Facing a crowd of about 7,000 "Doctor Who" fans packed into Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center on the first full day of programming at Comic-Con International, series star Peter Capaldi described the scene as "cosmic."
Capaldi made his Comic-Con debut Thursday and revealed he had "never been in front of 7,000 people before in my life."
If there were nerves they weren't on display. A relaxed Capaldi sat alongside series co-stars Jenna Coleman, Melissa Gomez and "Doctor Who" executive producer Peter Moffat. Coming off a season that delivered BBC America its highest ever ratings for the show, it was no surprise the audience hung on Capaldi's every word.
"It’s the only show that I think is in my bones very deeply," Capaldi, 57, said of taking on a role that's been part of the television landscape for more than 50 years. "It’s the only show that I’ve followed since I was six years old." That sense of history was shared by the fans in attendance whose ages ranged in appearance from single digits to septuagenarian. Many dressed as their favorite incarnation of the Doctor, his traveling companions, or well-known enemies like the Cybermen. One woman even sported a full-skirted dress fashioned in the shape of a Dalek.
"The most amazing thing that happens is that I get the affection of the whole 50 years pointed in my direction," Capaldi said of playing the beloved character. He admitted to loving the B-movie feel that still permeates the series ("We have men in rubber suits pretending to be monsters!") and spoke of the moment he first came to "feel like" he was playing the character.
"I think it was when they threw a rubber spider in my face and said, ‘Fight it!’" Capaldi explained with a smirk. "I said, 'Doesn’t it work? Where’s the operator?' They said, 'There is no operator. It’s just a big rubber spider. Fight it!'"
Having been a Comic-Con regular for more than four years, "The Hunger Games" franchise delivered a heartfelt Hall H panel to thank fans and promote "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2."
An army of drummers dressed in white walked through the crowd before the film's leading cast members, director and producer took the stage to discuss the final installment and unveil a new trailer.
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Willow Shields said filming the last installment of the four-part franchise was definitely an emotional experience. Their affection for each other was obvious in the easy physical manner in which they interacted and the good-natured ribbing that flowed throughout.
An visibly moved Hutcherson described working on the films as "the most incredible movie-making experience, and just experience in my life, getting to know these people." Like mocking siblings Lawrence and Hemsworth playfully stroked his face and arm. "He's a sweet, sweet angel," Hemsworth joked.
Turning the mood serious, Lawrence said she hopes the franchise has helped young people realize "the power of our future is in our hands."
Though their appearance Thursday marked the beginning of the final press tour for the friends ("Mockingjay Part 2" is in theaters Nov. 20), Lawrence said her character, Katniss Everdeen, and the films will always be a part of her. "The changes that happened in my life from doing these movies are so permanent that I don't think I'll ever really say goodbye."