Proclaiming himself “like the cool high school student who graduates and then comes back to hang out the next year,” Conan O’Brien returned on Wednesday to San Diego Comic-Con for the fifth straight year. Or, rather, Conan’s alternate universe animated doppelganger made the trip in the cold open, swinging his way across the country with his supernaturally prehensile hair, as only befits a guy whose fateful, long-ago bite from a radioactive party clown transformed him from a gangly, pale-skinned, unpopular teenager into . . . well, at least he’s not that unpopular anymore.
That was how Conan opened this year’s Conan At Comic-Con, employing the impressive talents of the animators at STATE Design to craft this Conan’s origin story in the style of Into The Spider-Verse’s multiple Spider-people. Apart from receiving dispiriting advice from an unhelpful Uncle Ben stand-in (“With no talent comes no responsibility.”), getting manhandled by a Kingpin-sized and fed-up Andy Richter, and eschewing superheroics in favor of “cheap laughs and light celebrity chat” (animated Jeff Goldblum is afraid of heights), this Super-Conan makes Jake Johnson’s schlubby, heartbroken Into The Spider-Verse Peter Parker look like Spider-Man 2-vintage Tobey Maguire.
Thankfully, our Conan didn’t come to Comic-Con alone, having assembled (or pieced together from recent celebrity guest visits), a team of funny famous friends for another bit about the quest to find a suitable Indiana Jones replacement, should Harrison Ford ever decide to hang up the bullwhip. And while some, like Don Cheadle, had the Comic-Con cred, the War Machine actor seemed a little to into his old role. (Indy’s got nipple lasers in his reimagining.) Other, more unlikely candidates had their own, perhaps too ahead-of-their-time takes, with Sam Richardson and Seth Green positing a pair of improbably snake-loving Dr. Joneses, Billy Eichner moaning about the prospect of a “woke,” bisexual Indy, and Tig Notaro unable to imagine why Indy didn’t just step out of that rolling boulder’s path instead of trying to outrun it through a fusillade of poison darts and whatnot. Kevin Bacon cockily rattled off just how many degrees off from the role he was. (Animal House with Karen Allen—boom.) Adam Scott demanded absolute verisimilitude so as not to set the boulder off in the first place, while Thomas Middleditch’s take was just a shade too Thomas Middleditch-like. Luckily, he had a backup sidekick character named Smitty which was more in his wheelhouse. Better than Mutt, anyway.