The Geek Beat: The Biggest Hits, Misses, and Lingering Questions of Comic-Con 2016

The Geek Beat: The Biggest Hits, Misses, and Lingering Questions of Comic-Con 2016

Jul 26, 2016

The dust is settling after another Comic-Con International in San Diego, and all that's left is to look back on what worked, what didn't, and what we're still trying to figure out from the show's offerings.

In the spirit of continuing our annual tradition of calling out some of the memorable – for good or bad – moments from the convention, here's what we're still talking about from San Diego Comic-Con 2016.

 

THE HITS

Superhero Movies For Everyone - There's typically been a clear-cut winner in the Comic-Con showdown between Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures, but this year was different – in the very best way. Warner Bros. went a long way toward earning back the trust of superhero movie fans with a fantastic first trailer for Wonder Woman that just might be the highlight of the entire show, along with some Justice League footage that showed the sort of heart (and humor) that Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman were notoriously lacking. Marvel then offered up its own cornucopia of movie geekery with the first footage from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, a new, trippier trailer for Doctor Strange, and some high-profile casting confirmations for Brie Larson as Captain Marvel and Kurt Russell as both Star-Lord's dad and Ego, the Living Planet. (Yeah, we're still trying to figure that one out, too.) Basically, it was a great convention for superhero movie fans all around, no matter where your loyalties lie.

Leading Ladies – This year's show served as a nice reminder that the world of superhero movies and television series isn't the boys' club it used to be. Not only was the first trailer for Wonder Woman one of the most cheer-worthy movie previews of the weekend, but the official confirmation of Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Captain Marvel was widely considered the biggest moment of Marvel Studios' panel. Saturday is typically the biggest day of Comic-Con, but it was ladies' night in San Diego this year.

Integrated Universes – Television projects had a big presence at this year's convention, but a common thread among many of the small-screen projects getting a lot of attention was their connection – either direct or indirect – to the movie world. From Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bringing Ghost Rider into the Marvel movie-verse to Legion forging an ambiguous tie to the X-Men universe, interconnected adventures across movies and television were all the rage this year.

 

THE MISSES

Star WarsA long time ago (in a galaxy not too far away), Star Wars was a Comic-Con staple, with a big presence at the show no matter what was happening in the sci-fi franchise at the time. However, with Disney wrapping up its Star Wars Celebration event in London just a few days before the start of Comic-Con, the studio didn't save much for the San Diego show. Sure, there were a few new characters from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story who debuted as statues on the show floor, but that was about it for Star Wars' presence at Comic-Con. Sure, the desire to save the best stuff for Star Wars Celebration makes sense, but it's a little disappointing to see beloved franchise become an all-or-nothing convention affair.

King Arthur: Legend of the SwordMaybe it's just that Guy Ritchie's King Arthur epic got drowned amid all of the superhero fare, but there was a surprisingly low-key response to the first trailer for Legend of the Sword. Given the film's cast (Jude Law, Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, and Eric Bana, among others), director, and unique spin on a familiar legend, the first look at it should have generated a bit more excitement than it did. Of course, Comic-Con is by no means a reliable gauge for a film's likelihood of success (Green Lantern was a big hit at Comic-Con back in the day, for example), so it will be interesting to see how the buzz around King Arthur develops as time goes on.

 

THE QUESTIONS

Michael Keaton's Spider-Man Role – We went into this year's Comic-Con hoping to have Michael Keaton's role in the film revealed, but what we saw only left us more uncertain of the Birdman (and Batman) actor's status in the film. Keaton wasn't part of the Spider-Man: Homecoming team that showed up to the convention, and while some concept art revealed during Marvel's panel seemed to confirm that rumored villain Vulture would indeed be terrorizing Peter Parker, the character depicted in the art didn't look much like Keaton. The Spider-Man portion of the panel ended without any mention of Keaton as Vulture, which seemed a bit... odd.

Ego and Rambo in GuardiansSo Kurt Russell is playing Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. Let that sink in for a while. Frankly, if we hadn't seen all of the crazy stuff that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn pulled off in the first film, we'd probably be a lot more skeptical about Russell as Ego (and Star-Lord's dad) – but Gunn has earned fans' faith that he can make Ego work on the big screen. On top of the Ego news, however, is the confirmation that Rambo himself, Sylvester Stallone, will play a role in the film. At this point, the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is somehow shaping up to be even weirder than its predecessor.

 

 

Question of the Week: What were your favorite moments from this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego?


Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.

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