What We're Most Looking Forward to at This Year's Comic-Con
Every year, the tradeoff is real: What panel are you willing to sacrifice in order to see another? Even in a year when HBO and Marvel are staying away, the days at Comic-Con International are so stacked with events that hard choices need to be made. We feel that pain, and are here to help. Below are all the panels and events that we think will be the biggest deals at this year’s con. It’s not a comprehensive list—there are always gems hidden away for any pop-culture interest you can imagine—but if you’re looking for the blockbusters, these are a good place to start.
The Rebirth of the Predator Franchise
Writer-director Shane Black starred in 1987’s Predator, the story of a brutal alien who sees the world through a heat-activated, Hypercolor-shirt-like lens. That film inspired a handful of sequels and spin-offs (including the magnificently hyper-violent Predator 2), but none with the pulpy pedigree of Black, who wrote the original Lethal Weapon, and directed the high-flying Iron Man 3. His revival of the Predator series stars Wonder-kind Jacob Tremblay as a pre-teen who accidentally beckons one of the space-hunters to our planet, where it wreaks havoc with rangers and government officials before going to battle with an even bigger bad guy: a super-creature rumored to be named the Mega-Predator. Hopefully the members of Black’s delightfully disparate cast—including Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, and Jake Busey (Jake Busey!)—will be appearing at Comic-Con, and can tell us once and for all just how much The Predator’s plot cribs from the Ice Cube album of the same name. All in all, we expect it to be a good day.
M. Night Shyamalan Breaks Some Glass News
Nearly two decades ago, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan released his post-Sixth Sense superhero drama Unbreakable—and then watched it get busted at the box office by How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But Unbreakable’s story of an unremarkable security guard (played by Bruce WIllis) who discovers his abilities was championed by comic-book lovers, who marveled at Shyamalan’s grounded, tights-free tale of real-world powers run amok. Fans like Patton Oswalt lobbied for a sequel, and last year, they unexpectedly got in one in Split, the hit thriller featuring James McAvoy as a monstrous creature who lives in the same Unbreakable universe. In Glass, Shyamalan brings together Willis, McAvoy, and Samuel L. Jackson—as high-haired villain Mr. Glass—and all three actors will presumably be in attendance for the film’s big Comic-Con presentation. Expect plenty of evasive answers from the panel about the film itself, as Shyamalan is a master practitioner of that rarest 21st-century super-power: Secrecy.
DC Goes Big (Because Everyone Else Went Home)
Let’s face it: This year, DC has the run of the place during the traditionally booming and crowded Saturday afternoon in Hall H. In previous years, DC parent Warner Bros. has had a whiz-bang showing, bringing everything from Lord of the Rings films to Justice Leagues and Suicide Squads, but they’ve always had to compete with the likes of Marvel Studios and Fox, which usually saw fit to bring a few X-Men. This year, that’s not the case. At least one Fox hero is coming—there’s a Deadpool 2 panel—but there’s no Marvel Studios, no Lucasfilm. So, if Warner Bros. wants to take full advantage, they need to throw everything they've got at this one. And “everything” in this case will hopefully include footage from James Wan’s Aquaman, an appearance from Wonder Woman/Gal Gadot and her director Patty Jenkins, and Chris Pine/Steve Trevor in a fanny pack. In a dream world the panel would also include director Ava DuVernay talking about her forthcoming New Gods adaptation, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
The New (Female) Doctor Who
It’s a glass ceiling that took more than five decades to crack but the beloved British series Doctor Who is finally getting a female lead. Jodie Whittaker, aka the Thirteenth Doctor, will be on-hand to discuss her new role and likely have fans cheering in the aisles. (The wailing and gnashing of teeth sets off on Thursday morning in Hall H, if you’re wondering.) It’s going to be a big deal, one that fans have been anticipating for a very long time, so it’ll be an emotional room. And the post-panel Q&A—always a plethora of off-beat questions—will likely be full of wonderfully excited Whovians ready to hop in a TARDIS and follow Whittaker to the ends of the Earth. In a con that feels slightly more subdued in 2018, this’ll be a highlight.
Deadpool 2 Drops In … and Maybe Brings an X-Force with It?
