San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Here's What You Need to Check Out

We've pored over the schedule and picked out some choice panels and events for you to prioritize if you're short on time. And energy.

by | July 10, 2019 | Comments

Congratulations! You are one of the lucky thousands who managed to get badges, secure hotel arrangements, and find transpiration for Comic-Con International: San Diego 2019. But those successes are really only half of the victory, as you will soon face a massive amount of content in the San Diego Convention Center’s various halls, event rooms, and a few locations off site. And while you already know a few things you’ll want to see – like Marvel Studios’ return to Hall H on Saturday, July 20th at 5:15pm – the weekend is full of possibilities that may leave you… Well, it may leave you a bit overwhelmed.

We totally understand. We look at the event schedule every year and try to balance the fear of missing out with the understanding that a person can only be in one place at any given time. And since we’ve already pored over this year’s schedule, let us offer you a few insights into some of the less obvious film and TV presentations, some of the must-see events, and maybe even one or two things directly related to comics at Comic-Con.

Wednesday, July 17

Batwoman and Pennyworth Premiere Screenings (Ballroom 20, 7pm-10pm): If you managed to nab a badge with preview night, you should definitely consider going to the now-traditional presentation of Warner Bros. Television programming in Ballroom 20. It usually features at least one premiere screening, but this year, it features two: the pilot episodes of Batwoman and Pennyworth. We suspect both shows will be the big surprises of Comic-Con, and this will be your chance to say you saw it first.

Thursday, July 18

The first full day of Comic-Con features a pretty diverse schedule of programming, as you’ll see from our picks below. But we also imagine you’ll want to spend some time on the show floor looking for free stuff or hitting up the off-site events Amazon, HBO, Fox TV, and others set up around town. It’s definitely the best day for that, but also consider these highlights from the event schedule:

Terminator: Dark Fate (Hall H, 11:00am-12:00pm): The first Hall H panel of 2019 reminds us there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. So get ready to enjoy some never-before-seen footage of Paramount Picture’s upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate, starring Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, and Diego Luna with return appearances by Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is unclear if they will appear on stage, but it seems likely.

The Toys That Made Us (Room 6A, 12:30pm-1:30pm): Comic-Con is a lot of things to a lot of people, and toys definitely factor into the equations. If you’ve ever seen the fabulous Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us, you know it is a subject with big passions and a huge industry behind it. The series will be returning for a third season later this year, and show creator Brian Volk-Weiss, executive producer Robin Henry, producer Richard Mayerik, editor Nick Ferrell, and production manager Jackie Palombo will be at Comic-Con providing a sneak peek. If you have nostalgia for toys of the 1980s or early 1990s, this might be the panel for you.

DC Tom King: While it is unclear how much DC Comics writer Tom King can say about his work on the upcoming New Gods feature film, an hour-long chat with King at any comic convention is a wonderful treat. And who knows, maybe he will spill the beans on New Gods and working with director Ava DuVernay.

Nancy Drew Screening (Ballroom 20, 2:00pm-3:15pm): While Comic-Con is the home of superhero-based television shows like The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., other property-based genre shows are known for launching at the convention as well. That may be the case for Nancy Drew. The upcoming CW series stars Kennedy McMann as a re-imagined version of the famed teen detective, who returns to crime-solving thanks to a literal haunting. The panel will feature a sneak peak at the series – though we suspect it will be the entire first episode – and a discussion with McMann, fellow cast members Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani, Alex Saxon, and Tunji Kasim, and executive producers Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu-Taylor, and Stephanie Savage.

Skybound: In Conversation with Robert Kirkman (3:00pm-4:00pm, Room 6A): The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is a lively presence during just about any Comic-Con panel. But he tends to be even livelier when he is the sole focus of said panel. This one should be no exception, as he fields questions about his decision to end The Walking Dead as a comic book series. He will also offer up some info about the upcoming film and television adaptations of his work, like Invincible and Oblivion Song. Considering Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment venture into television, comics, games and more, it may be more of a well-rounded comic convention panel than you might expect.

