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Comic-Con 2017 preview: superheroes and TV shows take on San Diego

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San Diego Comic-Con is right around the corner, and fans from all over the world will be descending on America's Finest City — yes, that’s the actual nickname for San Diego — for all the latest news from the biggest pop culture event of the year.

Almost all the big players from fantasy, science fiction, and superhero movies and TV shows are putting in at least some kind of appearance this year. There’ll be news from Marvel, updates from DC, reveals from 20th Century Fox, and tons of TV shows all jockeying for your attention with casting announcements, producer panels, and flashy new trailers. The fireworks kick off on July 20th, but to tide you over until then, we’ve rounded up all the big news we’re expecting to see out of Comic-Con this year. Dive on in below:

Marvel

Marvel made an appearance at Disney’s D23 Expo last week, premiering the first footage from the hugely anticipated Avengers: Infinity War, and there’s a decent chance that trailer will be making a more public appearance at the studio’s Hall H panel. Additionally, there’s Thor: Ragnarok, set to release this fall. It skipped Disney’s show entirely, so it’s likely Marvel was saving its appearance for Comic-Con.

Beyond that, the studio has its next few years of movies planned between Black Panther, Ant-Man & The Wasp, and the as-yet-untitled fourth Avengers movie, any of which could get new trailers, casting announcements, or news (or, in the case of Avengers 4, an actual title).

San Diego Comic-Con International 2013 photos

On the TV front, Marvel will have several of its shows at Comic-Con. Expect to see a trailer for Netflix’s Defenders series before it hits in August, the upcoming ABC show Inhumans, Fox’s The Gifted, and more information on Legion’s second season — all at their respective panels.

DC Comics

DC’s movies are all bundled into the main Warner Bros. panel, and coming off the blockbuster success of Wonder Woman, expect DC to build off that momentum as it begins its marketing blitz for Justice League and other DC Extended Universe movies set for farther down the line. With the DC team-up fast approaching this November, a new trailer is all but guaranteed, which could also mean an appearance by director / cult hero Joss Whedon. The writer-director took the reins of the film after Zack Snyder stepped down to deal with a personal loss, and the fact that most Comic-Con audiences would willingly offer blood sacrifice in Whedon’s name is probably a good incentive for Warner Bros. to bring him out.

We’ll probably get a first look at Aquaman, which is currently filming, too. Also likely on the agenda: an announcement of a Wonder Woman sequel with Patty Jenkins returning to direct, which has been rumored for the last few weeks.

Justice League

After Aquaman, though, DC’s schedule looks pretty murky: Warner Bros. has tons of DC superhero films in the pipeline, but none of them are actually actively in production. That said, we’ll hopefully get updates on some of the many, many films the studio has in the works, a list that includes, but isn’t limited to, Shazam, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, The Batman, Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, and Whedon’s Batgirl film.

The TV side of things is clearer for DC, with previews of its returning CW shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow) along with a better look at the new series Black Lightning. Fox’s Gotham will also have a panel, and SyFy is expected to show a first trailer for its Superman prequel show, Krypton.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. doesn’t only have DC movies in the pipeline. Its Comic-Con panel will almost certainly include more news on Blade Runner 2049 and the Stephen King adaptation It. Also expected are first looks at Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider reboot, and the star-studded Ocean’s Eight — all of which could get trailer premieres.

Ready Player One
Photo: Entertainment Weekly

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox isn’t saying what to expect at its Comic-Con panel, but it does have a block of time booked off in Hall H, so there’s almost guaranteed to be news. That could mean more details on upcoming films, like Murder on the Orient Express and Kingsman: The Golden Circle; additional info on the very full slate of 2018 X-Men movies: Deadpool 2, New Mutants, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix; or even a first look at the upcoming Predator reboot and the long-awaited adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel. Who knows? The studio might even have something new up its sleeve.

Star Wars

We’re not expecting too much Star Wars news from Disney and Lucasfilm. There’s no panel scheduled for Comic-Con, and given that there was just a new behind-the-scenes video last week, it’s unlikely that we’ll be getting any more news from a galaxy far, far away until later this summer.

Image: CBS

Star Trek

CBS is holding a panel for Star Trek: Discovery, which is set to arrive this fall. We got a first look at the new Star Trek show earlier this year, but with Discovery set to premiere in September and plenty of warning flags, the new series has a long way to go to win back fan trust. A good showing at Comic-Con would definitely be a good step forward there.

Netflix

Netflix is increasingly a juggernaut when it comes to original movies and TV shows, and it’s bringing some big names to Comic-Con. The streaming service is showing off two films in San Diego this year: the gritty, Will Smith fantasy cop movie Bright, and the upcoming live-action of the classic anime Death Note.

Stranger Things, Season 2

As for the TV front, there should be plenty more on last year’s surprise hit Stranger Things, which returns to Netflix for a second season this fall.

HBO

HBO is running a Game of Thrones panel, but with the show’s seventh season already in swing, expect this to be more of a victory lap for the fantasy epic. That said, HBO is said to be developing no less than five different ideas for possible prequel series, which could get announced at the panel. And there’s always the outside change that George R.R. Martin may have finally finished the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire. A big Comic-Con panel would be the perfect place to announce The Winds of Winter (although that’s probably wishful thinking on my part).

HBO

Also making an appearance is Westworld, where we should be getting news about the show’s upcoming second season. While it might be too early for a trailer, hopefully HBO will at least give us a release date so we’ll know when we’re returning to the violent delights of the world’s most murderous amusement park.

Twin Peaks

It’s been a... strange run, Twin Peaks. The cult classic returned with a limited run series earlier this year on Showtime, but enthusiasm quickly turned into befuddled confusion over the increasingly meandering wackiness the revived show has put on display. With Game of Thrones now firmly back in the Sunday night spotlight, it’ll be interesting to see what Twin Peaks has to offer at Comic-Con, especially with a prestigious Hall H booking for its panel.

Doctor Who

The Doctor Who panel at Comic-Con will feature long-serving showrunner Steven Moffat and actor Peter Capaldi, who’s played the 12th incarnation of the Doctor over the last few years, saving goodbye to the sci-fi series. We’ll probably get a preview of the upcoming Christmas special (the final episode for both Moffat and Capaldi), but considering the recent announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the incumbent Thirteenth Doctor, there’s a chance that she could show up as a surprise guest.

TV continues its Comic-Con dominance

In addition to the aforementioned shows, there’s still a ton of other series that will be making appearances at the convention, which has become dominated by television in recent years. The Walking Dead, Rick & Morty, Preacher, Mr. Robot, The Orville, The Magicians, The Expanse, and The Simpsons are just a few of the shows that will have a presence, and they could be bringing news, footage, and other surprises with them.

Virtual reality and brand activations

One of the more interesting things we’re expecting to see at Comic-Con this year is a doubling down on VR and immersive events. With exclusive movie trailers no longer the lure they once were, studios and networks have continued to invest in unique, in-person experiences as a way to engage their fans. We’re expecting to see a wide array of installations and activations, ranging from a re-created Westworld, a Microsoft HoloLens experience for Legion, a Blade Runner VR experience, and a mystery scavenger hunt tied to Mr. Robot — all of which should put a different spin on the usual convention-going experience.