Remember what we said a minute ago about Hall H being awfully quiet on Saturday? Well, one of the things scheduled to make a little noise in that hallowed hall is a panel on Deadpool 2. Wait, Deadpool 2? Didn’t that already come out? Yes, it did. Which is why this panel is interesting. Why would the franchise’s corporate parents at Fox grab a slot in Comic-Con’s biggest room on its biggest day to plug the home release of a movie it’s already released? Moreover, why would it do so and then not announce who’s participating? (The Comic-Con website still doesn’t have any details listed.) Call it a hunch, but we’re wondering if Ryan Reynolds and company might use the stage time to tease the allegedly forthcoming X-Force movie](http://ew.com/movies/2018/05/29/drew-goddard-x-force-future-deadpool-2-scene/) from writer-director Drew Goddard. Again, it’s just a hunch, but considering what a favorite the Merc with a Mouth is with fans, it would bring the house down if they pulled it off.
Castle Rock Lands On Us
If there's one place Stephen King loves more than Maine, it's the fictional town within Maine where he's set multiple books and short stories. Cujo? That happened in Castle Rock; Dead Zone too. Now, backdrop becomes locus in Hulu's forthcoming original series, which seems to be a going for a whole-multiverse-in-one sort of feel: the recent trailer references everything from Cujo to Needful Things. After years away, a lawyer and onetime son of Castle Rock (André Holland) finds himself called back to investigate a matter at Shawshank Prison (!), where a young man (Bill Skarsgård, Pennywise in last year's It), has been discovered locked away. With a cast that includes Sissy Spacek and Melanie Lynskey, and enough Kingly material to satisfy even Annie Wilkes, Castle Rock has much to recommend it—even if Hulu's previous King adaptation wasn't a Shining example.
Amazon's Prime Cuts
It may look like no one can catch up to Netflix's developmental spending spree, but Amazon isn't conceding the streaming wars quite yet, as evidenced by the forthcoming titles teaming up for a creators' panel on Saturday. You've got fan favorites salvaged from the cancellation pile at other networks (The Expanse), buzzy podcast adapations (Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts and helmed by Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail), Neil Gaiman miniseries (Good Omens, based on Gaiman's collaboration with Terry Pritchard), and pricey action reboots (Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, with John Krasinksi in the starring role and Carlton Cuse showrunning). And that's not not to mention Season 2 peeks at Gale Ann Hurd's Lore and Ben Edlund's Tick. So, yeah, six shows. One hour doesn't seem like enough—consider us two-day shippers.
Sony Lets Fans See For Miles
Sure, Sony and Marvel may have struck a deal to get Spidey into the MCU. And sure, Spider-Man: Far From Home continues that story next summer. But Sony also owns a bunch of arachno-adjacent Marvel IP—and it's spinning its own web in the meantime. If the promise of extended Venom footage doesn't get you into that Hall H line, consider that it presumably comes with a healthy side of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The animated feature not only boasts a screenplay by Phil Lord (half of the duo responsible for the 21 Jump Street reboot and
Solo: A Star Wars Story Lego Movie), but it takes a cue from the comics and acknowledges multiple Spider-Mans. Spider-Men? Anyway, the webslinger this time around is comics mainstay Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore). Don't worry, Peter Parker shows up too (Jake Johnson, just part of a killer cast that also includes Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, and Bryan Tyree Henry). And hell, even if you hate spiders, it sounds like James Gunn has something up his sleeve.
The Horror of Halloween
Ever since John Carpenter’s babysitter-shocking 1978 original, the Halloween series has suffered under the curse of Michael Myers: Several (mostly) hollow sequels, a slashed-up timeline, and a nagging sense of obsolescence in the era of supernatural horror hits like The Conjuring. The latest Halloween sequel, the first since 2002, is intended to clear out the canon. Directed by Stronger and Pineapple Express filmmaker David Gordon Green—and co-written by Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley—Halloween pretends those other installments never existed, instead follows the events of the original film, in which young Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was pursued by the masked killer known as The Shape. Forty years later, Myers has escaped, and Laurie is eager to finish him for good. Expect Hall H to fill with Halloween fans happily singing along to the original’s Plink-plink-plink-Plink-plink-plink theme song. Here’s hoping they remembered to bring along the correct mask.
The Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Reunion
Friends, how has it been a decade since Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog? It feels like just yesterday Neil Patrick Harris’ wannabe baddie charmed his way into our hearts, no? Regardless, that milestone is upon us and now the lovely web series that sprung to life from the mind of Joss Whedon during the 2008 writers’ strike is having a lil’ reunion at this year’s con. Whedon is expected to attend, along with his brother Jed Whedon, and stars Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and Maurissa Tancharoen. (Sadly, Harris isn’t currently on the lineup.) Expect a lot of laughs and at least one panelist to break out in song. ::Fingers crossed::