Newt, saying it’s pretty much like fulfilling a five-year-old’s dream.
13) Conan asks the group what’s it like being in Jo’s world. Alison Sudol seemed very passionate on the topic, remarking on how incredible it feels to walk into a world you thought you would never get to experience again after the Harry Potter films ended. Ezra Miller was incredibly enthusiastic about it as well, saying,
It’s like getting your Hogwarts letter way late in the game, but still getting it.
14) Conan called out actor Dan Fogler by reminding him that his character Jacob is the only main character in the story who isn’t a wizard. Dan, however, simply brushed him off with a response that had the audience wildly cheering for him.
You know, Han Solo wasn’t a Jedi. I’m a magical person in real life.
15) Someone cosplaying as King George II from the musical Hamilton approached the cast asking what it was like to work with Colleen Atwood on the costumes. All of them were simply fawning over her, by complimenting her work ethic, her passion, and her style.
You look around at the extras, and each one of them is so specific and so beautiful. From where I was standing, each one looked like an action figure I wanted to pick up and take home. They looked so perfect. She’s incredible.” —Dan Fogler
Nothing gets on screen without her approval.” —Colin Farrell
You feel like you’re fully immersed in a different universe.” —Alison Sudol
Bonus: The trailer, obviously. We got new glimpses of beasts, an opening that really builds on the past released images of something one of said beasts destroyed, and just enough to keep us longing madly for November 18. Just after the trailer ended, director David Yates said, “We’re following a legacy that means so much to so many people.” We can’t wait to experience this next chapter for ourselves.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out November 18, 2016. To keep up to date with the latest news and theories on the film, check out our Fantastic Beasts podcast, SpeakBeasty.