MUST SEE OF THE DAY: His Dark Materials (Hall H, 4:45-5:45)

HBO will bring cast and footage from its upcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy. Stars Dafen Keen, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ruth Wilson will be on hand to field questions about the series and its take on Pullman’s sometimes controversial stances. But expect Miranda to win the day with his seemingly-effortless ability to command a crowd. Also, since His Dark Materials is taking Game of Thrones’s place as HBO’s prestige fantasy series, this is the perfect opportunity to learn if you’ll want to be a devoted watcher.

Friday, July 19

If Thursday felt like a walk in the park, Friday will be more difficult to navigate, with television shows taking the focus. But choices must be made, and we suggest these picks might put you on the right path:

A Conversation with the Russo Brothers (Hall H, 11:00am-11:50am): Though directors Joe and Anthony Russo have completed their work with Marvel Studios, the duo leveraged their success with films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War into a number of projects as producers. At this panel, they intended to discuss a little bit more about AGBO, their new production company. At the same time, expect them to answer questions about Avengers: Endgame and a possible return to the Marvel Studios fold.

Joe Hill and Gabe Rodriguez: Locke & Key Spectacular (Room 32AB, 12:00pm-1:00pm): Although meant as a celebration of the Locke & Key comic books by Hill and Rodriguez, the hour promises to feature a look at the upcoming Netflix series and a possible new Locke & Key comic.

Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Hall H, 3:30pm-5:15pm): Get a first look at the upcoming series based Jim Henson’s 1982 cult classic. As three Gelflings discover the secret of the Skeksis power, we’re left to wonder if the program is a prequel or a whole new take on the story of The Dark Crystal. Maybe we will get some of our answers during the panel. And if not, there will probably be plenty of new footage to enjoy.

Carnival Row (Ballroom 20, 4:45pm-5:45pm): Amazon Prime Video’s upcoming fantasy series sure looks provocative with its Victorian fantasy world and refugee fantasy characters. But will it prove fantasy is here to stay in the battle between premium content streaming services? If not, at least fans of Orlando Bloom will get a chance to swoon when he appears on stage alongside co-star Cara Delevingne, David Gyasi, Tamzin Merchant, Travis Beacham, and executive producer Marc Guggenheim.

Q&A With Nathan Fillion and Alexi Hawley (Horton Grand Theater, 6:00pm-7:00pm): The Gaslamp District’s movie theater will play host to this discussion between Firefly and Castle star Nathan Fillion and his friend/collaborator Alexi Hawley. We know from experience that Fillion is a great interview and fans should probably line up early for this as it is an off-site event.

What We Left Behind: Star Trek: DS9 (Room 32AB, 7:00pm-8:00pm): Star Trek: Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr, filmmaker David Zappone, and DS9 cast members Andrew Robinson, Aron Eisenberg, and Penny Johnson Jerald will discuss Zappone’s documentary about the second Star Trek spinoff and its odd place in the franchise’s history. The panel will also feature material not seen in the film’s theatrical releases. This is a must-see for all Niners at Comic-Con.

World Premiere of Batman: Hush (Ballroom 20, 7:15pm-9:15pm): DC Universe Animated Movies continue to prove creatively and financially successful, and Batman: Hush will likely continue the tradition. It adapts the tale by Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee in which someone known as Hush has figured out Batman’s identity and uses Bruce Wayne’s greatest weaknesses against the Dark Knight. Is Hush someone from Bruce’s past or an established villain who finally put the pieces together? Voice actors like Jason O’Mara and Jennifer Morrison will also be on hand to discuss the film.

The Witcher (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

MUST SEE OF THE DAY: The Witcher: A Netflix Original Series (Hall H, 2:15pm-3:15pm): We’ve been pretty excited about Netflix upcoming The Witcher television series since it was announced, and we’re going to assume a trailer will debut sometime during the hour. And though not yet confirmed, we imagine star Henry Cavill will put in an appearance.

Saturday, July 20

Let’s face it, Saturday is going to be about the Marvel Studios panel in Hall H at 5:15pm. If you’re planning to stay in the hall all day to secure your seat, you’ll also get sneak peeks at the next year of Star Trek – which includes the upcoming Star Trek: Picard – and Westworld’s upcoming third season. You will also see the annual Animation Show of Shows and Woman Who Kick Ass panels before the main event. If you still have some energy left afterwards, Kevin Smith will close out Saturday with the debut of the Jay & Silent Bob Reboot trailer. Meanwhile, in Ballroom 20, The CW is bringing most of its Superhero shows to San Diego throughout the day. But if that isn’t your taste or the Hall H line makes you quake with fear, consider these alternatives.

