From Game Of Thrones to Blade Runner 2049 and all manner of superheroes, San Diego jamboree offers thrills.
TV and film have been arm-wrestling each other for years over bragging rights at the San Diego Convention Center, and the fact is both formats have enough in the pipeline to pack the hallowed Hall H to the rafters.
So dust off your Deadpool and Wonder Woman costumes as you peruse some of the most anticipated Hall H panels. Comic-Con kicks off with preview night on Wednesday and runs through Sunday, July 23.
THE FILM PANELS
Not every major studio presents at Comic-Con these days if the production cycle, available talent and materials don’t dovetail with the annual July convention. So without major panels from Universal, Paramount and Sony, the spotlight will be on Marvel Studios, Warner Bros, Fox, and a noisy newcomer.
The focus will be on September release Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Pedro Pascal are among the scheduled guests, alongside screenwriter Jane Goldman and Kingsman co-creator Dave Gibbons.
Can Netflix make a splash with their first Comic-Con film panel? Is the Pope Catholic? Will Smith and director David Ayer will be trumpeting Bright, the original sci-fi crime fantasy that several Hollywood studios passed on before the streaming platform stumped up a reported $90m. We’ll never know how well the film performs when it airs in December, but it is big bets like these in film and TV that have just boosted Netflix’s global subscriber base past 100m and pushed its stock price to a record high. Smith and Ayer were at Comic-Con last year to promote Suicide Squad. Let’s hope Bright is better. The session will also hear from Adam Wingard and his manga adaptation Death Note, which has been revealed as the surprise night-time screening at 10pm at Horton Grand Theater. Somehow we weren’t expecting The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected).
Blade Runner 2049. Heard about this one? Timing is perfect to bring exclusive footage from Alcon Entertainment’s sci-fi sequel before the film rolls out in most major markets in October. Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, and director Denis Villeneuve are expected. The session will include Steven Spielberg and assorted collaborators talking up Ready Player One, Warner Bros’ big March 2018 release based on Ernest Cline’s bestselling sci-fi adventure.
And no Warner Bros presentation would be complete without DC Entertainment, which after years of bombastic wrap-around screens, too much noise and underwhelming box office, finally has something to crow about with the global success of Wonder Woman. The trick is to maintain momentum and studio chiefs will hope to pull it off with segments on November release Justice League featuring Ben Affleck, Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa as Aquaman. The latter is due to arrive in December 2018 and also gets a tease.
Women Who Kick Ass
A beloved session that brings talented, outspoken panellists who don’t hold back on anecdotes about gender disparity in entertainment and dispense heartfelt advice to costumed fans during the Q&A session. This year Charlize Theron, soon to be seen in Atomic Blonde, takes the hot seat.
Nobody presents at Comic-Con like Marvel Studios. The traditional Saturday afternoon session is a sight to behold and has more style and exuberance than all the others put together. In the past we’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. serenade Hall H with roses, while Tom Hiddleston dressed as Loki had the masses eating out of his hand in an epic solo spot. What can we expect from this year’s must-see studio panel? We don’t know yet, although Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige teased Avengers: Infinity War at D23 in Anaheim last weekend, and if some of the talent are still in southern California that would raise a huge cheer.
Likely focuses are November release Thor: Ragnarok starring Chris Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Idris Elba, and Cate Blanchett in the villain’s role, as well as February 2018’s Black Panther. And news that Walter Goggins Jr. has joined the cast of July 2018 tentpole Ant-Man And The Wasp suggests there could be something on this before production starts in Atlanta. A tease of 2019 tentpole Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson would bring the house down. In light of the global success of Wonder Woman, it would be timely to say the least.
THE TELEVISION PANELS
The Walking Dead
This one will be tinged with sadness following the death last week of show stuntman John Bernecker, and the passing of zombie godfather George Romero. Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, showrunner Scott M. Gimple, and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd et al will take part for AMC and as usual there will be sneaks of the upcoming season.
Game Of Thrones
GOT was ineligible for the Emmys this year because Season 7 aired too late, but that hasn’t diluted the power of the cultural phenom everybody wants to talk about. HBO aired the first episode of the new season last weekend, so expect plenty of tease and no spoilers in the house when Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) attend the session to be moderated by “a special Westerosian guest”.
Showtime is getting in on the Hall H action and you have to hand it to them; they’re not missing an opportunity to promote the show. The two-hour series premiere debuted in Cannes and now this. At time of writing the network had not announced attendees, but David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan would be the obvious (and hoped-for) guesses. There will be an exclusive sneak of episode 11 at 10pm in Room 6A, if you have the mental fortitude to leave Hall H and battle the crowds.
This is perfect timing for Netflix before Season 2 of one of its most beloved young shows airs on October 27. Expect exclusive footage and a chirpy session from the cute young cast.
HBO has another hit up its sleeve. A year ago nobody knew much about Westworld but they do now. The show shared the most Emmys nods last week – 22, with Saturday Night Live – and the session will hear from Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), Ed Harris (Man in Black), Thandie Newton (Maeve), Ben Barnes (Logan), and Jeffrey Wright (Bernard/Arnold), among others.