Last year, just before the Comic-Con schedule was announced, I tried to predict some of the big surprises that the studios would spring on us in San Diego. As it turns out, I was actually right about a few of them (the first Mad Max: Fury Road trailer, first look at Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), but there were so many more, like Legendary announcing Godzilla 2 and Kong: Skull Island, Bruce Campbell returning for Ash Vs. Evil Dead and Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" performance. With the con just a few weeks away, the official schedule is starting to roll out, day by day, with some big stuff happening in Hall H. Of course, many studios started announcing their panels weeks ahead of time, but now, the "big picture," as it were, is starting to come together. Although this Con picture is much different than years past.
Several major studios have already announced that they aren't bringing anything to Comic Con this year, such as Marvel Studios (although the TV side will be represented), Sony Pictures (sorry, no Spidey news) and Paramount (Hasta la vista, potential Terminator Genisys sequel updates). Fret not, though, movie lovers, for there will be plenty of movie goodness in Hall H, Ballroom 20, the Hilton Bayfront and other areas in and around the San Diego Convention Center. Fans will get to say farewell to the cast and crew of The Hunger Games franchise with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, while welcoming the long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Legendary is also bringing Crimson Peak, Krampus and Warcraft, Screen Gems is coming to SDCC with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Patient Zero, director Kevin Smith will debut the first Yoga Hosers trailer, and there's even a Back to The Future documentary called Back in Time. Oh, yeah, I forgot this tiny little indie called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that will surely blow the doors off of Hall H.
Picking up the slack for all of these newly-absent movie studios (this year is the first since 2011 that Marvel Studios is not presenting) are a slew of TV shows, from fan favorites like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Supernatural and The Big Bang Theory, to newcomers like Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Damien, Limitless, Fear the Walking Dead, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Scream Queens and countless others. And there's even one project that fits into both movies and TV, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Also, keep in mind, all of these are simply the projects that have been announced, since, as we all know, fans are always treated to tons of surprise projects being announced and special unannounced guests popping up out of the blue, so even the "official schedule" isn't set in stone. With that in mind, we're taking a look at what we already know will be there, while truing to figure out what the studios, filmmakers and cast members will be showing the fans at SDCC. First off, lets begin with the franchise so big they have a whole day in its honor at the Con. (And if you want to check out everything planned, go to the official Comic-Con website).
Disney and LucasFilm already confirmed that producer Kathleen Kennedy, director J.J. Abrams, writer Lawrence Kasdan and "special guests" will showcase the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the panel presentation most likely including a new trailer. Sure, there is still plenty we don't know about this movie that kicks off a new trilogy, but since we know it will already be present, it would be quite the welcome surprise to learn more about the first spinoff Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode VIII, debuting in 2016 and 2017, respectively. My hope is that they bring out the whole cast for Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One and offer a few tidbits about their characters, before Star Wars: Episode VIII writer-director Rian Johnson takes the stage to reveal...Well, anything about Star Wars: Episode VIII. It's also possible that these revelations will be held until Disney's D23 convention later this summer, but hopefully they give fans something about these future films in San Diego. Since Friday is traditionally "Star Wars Day" at Comic-Con, there are a slew of other panels as well. Fans can learn more about all the Star Wars books coming from Del Rey, Hasbro's Star Wars line and Star Wars' inclusion in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition.
