The Con is going to look a little bit different this year.
While some of the San Diego Comic Con stalwarts will be present and accounted for—we're looking at you, The Walking Dead and the DC Extended Universe—but a quick glance at the line-up for this year's convention, beginning in the sunny Southern California city on Thursday, July 19, and you might just be more surprised by what's not listed than by what is.
Marvel Cinematic Universe? Maybe next year. Game of Thrones? Ditto. Outlander? Hope you're also planning on attending NYCC, Sassenach.
But why are all these heavy-hitters sitting out in exactly the same year? Ah, we're glad you asked. Allow us to explain.
Let's start first with the movie side of things. Yes, it's true: Marvel won't be taking up residence in Hall H this year. And while it may make a bit of sense that next year's Avengers 4 wouldn't panel, given the mind-blowing ending to this summer's Avengers: Infinity War—how do you panel a sequel to a film where most of the characters perished at the end without revealing who's still alive?—the exclusion of Captain Marvel, due out March 8, 2019, does seem a bit odd. Especially in a year when there's also no D23 Expo to reveal the trailer at later. Chances are that Marvel has something up their sleeves for later this year on that front. And as for Spider-Man: Far From Home, it's only just begun filming and, well, if you know how Infinity War ended, you know why this one isn't paneling either.
That's not to say that there's no Marvel fun to be had at SDCC this year. You just have to be a fan of their various TV offerings to enjoy it. Netflix's Iron Fist adaptation will panel on Thursday, with Freeform's Cloak & Dagger paneling on Friday. Fox is bringing a sneak peek at season two of The Gifted on Saturday, while a very early conversation about season three of FX's trippy Legion will take place on Sunday.
But if big screen comic book heroes are more your jam, we hope you also enjoy DC's line-up as they're out in full-force. Be on the lookout for Wonder Woman!
The explanation for no Star Wars—aside from a 10th anniversary celebration of Clone Wars on Thursday—is simple. There's simply nothing to panel. The next film in the new trilogy, which still has no title, won't be out until December 20, 2019. Look out for it at next year's Con.
Game of Thrones
After years of being one of the hottest tickets at SDCC, and considering it's heading into its final season, it may seem a bit egregious that Game of Thrones won't be at the convention this year. But take a deep breath because it actually makes perfect sense. The show isn't returning to HBO for the home stretch until next year—likely, next summer—so to panel for that now would be entirely too early. By paneling next year during its farewell season, it'll add much more meaning to the show's final Con appearance. The wait sucks, we know, but in this instance, it'll be worth it.
HBO's other big series with a sprawling cast is also sitting this year out and, frankly, it would've been weirder if they didn't. With Westworld's second season just finishing airing a few weeks prior, and a third season likely not debuting until 2020, there's really no cause for the network to have brought the series this year. In a statement addressing both Westworld and GoT's absences, HBO had this to say: "Due to production schedules and air dates for Game of Thrones and Westworld, these series will not be presented at San Diego Comic-Con this summer. HBO has a longstanding relationship with SDCC, and we are very grateful for the fans' enthusiastic response over the years. We look forward to returning in the future."
Now, this one's a bit of a head-scratcher considering the fact that the Starz hit has been a staple at SDCC since its early days and it returns for season four in November. But the premium cable network has opted to take the show to New York Comic-Con for its debut appearance instead. And considering that Con is in October, much closer to the season four premiere date, it's clear that the network felt that two Con appearances in one year were unnecessary and that NYCC would be better, more timely promo.
That's not to say there still isn't tons of fun to be had at SDCC this year. For a full list of all the TV events to look forward to, check out our handy guide!