After one formal cancellation of the convention in 2020 and a half-measure gathering in late 2021, San Diego Comic-Con is back in (mostly) full swing for 2022. From July 21 to 24, San Diego’s Gaslamp District will be overrun by nerds angling to watch their favorite creators of film, television and, of course, comics make appearances, talk about their work, and offer previews of what may be coming in the future. In the lead-up to SDCC, we’ve highlighted the panels and presentations that are most likely to make news. Make sure you come back to The A.V. Club from Thursday through Sunday for our first-hand reporting from Hall H and beyond as we break down Comic-Con’s biggest, best, and most exciting reveals!
Although the studio is aligned with the biggest corporation in Hollywood, Marvel does not have its own convention (yet) to unveil big announcements and give creators languid victory laps, like Lucasfilm does with its annual Star Wars Celebration and Disney does with D23. That makes Comic-Con the best place for Kevin Feige and company to showcase what’s coming in the not so distant future for their cinematic universe.
For example, we can almost guarantee that Marvel will premiere the first footage for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, especially after the trailer for the 2019 film met with a rapturous reception back in 2018. But in the absence of a recent update of the studio’s release calendar, it also seems likely that Feige and some of the MCU’s biggest stars will show up to announce titles that fans haven’t heard about yet.
It’s also possible we may learn more about what’s coming from Marvel’s small-screen projects, including second- or third-season confirmations, or even a couple of first-time announcements. (In fact, Marvel has not one but two separate panels: a Friday session that appears to focus on series like What If...?, and a Saturday afternoon event that will explore the cinematic side of the MCU.)
Warner Bros. & DC Comics
Warner Bros. has pulled out all of the stops in the last few years when it comes to Comic-Con, not only ceding the stage in Hall H to filmmakers like Zack Snyder but literally expanding the canvas of their previews to wrap around most of the room. Snyder’s return seems unlikely, but DC Comics will almost certainly be the first and biggest priority when it comes to exploring the studio’s immediate slate—in other words, expect footage from Black Adam and Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, and almost certainly an appearance by Jason Momoa and Dwayne Johnson. Suffice it to say that Ezra Miller is less likely to show up. The Flash remains a huge question that Warner Bros. might want to answer, if only to keep the film from dying on the vine due to a lot of things that are only peripherally related to the property itself.
Warners may or may not use the panel as an additional opportunity to showcase some of its other projects—among them the now-delayed Salem’s Lot adaptation, Furiosa, Dune: Part Two, which likely has little to show but could make a brief appearance, and Barbie, which has mesmerized social media in recent weeks thanks to paparazzi photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling’s Day-Glo Venice Beach adventures.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power
Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s work on The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings—but not exactly by the books themselves—The Rings Of Power traces the history of the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, and the alliance that is struck, and eventually broken, between elves and men. Even without most of the characters from the previous films, the earliest glimpses of the upcoming Prime Video series make it almost shockingly familiar to fans of Peter Jackson’s movie trilogies in terms of tone and style. The Comic-Con panel on Thursday, featuring the cast as well as key members of the creative team, may offer the first opportunity to see whether that’s a good or bad thing.
House Of The Dragon
Like The Rings Of Power, House Of The Dragon takes a prequel approach. This series is focused on events before Game Of Thrones. Exactly why George R.R. Martin created this instead of finishing the proper Thrones book series that he promised to wrap ahead of that show’s 2019 finale remains to be determined, but if you haven’t read his 2018 novel Fire & Blood, this chronicles the end of House Targaryen and the events leading up to and including the Targaryen civil war. With a murderer’s row cast that includes Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans and more, this panel will give fans of the original HBO show an early opportunity to decide if this will mark the rebirth of appointment television, and to see if this new series can help mitigate the underwhelming response to that Game Of Thrones finale.
Since launching its own streaming service to great critical acclaim, Apple will, of course, be at Comic-Con this year, bringing with them a slew of television shows that continue to fly under the radar, including hidden gems For All Mankind and Mythic Quest. Both shows boast Comic-Con royalty—Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica alum Ronald D. Moore leading For All Mankind, the wonderful, emotional, and action-packed alternate history in which America loses the space race to the USSR; and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney, who runs and stars on Mythic Quest, an underrated workplace comedy about the video game industry, creativity, and collaboration. But it’s probably the sci-fi satire Severance that’s gained the most notoriety recently, becoming a breakout hit for Apple earlier this year. The streamer’s slate of prestige dramas is beyond solid, making it one of the most eclectic and well-produced lineups on television. For All Mankind is airing now, so maybe we’ll hear some tidbits about what’s to come as we head into the second half of the season. But any info on the next season’s of Severance or Mythic Quest makes attendance mandatory.
What We Do In The Shadows
Is our singling out of What We Do In The Shadows on this list of Comic-Con highlights a reckless show of bias? As our reviews and recaps can attest, we at The A.V. Club can’t help calling it one of our favorite series. Its presence on the 2022 Comic-Con schedule confirms there are many who agree; while Jemaine Clement’s vampire mockumentary comedy has been critically hailed for years, it’s become one of those slow-burn hits, steadily amassing award nominations and a fervent fan base. Shout out to the vampire cosplayers who will surely be checking out Sunday’s exclusive screening and cast Q&A—which, despite the series’ well-documented illustration of the effects of sunlight, isn’t taking place during the safety of night.
Star Trek Universe
Star Trek has more television shows in production than ever before—which explains why Paramount programmed a clearinghouse panel on Saturday to offer updates on all of them in one fell swoop. Look for updates on Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds during the 90-minute presentation. Also, a number of Star Trek feature films have gone into development and then, well, gone away since the release of Star Trek Beyond; what better time than during a Trek panel to announce that one of them may actually be happening? Regardless, it’s safe to assume that key cast and crew members from these series—not to mention the corporate architects of this ever-expanding universe—will have some news to present.
Hot on the heels of an impressive and well-deserved seven Primetime Emmy nominations—including for creator-star Quinta Brunson, the first Black woman in the awards’ history to earn three comedy noms—Abbott Elementary will liven up Comic-Con much like it’s livened up traditional network TV. Cast members and executive producers from the hit ABC sitcom will call class into session on Thursday, building buzz ahead of a sophomore season this fall. Abbott Elementary is in that sweet spot between a series’ acclaimed first outing and its highly anticipated return, an ideal time to make an appearance in front of fans and industry members alike. Here’s hoping there are Emmy voters in attendance!