Colleen Hayes/NBC
(Photo by Colleen Hayes/NBC)

NBC’s The Good Place (Indigo Ballroom, 12:00pm-12:50pm): Stars Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto – along with executive producers Michael Schur and Drew Goddard – will talk a little bit about the program’s upcoming fourth and final season. Will our heroes finally make it into The Good Place?

The Expanse (Indigo Ballroom, 1:00pm-1:50pm): Consider it something of a victory lap. The stars and producers behind The Expanse gather to talk about their remarkable transfer to Amazon Prime Video and what Season 4 has in store for Belters and the like. If you love this series, this is probably the panel you don’t want to miss.

Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Panel (Room 6BCF, 2:45pm-3:45pm): Modern Sesame Street puppeteers Sonia Manzano, Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, and Ryan Dillon, along with Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, gather to talk about the show’s history and future. And considering the puppeteers will have their characters on hand, expect the Count, Grover, Maria, and Elmo to drop by. This one is totally for con-goers with kids or affection for the Sesame Street Muppets.

Snowpiercer On TBS (Indigo Ballroom, 3:00pm-3:50pm): Snowpiercer has had a long road from French graphic novel to film and, finally, to television. But after many delays, it is ready to debut on TBS. Join stars Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Lena Hall, Steven Ogg and executive producer/showrunner Graeme Manson as they offer a first look at the series set aboard a perpetually moving train.

Jay Maidment / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
(Photo by Jay Maidment / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

MUST SEE OF THE DAY: Marvel Studios Presentation (Hall H, 5:15pm-6:45): This is the main event. After taking the last couple of years off from Comic-Con, Marvel Studios returns to release some information about Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We think you can expect first-look footage from Black Widow, casting announcements for The Eternals and Shang-Chi, and maybe even confirmations about Phase 4 release dates. Since previous Marvel Studios Hall H panels included actors appearing in costume, we suspect Benedict Cumberbatch will don his Doctor Strange robes and use the mystic arts to reveal something about that film’s upcoming sequel. We’re also going to assume the presentation will be movies only, with Marvel Studios holding back details about their various Disney+ limited series until the D23 convention in August.

Sunday, July 21

If you have any energy left from Saturday’s marathon, Sunday at Comic-Con offers a few key presentations and a lot of interesting curios. Formerly known as Children’s Day, it also offers a lot of programming geared toward younger geeks, such as IDW’s Comics for Kids! panel at 10:30am in Room 23ABC. But if you’re more of a media consumer, we expect these will be the panels you’re looking for:

Riverdale (Hall H, 11:45am-12:45pm): It has now become a tradition for the Riverdale gang to assemble in Hall H for a sneak peek of the upcoming season. Will their attempts to have a “normal” senior year be undone by the specter of the past, evil fathers, and their own actions? Series stars and producers will be on hand to answer questions and, occasionally, evade revealing too much about the show.

Star Trek Eyewitness: An Hour With 1964 Pilot Director Robert Butler (Room 29AB, 12:00-1:00pm): If you’re a Trekkie, this might be the most important hour of the weekend. Trekland Live brings Robert Butler – director of the original Star Trek pilot episode “The Cage” – to Comic-Con for a chat about those early days of the series, his involvement in some of the iconography still with us today, and his reaction to the use of “Cage” characters in Star Trek: Discovery. It should be a fascinating discussion for those involved with Trek or interested in television of the 1960s.

Frank Ockenfells III/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network
(Photo by Frank Ockenfells III/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network)

MUST SEE OF THE DAY: Supernatural (Hall H, 10:30am-11:30am): Throughout the years, Supernatural’s annual Comic-Con appearance has been filled with remarkable moments and surprises. And considering this is their last Hall H appearance, we expect emotions will be heightened and the surprises all the more, er, surprising. While there will be some talk about the upcoming 15th and final season, the hour promises to be something of a retrospective as well.

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