Over the past few years, HBO has revealed new cast members for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones at Comic-Con, and this year likely won't be any different. We've already reported on casting breakdowns that reveal more than 20 new characters. But, since the show has caught up with George R.R. Martin's books, no one knows what to expect from Season 6. With that said, Hall H is the perfect place to SPOILER ALERT!!! bring Kit Harington on stage, to confirm his beloved character Jon Snow is returning next season, even though he has said in interviews that he won't be back after his gruesome death in the Season 5 finale. Still, George R.R. Martin teased four years ago, after the fifth book was published, that the Night's Watch commander may not be dead, and with the burning question of his mother's identity still unanswered, many think that Jon Snow will return, somehow. And there is no better place than the Con to make this announcement, in front of nearly 7,000 screaming fans. The resurrection of Jon Snow is just an educated guess as to what they may reveal at this Friday afternoon panel. Now that the show has churned through all of the major story lines in George R.R. Martin's books, fans should start getting used to educated guesses, while learning how to embrace the unexpected.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Hall H panel on Thursday will likely be billed as a "goodbye" to the lucrative Hunger Games franchise. But that may not exactly be the case. Sure, the adaptations of Suzanne Collins' novels comes to an end this November with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but that doesn't mean it will be the last we'll see from Panem. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer revealed to investors in February that the studio is "thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities" to continue their blockbuster franchise, and, since the studio will be presenting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 in Hall H this year, it could be the right time to announce their future Hunger Games plans. The fans will probably see a new trailer or some footage from Mockingjay Part 2, but those who have already read the books years ago, are likely more interested in what's next. There is certainly plenty of fertile ground to cover if the studio goes the prequel route, perhaps even developing a new trilogy to show how America slowly transitioned into Panem, more than 75 years ago.
Marvel Studios pulling out of SDCC gives Warner Bros. and DC a big opportunity to create even more buzz for their superhero slate. We know the studio will show something (most likely a new trailer) for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice during their presentation, but they always find a new way of surprising fans, revealing the Batman v Superman logo in 2013 and debuting the first footage last year. So, what's on tap for this year? Remember back in October, when Warner Bros. revealed their ambitious 10-movie DC Comics movie slate, starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 and ending with the Green Lantern (Reboot) in 2020? Green Lantern is the only Justice League character who has yet to be cast, and it seems like SDCC could be the perfect place to unveil the new Green Lantern. Also, we have yet to see the entire cast assembled in one place, and Comic-Con is just the place to bring them together, while revealing who will play Green Lantern, and whether it will be Hal Jordan, John Stewart or one of the other numerous characters that have taken up the Green Lantern mantel.
Warcraft might not have the shiny cachet of established movie franchises like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but there is a rabid fan base already intact from the immensely popular video game series. We don't know exactly what they will show at this panel, or who will even be present, since none of the guests have been confirmed, but the easy money would be on a new trailer, and the studio may even surprise fans by issuing an early sequel announcement. I know, that seems crazy, but Marvel did the same thing last year, announcing a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy before that hit theaters. Then again, Guardians of the Galaxy was only weeks away from its release, while Warcraft has just under one year left until its June 10, 2016 release date. Still, anything is possible at Comic-Con, so we'll have to wait and see.
With production already under way on The Walking Dead Season 6, the cast and crew will certainly regale fans in Hall H with tales from the set and probably the first footage from the season premiere, debuting sometime in October. We're hoping, however, that the show uses this opportunity to introduce a character many fans have been waiting for. There has been talk about bringing the iconic comic book villain Negan into The Walking Dead for several years now, with actors such as Kevin Durand and Jon Hamm rumored for the role. Comparing where the show is right now to the comics, it could be a bit early for Negan to show up, since he doesn't debut until the 100th issue of the comic and, in terms of the TV show's story, they are at, roughly, issue 79. Still, the show has deviated from the comics in the past, and they certainly could do so again by introducing Negan a bit early.
Can't wait until mid-October to get your zombie fix with The Walking Dead? Then fear not because AMC is debuting the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead this August, with the cast and crew descending upon SDCC to give fans a sneak peek at the show. It's possible that the network could show the entire pilot episode during this highly-anticipated panel, or they could just show a slew of new footage instead. Series creator Robert Kirkman has already been confirmed for a few different comic book panels on Thursday, so he will surely be present at this presentation, and we know that main cast members Alycia Debnam Carey, Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Mercedes Masöhn will be there as well. Robert Kirkman has said in the past that this show starts at the beginning of the zombie outbreak, but it will eventually "catch up" with The Walking Dead. Since both shows are set on the other side of the country, it seems unlikely that these characters will meet, but hopefully we'll learn more in San Diego.
