For the bulk of my adult life, San Diego Comic Con has been a hub for major Hollywood studio news, at least as far as blockbuster content goes. Occasionally, the quality of the panels and the significance of the announcements wanes but more often than not, what we see at SDCC is big news. This year did not disappoint, offering all kinds of buzz and intrigue for tentpole movies and peak TV alike. Here are a few of the bigger news items, announcements, and trailers that caught my eye over the weekend.
Top Gun: Maverick
While Top Gun didn’t completely put Tom Cruise on the map, it certainly launched his career into a whole new stratosphere when it made its debut 33 (!!!) years ago. Maverick surely isn’t the most TIMELY sequel of all-time but I admit my skepticism eroded within about the first two seconds of this trailer. KICK THE TIRES AND LIGHT THE FIRES!
IT: Chapter 2
A great trailer for a movie that looks to roll along right in the terrifying tracks laid down by its predecessor. Horrifying and unbelievably creepy for anyone (like me) who wishes this dang clown had never been unearthed in the mind of Stephen King, the character design on Pennywise looks spot on and we also get our first glimpse at the grown up Losers Club. RIP my dreams for the rest of the summer.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
This was more of a behind the scenes feature than an all-out trailer but still, it bears noting. My Twitter feed was FULL of overwhelmingly positive reactions to this panel and the footage shown therein and I think this was a brilliant way to highlight what we have to look forward to later this year.
I’m not familiar with the source material but I know there are a lot of fans who have been pining for a movie/TV series for quite some time. I think the trailer is solid but there are definitely some notes that leave me nervous as to whether or not this kind of high fantasy can translate well on Netflix.
Holy cow. I have been pumped for this one since its announcement but my goodness, what a magnificent trailer! Gonna have to go ahead and alter my budget to include CBS All Access in early 2020.
I confess I kinda forgot about Snowpiercer since its debut in 2013. I’m not completely confident that TBS is the network to bring this show to life and there has already been a tremendous amount of behind the scenes turmoil. Still, this is a competent trailer that does a good job of piquing interest.
As always, Comic Con was filled with new trailers this year including Watchmen, Catwoman, Westworld, His Dark Materials, a Walking Dead movie, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 2 for….some…reason…
The Twitter buzz leading up to the Marvel presentation on Saturday night was palpable and by the time the panel actually began, we were all expecting something BIG. Marvel did not disappoint. Kevin Feige unveiled a timeline slide for Marvel’s Phase Four and meticulously teased, announced, and elaborated on each upcoming MCU project scheduled between now and the end of 2021. We got our first glimpse at five upcoming Disney+ shows, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Wandavision, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye, as well as the next five movies in the MCU: Black Widow, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and (most excitingly for me), Thor: Love and Thunder.
As if that wasn’t enough, Feige concluded his presentation by hinting at Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, a here-to-unknown Fantastic Four movie, and some plans for “the mutants” (as he put it) before melting the face of everyone in the room by bringing Mahershala Ali on stage and announcing his casting as the titular hero in a Blade reboot. The entire panel was a smashing success, proving once again that Marvel is the driving force behind the blockbuster industry and all challengers should bow in its presence.
Some of these newly announced movies and series are self-explanatory to some degree but several of them represent completely new territory or a new storyline for an existing MCU hero that may not be as widely known. As such, I asked Ariel Rada of the Geek101 Podcast to tell us a little about these comic properties and what we can expect from their upcoming adaptations.
Millions of years ago, a race of beings called Celestials (think Galactus-like beings) traveled to Earth. These beings jump-started the evolution of the human race. The Celestials also singled out several humans and transformed them into god-like beings called The Eternals. Each Eternal is blessed with immortality and unique super powers. In 2007, Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. created a seven issue run of The Eternals imagining a world where they were on Earth but living as normal humans unaware of their abilities. Like most things Gaiman writes, it’s highly recommended. Expect the upcoming film to look at humanity through the lens of immortality and a loose adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s run.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings
The origin of Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu is pretty...umm...let’s use the word “dated”. Shang Chi is known in the Marvel universe as the best hand-to-hand combatant that’s not Captain America (and he’s kinda cheating with the super soldier serum). Shang Chi is known for being able to best skilled fighters such as: Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Hawkeye. He was raised as a living weapon. Regarding the “Ten Rings”, you need look no further than Iron Man 3. The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, is the leader of an organization known as the Ten Rings. In the comics, the Mandarin is a Chinese supervillain with ten uniquely powered rings. He was originally an Iron Man villain and it makes all the sense in the world to pit him against Marvel’s upcoming Asian superhero.
The phrase, “What If?” is quite famous among comic book fans. What If? is a comic series designed to tell a new story in the Marvel multiverse. For example, the first What If? Comic was, What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four? A simple sentence changes the fundamental history and fiber of the universe. These alternate reality comics are released every few years and we’ll see how Marvel handles this new series; do they adapt beloved stories or create their own What If universes.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The good doctor is no stranger to alternate dimensions. There are countless comics focused on Doctor Strange exploring the multiverse to save humanity. In the upcoming film, it’s believed that Marvel will introduce a demi-god named Nightmare. Nightmare is an alternate dimension being, like Dormammu from the first film, that can haunt the dreams of regular people. This god is usually seen in the pages of Ghost Rider comics but has often clashed with the Sorcerer Supreme.
Thor: Love and Thunder
In the Marvel Comics, (those paper book thingies, not the films) Thor was once deemed unworthy to wield his trusty hammer. The world was now without a god of thunder. Soon after, in a comic book run simply titled Thor, writer Jason Aaron introduced the world to a new Thor: a mysterious woman deemed worthy by the hammer Mjolinr. Five years later, we know that this Thor was Jane Foster; a trick that Taika Waititi is hoping to borrow for his new MCU project. To get the down low, check out Jason Aaron’s words and Russell Dauterman’s art in the 2014 comic run of Thor.
NEWS and NOTES
James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton brought Terminator: Dark Fate to their panel and promised that this Terminator would be different. Also Edward Furlong is back if that does it for you.
Agents of SHIELD will end after its seventh season which will air next summer.
Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas announced that the show’s new season, exclusive to Hulu, was dropping right during the panel, a week ahead of schedule. This was cool but also…all the people in the world who MOST care about Veronica Mars were at Comic Con in that very room and couldn’t exactly watch the show right then and there.