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5 things we learned from San Diego Comic-Con 2016

In addition to geek event staples like cosplayers and superhero movie leaks, there were some key thematic takeaways. For one, the '90s are back.

The Power Coins debuted at San Diego Comic-Con in a display that includes the Rangers' helmets.

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 is almost in the books.

The 130,000 attendees who descended on Southern California also got their fill of sneak peeks, premieres and movie trailers featuring Star Trek, Wonder Woman and Luke Cage.

There were all the staples of a good, old-fashioned geek extravaganza: There were cosplayers from Harley Quinn to Alexander Hamilton to a Star Wars stormtrooper dressed as Indiana Jones. There were artists sketching drawings and selling them at the host venue, the San Diego Convention Center. Then there were the marketing campaign kickoffs, including but not limited to Wonder Woman's invisible jet and Game of Thrones' hall of faces.

For this newbie to San Diego's annual comic and pop culture binge, the experience was educational. Pro tips include: Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen and bring a granola bar for all the waiting around you're going to do.

But there were other key lessons. Here are five of them:


Cosplay and Pokemon Go were pretty much everywhere at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.

Jerod Harris, Getty Images

Gotta catch 'em all!

Pokemon Go was the undeniable craze of this year's convention. Attendees everywhere were playing the mobile game that launched earlier this month, where players venture out into real-world locations and try to catch little monsters on their screens.


Nickelodeon's booth oozed '90s nostalgia.

Michael Sorrentino/CNET

People were roaming the streets in search of rare Pokemon. Others gathered at bars around the Gaslamp district in pub crawls. They dressed to represent their teams of either Valor, Mystic or Instinct. And, of course, most of them had their trusty portable batteries on hand.

The '90s are back

As if Pokemon, originally launched as a Nintendo video game in 1996, wasn't enough...

Nostalgia for the 1990s was in full effect at Comic-Con. Nickelodeon had a huge booth at the convention center, with props from the retro game show "Double Dare" and a giant visage of Olmec, the beloved idol from the game show "Legends of the Hidden Temple."

Other old 1990s friends are getting modern updates too. There was a sneak peek of the 2017 "Power Rangers" movie and display cases full of the show's old toys. There was also "The Tick," which is getting an Amazon reboot.

Live long and prosper

It's been 50 years since "Star Trek" first aired. At Comic-Con, the new series, set to air in January on CBS, officially got a name: "Star Trek Discovery." (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)


'Star Trek: Discovery' is the name of the 2017 CBS All Access series continuing the universe's television adventures.


But one of the most touching moments of the 50th anniversary celebration happened at a small press conference after the show's big Hall H panel. There, William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original series, opened up about his friendship with Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock and died last February.

"He was the brother I never had, as we used to say to each other," Shatner said. "He was my brother."

There's VR for everything

Virtual reality is the latest obsession for Silicon Valley, with tech giants including Facebook, Google and Samsung all working on their own versions of it.

And at SDCC, just about all the big brands and shows took advantage of the technology to give fans a more immersive experience with their favorite characters. These included "Game of Thrones," "Mr. Robot," "American Horror Story," Batman and "Legends of the Hidden Temple."

Edward Snowden isn't living in a box

Oliver Stone's biopic "Snowden" had its first public screening at a secret event at Comic-Con. After the movie, Snowden himself joined the small crowd via an internet stream from Russia. One of the people in attendance asked him how his daily life has been since the former NSA contractor leaked highly classified secrets on government surveillance in 2013.

There were some implications that when Snowden went to Russia, he was on the run and living in a box, the audience member said.

"I can confirm I am not living in a box," Snowden said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Another tidbit: Snowden's family thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Snowden in the movie, nailed his voice.