Experiencing SDCC 2019 activations: The Walking Dead, Carnival Row, Pennyworth, AHS: 1984

Credit: Nerd Reactor

San Diego Comic-Con is the top dog when it comes to pop culture conventions. Movie and TV studios show off their biggest and upcoming projects and companies release exclusive collectibles on the show floor. One of the things that really makes SDCC unique is the elaborate activations popping up all over downtown San Diego. We were able to check out some of the activations for shows like The Boys, Carnival Row, The Walking Dead, Watchmen, Pennyworth and more. These experiences are cool ways for studios to immerse attendees into another world.

The Walking Dead Activation

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AMC featured activations for The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead at Deadquarters, which is right across from the San Diego Convention Center. The place was filled with all types of activities including playing games based on The Walking Dead universe. Survios was there to show off The Walking Dead Onslaught, a VR game where you’re able to kill zombies in many different ways. Nearby, there was a treehouse that allowed you to climb down a rope, and a plane crash site from Fear season 5.

The premier activation was the Winter Escape, a mixture of a Halloween maze and immersive theatre. We went inside were instantly transported into another world where we felt like lost survivors in the dark and cold forest. Frozen zombies were all around us as we tried to reach our destination. I was definitely surprised at how big the experience felt based on looking at Deadquarters from the outside.

Pennyworth Activation

Credit: Nerd Reactor

Epix made the trip to San Diego Comic-Con 2019 to help promote its DC original series, Pennyworth. Located inside a building on the streets of downtown San Diego was an elaborate Pennyworth activation. Actors dressed as British guards were out in full force to interact with the people waiting in line. Upon entering, we were transported into the past, and it was filled with go-go dancers, a bar (no alcohol), gambling table, secret room, and more.

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The main photo opportunity was a torture room where guests could become a victim. The guards will do their best in insulting and “torturing” you while you get your photo taken.

Pennyworth SDCC Activation 2

Credit: Nerd Reactor

Watchmen Activation

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HBO will be releasing a Watchmen series based on the comic book by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins. The show is said to take place after the events of the original comics, and HBO had a tiny booth to help promote the upcoming show. It’s a very short experience, but inside, you’ll be turned into your version of Doctor Manhattan. Check out the Instagram video above to see one of our own group members get transformed.

American Horror Story Activation

Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for FX

This is one of our favorite activations during San Diego Comic-Con 2019. FX had a big presence with the FX Fearless Forum with shows like What We Do in the Shadows, and Archer. The biggest attraction there was the American Horror Story: 1984 activation. This is similar to the Deadquarters Winter Escape experience, however, it has more than just the dark forest, and there are a lot of actors to interact with as they guide you on your journey. You start off in a cabin, and the lead camp counselor is giving us a group orientation on being a counselor.

Since this is based on the horror show, things don’t go according to plan, and people go missing. We were thrust into the dark woods and were tasked with surviving while escaping from a psycho killer. This led us into another cabin, and that’s where things got intense as the killer has us trapped. You can always count on FX to deliver an awesome experience.

Amazon’s Carnival Row

Amazon Carnival Row SDCC 2019 Activation

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Carnival Row is coming to Amazon later this month, and to help attendees get a feeling for the show, Amazon created an activation featuring a marketplace and a secret brothel with faeries and creatures. The show is about the divide between humans and creatures, and guests attending were split into different groups. The police and people of Carnival Row would treat you differently, depending on what card you received (human or creature). If you were a human, you were greeted with kindness. If you were a creature, you were treated poorly. After being processed, we went inside the marketplace with a lot of creatures selling different kinds of products. The main attraction was the brothel, where one could be entertained by the dancers and singer.

Carnival Row SDCC Activation Amazon

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The party was broken up once the authorities found out about the little shindig, and everyone was forced to leave. Yeah, living life in Carnival Row can be such a bummer if you’re a creature… or a human who wants to mingle with creatures.

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10164 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.