Another San Diego Comic-Con is almost upon us, carrying with it the promise of announcements sure to drive fanboys (and fangirls) wild at what the future holds for their favorite characters and franchises on the big screen.
And just like with every previous Comic-Con, this one also arrives with a fair share of questions about what studios have planned for the projects – and in many cases, the entire universe of characters – under their stewardship. From potential team ups to controversial reboots, this year's show has no shortage of storylines that will keep fans who aren't in attendance scouring the Internet for headlines.
Here are 10 big questions we're hoping to have answered at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego:
Are we any closer to a Justice League movie?
Despite all of the controversy surrounding certain story elements of Man of Steel, the Warner Bros. reboot of the Superman franchise is clearly up, up and away. And with no shortage of nods to the greater DC Comics universe in the film, there's certainly reason to believe that we're closer to finally getting Superman and Batman on the same screen. But is that really the case? Sure, a Man of Steel sequel is on the way, but the studio has remained conspicuously quiet about any projects that expand the DC universe beyond Superman. If there ever were a time to announce something and give fans hope that the Justice League film is a real possibility, this is it.
What are those untitled Marvel projects?
Over the last few months, the mystery of Marvel Studios' “Phase Three” projects has deepened with the addition of several untitled projects added to the calendar for 2015 and beyond. While we don't expect Marvel to use its time at Comic-Con to jump ahead to Phase Three – seeing as how we're just beginning Phase Two – it wouldn't be surprising to see the studio drop some sort of tease regarding what it has planned after The Avengers 2.
Will X-Men: Days of Future Past unify the X-Men movie-verse?
At this point, there are so many reports flying around regarding which actors from the previous X-Men franchise will join Bryan Singer's X-Men: First Class sequel that it's beginning to seem like the list of people who won't reprise their roles is easier to manage. We know that Hugh Jackman's Wolverine will be there, and so will most of the original X-Men cast in some form, and beyond that, well... let's just say that X-Men comic fans are no stranger to complicated plots involving time travel and paradoxical relationships, so the Days of Future Past team could have their hands full when the questions start coming during Comic-Con.
(photo via Superhero Hype)
Will Ninja Turtles surprise us?
There's still no word on whether Michael Bay's reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise will even have a presence at Comic-Con this year, but with the film slated for a June 2014 release, this is the last SDCC before the premiere – and a good opportunity to strike a decisive blow in the battle for fans' hearts and minds. We know that Ninja Turtles has filmed quite a bit of footage already, and that some of the controversial changes from the source material have left fans less than thrilled about Bay's take on the half-shelled heroes. A good showing at Comic-Con could go a long way toward shaking some of that skepticism.
Should we be worried about D23?
When it was announced that Disney would hold its D23 Expo just a month after Comic-Con in 2011, many feared that Mickey Mouse's caretakers would prefer to save the big announcements for their own show instead of letting Comic-Con have all the fun. The concern proved valid, as Marvel offered a relatively subdued presence at that year's show and later trotted out many of its upcoming projects' stars – including much of The Avengers cast – at D23. With no Disney convention in 2012, Robert Downey, Jr. returned to Comic-Con with the Iron Man 3 team and Marvel was back again in a big way. Now, with another D23 kicking off just a few weeks after Comic-Con and no shortage of upcoming Marvel projects and cast members to call upon, this year's show will be a real test of the importance Disney places on the San Diego convention.
Can this Veronica Mars crowd-funded movie experiment really be successful?
No matter how you feel about Kristen Bell's canceled television series about a plucky high school detective, the fact that it's getting a movie made six years later thanks to a record-breaking, crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign is worth following very closely. After all, if the Veronica Mars experiment is successful, it opens the door for a long list of other over-too-soon shows returning to the big screen with some financial assistance from fans. The whole Veronica Mars team is coming to Comic-Con this year to show off their progress on the film, so this is a situation that merits close attention from anyone hoping to see their favorite show get a second chance.
(photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore)
When do we get the good news about the future of the Star Wars franchise?
Despite the promise of new Star Wars films in the works, this year has been a bit of a bummer for fans of George Lucas' iconic universe. The decision to end Cartoon Network's hit animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars – reportedly due to Disney's acquisition of the franchise – was a hard pill to swallow, and the dissolution of respected Star Wars game developer LucasArts in order to bring operations into the Disney house provided a potent one-two punch for faithful Jedi and Sith alike. Still, the likelihood of getting some big, positive news about the Star Wars universe at Comic-Con likely hinges on the same question we asked about Marvel's plans for the show. Will Disney spread the Star Wars cheer in San Diego, or make fans wait until D23 to have their spirits lifted?
What's with all this X-Force movie talk?
The rumor mill went into overdrive recently with the news that X-Men studio Fox had registered an online domain for a potential X-Force movie site. Will the bad boys (and girls) of the mutant-verse finally get their time on the big screen? Most importantly, does an X-Force movie bring us any closer to that Deadpool movie everyone except the studio seems to want?
Ant-Man, I presume?
At this point, the teases regarding Edgar Wright's long-awaited Ant-Man movie have turned the corner from exciting to frustrating for many fans, with the project's seemingly on-again, off-again status amplified by comments from Edgar Wright and Kevin Feige over the years that build excitement, then temper it, only to stoke the fires again months later. We've seen mysterious logos, heard whispers of plot points and characters, viewed grainy video of some test footage for the film, and finally got a release date for the film (November 6, 2015) earlier this year. For a project that's supposedly been in the works since the very first Iron Man arrived in theaters, it's an understatement to say Ant-Man has kept fans waiting – but with Wright at Comic-Con this year to promote The World's End, it's the perfect opportunity to assure us yet again that big things are in store for Marvel's size-changing superhero.
Which of last year's teases will be this year's big hit?
There's no shortage of films that have been teased at Comic-Con years before their scheduled release, only to disappear at the next show, whether due to delays or a multitude of other reasons. But Comic-Con also has a history of turning last year's tease into this year's most anticipated event. So which film will be the project everyone's talking about on Monday after the show? At this point, Warner Bros.' upcoming Godzilla remake is the odds-on favorite after a teaser during last year's SDCC panel generated heaps of buzz, but Sony's RoboCop – also a remake/reboot – has built up a nice bit of pre-SDCC anticipation thanks to a viral campaign at last year's Comic-Con. Still, there's always a chance for other films to come out on top thanks to promotion a year (or more) in the making, so don't count out projects like Universal's Riddick sequel with Vin Diesel, for example.