San Diego Comic-Con is over for another year. Wow, that went fast! It always does when you’re trying to cram as much into four days as you possibly can.

There was a lot that I enjoyed this year, from the ScareDiego horror night and the Blade Runner 2049 VR Experience, to the buzz of the Exhibit Hall and checking out all the merchandise I couldn’t afford (and wouldn’t have the time nor patience to wait in line for if I could). And of course the warm weather – not sweltering this year, just pleasant. Being a part of the whole SDCC experience was the best thing of course, but here are five more highlights…

DENIS VILLENEUVE

denis-villeneuve

Meeting and interviewing one of my favourite filmmakers, who is making the sequel to one of my favourite films (Blade Runner), has got to be top of the list. I’ve been a huge fan of this French-Canadian director since his 2010 thriller Incendies, which he followed with the equally extraordinary Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. He’s eloquent, thoughtful, deep and poetic – just like his films. Blade Runner 2049 is in the best possible hands, and I can’t wait to check it out this October.

READY PLAYER ONE

Having not read a lot of Young Adult fiction, I’ll admit to not being familiar with Ernest Cline’s bestseller upon which the new Steven Spielberg film is based. But when I discovered it involved a virtual world informed by the pop culture of the 1980s, and that it’s kind of a mash-up of Willy Wonka and The Matrix, I’m looking forward to the movie a lot. Moreover, doing cast and filmmaker press conferences creates a personal connection to a film, and consequently a greater desire to see it (unless that film is Power Rangers). And to be in the same room – well, cavernous hall – as Steven Spielberg was an added bonus.

COSPLAYERS

Michael Myers or William Shatner? Both, actually. The fact a Shatner mask was modified for the Halloween maniac wasn’t lost on this dude, and he gets bonus points for combining the two. Anyone can dress up as Spider-Man, but it’s the more creative costumes like this one that really stand out from the crowd.

THE DOCTOR WHO PANEL

SDCC would have been the ideal time to introduce the inaugural female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, but she was a no-show. Instead, the panel bid farewell to Peter Capaldi, who received a standing ovation that warmed this longtime Whovian’s heart. This grey-haired Scot recaptured the flavour of classic Who, channeling Jon Pertwee and the Doctors of old. After only three years in the role, he’s going too soon.

THE PROP STORE

The Prop Store booth is always a must-see on a visit to the Exhibit Hall. Full of authentic rare items from classic films, these iconic props are on display prior to going up for auction at a later date. Sadly I won’t have a spare $77,000 to start the bidding on the miniature model dropship from Aliens, but I can dream – and window-shop. Other cool memorabilia that will be going under the hammer this year included Marty McFly’s sneakers from Back to the Future II, the DeLorean model, and the whip Indy cracked in The Last Crusade. And that’s only some of the 600 lots from over 160 films that will be auctioned in London this spring.