This year’s San Diego Comic-con is missing quite a few big hitters, with regular attendees like Game of Thrones, Westworld and Marvel Studios (mostly) sitting things out and leaving other projects with a chance to make some big waves. And yes, the waves could come from Aquaman.
So with that in mind, we’ve collected together some of the biggest panels at this year’s SDCC that you’d be a fool to miss – even if that does just mean following along with them on Twitter from the comfort of your own home.
For the purposes of clarity, we’re mostly breaking these panels down into individual films and TV shows (for example, the Warner Bros panel includes several films worth their own entry), and picking the ones RadioTimes.com readers will probably be the most interested in, which means leaving a few big names out. This list is by no means comprehensive.
So, shall we begin?
Doctor Who – Hall H, Thursday 19th July, 11.45am (7.45pm UK time)
For many fans, this is the big one – the first official appearance of the new cast of Doctor Who since Jodie Whittaker’s casting last summer, and the promise of all sorts of new announcements about the BBC sci-fi series.
On the panel with Jodie are fellow cast members Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill (playing companions Ryan and Yasmin), new Head Writer and showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens, and fans are hoping for some new details about the upcoming series including a possible airdate and a trailer.
Still, given the excitement around the series the cast could probably read out the phone book and still have fans glued to the action.
Aquaman – Hall H, TBC
With Marvel taking a back seat this year, Warner Bros have a decent shot at making a SPLASH (yes, we went there) with Aquaman, their new film for Jason Momoa’s Atlantean hero following his debut in 2017’s Justice League.
While Justice League was a bit of a flop the signs around Aquaman are looking more positive, with early screenings suggesting we’re in for a treat. Until now director James Wan hasn’t even released a trailer for the new film ahead of its autumn release, but he’s since announced it will definitely appear at SDCC.
But it’s not the only DC movie getting an airing. While it only started filming recently, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman sequel (apparently titled Wonder Woman 1984) has already caused a stir by resurrecting Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor decades after his onscreen death, so fans are hoping the filmmakers will explain themselves at the DC panel.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Hall H, TBC
We’ve already had one trailer for the Harry Potter spin-off sequel earlier this year, but with the film’s release only four months away we wouldn’t be surprised to see some new footage from JK Rowling’s new magical saga.
Given the bad press this franchise has had since casting Johnny Depp, we’re betting Warner Bros will be looking for some good headlines, so we might be able to expect a fairly large drop of material.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Hall H, Friday 20th July, 6.15pm (2.15am on Saturday 21st, UK time)
The complicated business of who has the rights to Marvel hero Spider-Man rumbles on, meaning that ANOTHER studio (Sony) has some spin-offs to show off at comic-con even as the Tom Holland version stays out of the limelight.
Fans can expect to see more from much-anticipated animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which follows a different, younger Spider-Man called Miles Morales as he meets up with other versions of the hero), though given that Sony only released a trailer last month there may not be TOO much new material.
Venom – Hall H, Friday 20th July, 6.15pm (2.15am on Saturday 21st, UK time)
On the flipside, it seems very likely we’ll be seeing more of Tom Hardy’s live-action antihero Venom, a Spider-Man villain being spun into his own movie without the webhead this autumn. The first full trailer (which showed the icky symbiote Venom bonding with journalist Eddie Brock) was an unexpected hit, so Sony may be focusing a lot of attention on any new footage.
Marvel’s Iron Fist – Ballroom 20, Thursday 19th July, 6.00pm (2.00am Friday 20th July, UK time)
Yes, we know you’re confused. Didn’t we write earlier that Marvel were sitting this year out? Well, they are – their traditional big Hall H presentation isn’t happening – but they doesn’t mean they won’t have any presence at all, with the company instead focussing on their TV offerings and taking a nostalgic look back at the last decade of filmmaking.
It’s already been confirmed that Finn Jones’ Iron Fist will be represented at SDCC, with the critically-derided Netflix series presumably hoping to turn around the perception of the series ahead of its second season’s release (a popular guest spot by Jones in last month’s Luke Cage could help with this).
Fans might also be wise to expect material from fellow Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil and The Punisher. Daredevil season 3 has been filming for a while so we could be getting our first proper trailer, and given that Punisher star Jon Bernthal is already at SDCC for a Walking Dead panel, Marvel might as well make use of him too.
Star Wars – Room 6BCF, Thursday 19th July, 11.45am (7.45pm UK time)
No, we’re not getting any surprise Episode IX reveals – instead LucasFilm’s involvement at SDCC will focus on the tenth anniversary of animated series The Clone Wars, taking a look back at the programme’s success with some of the people who made it happen. Hey, it’s better than nothing!
Breaking Bad – Hall H, Thursday 19th July, 4.30pm (12.30am, Friday 20th July UK time)
And The Clone Wars isn’t the only anniversary getting an airing, with iconic AMC series Breaking Bad (which mostly aired on Netflix in the UK) celebrating its own 10th anniversary at SDCC with a panel (2008 was QUITE a year, apparently).
All the key players are back for the panel including creator Vince Gilligan and stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt, R.J. Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, and fans can be sure to expect some fascinating reflections on one of the greatest shows on TV.
Better Call Saul – Hall H, Thursday 19th July, 3.30pm (11.30pm UK time)
And earlier in that day the Breaking Bad universe rolls on with the panel for spin-off Better Call Saul, with stars Odenkirk, Banks and Esposito returning with Gilligan and co-creator Peter Gould and potentially debuting a trailer or some new footage for the upcoming fourth series of the shady legal drama.
As noted, Game of Thrones is a no-show at comic-con this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ANY George RR Martin TV projects for his fans to get excited about.
This year, sci-fi drama Nightflyers (based on a novella and series of short stories by Martin, and streaming on Netflix in the UK) will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his most famous project, even if it’s sci-fi story about people trapped on a deadly spaceship rather than a sprawling tale of quasi-medieval feuds.
Star Trek: Discovery – Hall H, Friday 20th July, 1.20pm (9.20pm UK time)
On the other hand, if you prefer your space travel stories to be a bit more hopeful then it might be worth keeping an eye out for the Star Trek: Discovery series two panel.
Following the departure of Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca and the shock appearance of the original Enterprise towards the end of the first series, fans will be excited to see any material pertaining to new episodes. And who knows? Maybe we could even be in for our first trailer…
Guests on the panel will include Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Mary Chieffo and Anson Mount, alongside executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin. Tig Notaro, who has a guest role in the new series, will moderate.
A Discovery of Witches – TBC
Supernatural romance A Discovery of Witches is also making an outing to comic-con, and bringing some of its stars along with it.
The Oxford-set drama follows a vampire and witch who fall in love, raising the prospect of war between their two people, and is based on a popular book series by Deborah Harkness.
Attending the panel will be cast members including Teresa Palmer (Diana Bishop), Matthew Goode (Matthew Clairmont), Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston (Sarah Bishop) and Owen Teale (Peter Knox) alongside Harkness and Executive Producer Jane Tranter.
A trailer was only recently released so we probably can’t expect much new material, but it might be a good introduction to the little-known series for prospective fans.
Bumblebee – Hall H, Friday 20th July, 5.00pm (1.00am, Saturday 21st July, UK time)
This 1980s-set Transformers spin-off has a surprisingly good trailer, and already has more positive buzz (sorry) than the last few of Michael Bay’s entries in the franchise combined.
Bumblebee director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) will be present at the panel, along with stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr, and it’ll mark the first time the live-action Transformers movies have appeared at SDCC.
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