The last few years have not been kind to San Diego’s huge celebration of all things pop culture, Comic-Con. Despite a high point in the early-mid 2000s where massive crowds showed up to hear about new developments in franchises such as ‘Twilight’ and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the view of the event as a premium launching point for new movies and TV shows has taken a hit more recently.
And the COVID pandemic, which saw the 2020 and 2021 versions of the event reduced to a sparse virtual shadow of its former self, didn’t help.
But while hopes were raised by a largely triumphant return last year (including the traditional big panel from Marvel announcing its upcoming slate and trotting out stars and creators to generate buzz), it appears that the biggest issue on Hollywood’s mind will now have an impact on which companies are bringing anything to the event.
Writers’ strike delays
According to a new story in The Wrap, Marvel in particular has decided to make this a skip year, deciding not to bring any of its shows or movies to the huge Hall H space where it has traditionally been a highlight of the four-day event. It will still, however, have a presence on the trade show floor of the Con.
While the studio has not shown up before (or had a reduced presence due to it saving some big reveals for parent company Disney’s own D23 event, which falls after the July dates of the Con), the writers’ strike is reportedly behind the new move.
Movies such as ‘Blade’ and ‘Thunderbolts’, along with TV series including ‘Daredevil: Born Again’ are all being delayed, and all the various release date shifts are impacting what will be worth showing off.
And it’s not just the writers –– acting union SAG-AFTRA has yet to make its own deal with the studios, and that could mean talent on strike, unavailable to take the stage since they a forbidden from promotional duties while engaged in industrial action. Which would put a dampener even on projects Marvel could conceivably promote, including ‘Captain Marvel’ sequel ‘The Marvels’.
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Marvel is not alone in this decision, as The Wrap additionally mentions that Universal and HBO are among the other names mentioned as pondering whether to show up this year.
HBO is perhaps understandable, since its own parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery is on a serious cost-cutting run (including news that it is exploring licensing big HBO series for viewers to watch on Netflix to drum up extra revenue) and would not want to splash the cash to bring talent to the Con when hotel accommodation and other expenses would be extremely high. And, like Marvel, the companies are also seeing projects being pushed back because of the strike.
Comic-Con is still scheduled to run between Thursday July 20 and Sunday July 23, but it sounds like its impact will be smaller this year.