Universal Pictures' Shared Monster Universe Slate
Universal Pictures' SDCC plans have not been revealed at all thus far, but we're hoping that they finally shed more light on their Shared Monster Universe. Last year, Universal brought on writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan to spearhead the studio's Shared Monster Universe, rebooting several of the studio's classic horror characters and putting them all in one universe. This initiative essentially kicked off with last year's Dracula Untold, with an end credits scene that showed Dracula in present day, and the Untitled Mummy Reboot set to hit theaters in the summer of 2016. Since it's most likely far too early to reveal anything about Fast & Furious 8 (a franchise which has never had a presence at the Con before), the studio could, at the very least, reveal what other movies are being planned in this universe. There has been speculation that The Wolf Man and Frankenstein are among the early projects being developed, so hopefully we'll find out more next month.
While Marvel won't have a movie presence at SDCC this year, Marvel TV will be represented by Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel's Agent Carter with a joint panel on Saturday afternoon. For fans of the animated superheroes, /tv/avengers-assemble/Marvel's Avengers: Ultron Revolution, /tv/ultimate-spider-man/Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister 6 and the upcoming Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy will be put on display at the Marvel Animation panel, also on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that Marvel has any plans to bring their Netflix shows to the Con this year, unless a surprise panel is announced later this week. Marvel's Daredevil is already a success, with a second season currently in the works, Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones is in production and Mike Colter has been cast as Marvel's Luke Cage, but we know absolutely nothing about Marvel's Iron Fist yet. It's possible that Marvel and Netflix could clarify when the remaining three shows will debut, along with The Defenders miniseries, and possibly even announce Marvel's Iron Fist casting in San Diego.
Starz confirmed earlier this month that Ash Vs. Evil Dead producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert will be joined by stars Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless at their SDCC panel on Friday night. The panel is only an hour long (6 PM - 7 PM), so it's possible but unlikely that they'll show the entire pilot episode, but expect to see plenty of footage along with a lively Q&A from these Con veterans. The show is still in production in New Zealand on the 10-episode first season, which finds Bruce Campbell reprising his beloved role of Ash, the stock boy/chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. Hopefully the cast and crew explain exactly how the Deadites come back in this show, set 30 years after The Evil Dead, but we'll have to wait and see.
Warner Bros. Television is bringing CW's Arrow, The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow together with Fox's Gotham and CBS' Supergirl for a massive three-hour mega-panel in Hall H on Saturday night. The evening will feature a pilot screening of the highly anticipated new action series Supergirl, followed by video presentations and Q&As with stars and producers from Arrow, The Flash and Gotham. Since DC's Legends of Tomorrow hasn't started shooting yet, obviously no footage can be shown, but hopefully we'll learn a lot more about the show during their Q&A session, like where exactly is this show set? Is Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) joining Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber)? It's worth noting that there have been rumors for quite some time that CBS' Supergirl may be able to cross over into Arrow and The Flash, since all three shows are executive produced by Greg Berlanti. CBS has officially shot down these rumors in the past, but you never know what will happen at SDCC.
Panel-sharing seems to be all the rage this year, with Warner Bros. TV's huge superhero panel, CBS' summer slate sharing a presentation together, with Fox's Scream Queens and FX's American Horror Story coming together under one roof as well. Of course, this makes sense on many levels, since both shows were created by Ryan Murphy and they both appeal to horror fans. The panel will include Scream Queens stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Skyler Samuels and Keke Palmer, along with American Horror Story: Hotel stars Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Matthew Bomer. We know the full pilot for Scream Queens will be shown, but, since American Horror Story: Hotel hasn't gone into production yet, it's doubtful anything will be shown. Perhaps Ryan Murphy will announce a few new surprise cast members, in lieu of some actual footage, or he could pull off a huge shocker by revealing that Jessica Lange didn't leave the show at all, and she is coming back. While that scenario is unlikely, it certainly would evoke a huge response from the AHS fans.
Are you more excited for Comic-Con now than you were before? It will surely be an exciting five days in San Diego, with the convention kicking off on Wednesday, July 8 with Preview Night, and running through Sunday, July 12, and we're hoping that there are some huge surprises in store for the fans. Do you have any SDCC surprises that you think could be announced?