The San Diego Comic Con hit California this past weekend, delivering the biggest annual celebration of pop cultural entertainment in the world. In addition to the convocation of cool comic book creators (which make up a smaller part of the event every year), movie and TV studios showed up in force, bragging about all their upcoming releases. Here are just a few of the highlights from Comic Con 2019.
Marvel Studios announced its complete schedule for “Phase 4” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A chunk of that phase is taken up by TV shows set to air on the new Disney+ streaming service.“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan hits first in fall of 2020. “WandaVision” with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany debuts apring of 2021. That ties in directly with the May 7, 2021 theatrical release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which Olsen will costar as Scarlet Witch alongside Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange. This implies a much closer connection between the TV shows and the movies than Marvel has had in the past. The “Loki” TV series with Tom Hiddleston also shows up in spring of 2021. Marvel explores its alternative realities in the speculative animated series “What If...?,” premiering in Summer of 2021. And Jeremy Renner’s avenging archer Hawkeye moves from supporting character to star with the fall 2021 series “Hawkeye”—which is expected to follow the “Kate Bishop” storyline from writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja much-loved stand-alone comic.
Marvel also held an emotional panel celebrating the end of ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The upcoming seventh season will be the show’s final. With the end of this show on ABC and the cancellation of all Marvel shows on Netflix, Disney+ will become, more or less, the exclusive outlet for Marvel TV.
The CW, currently rolling in DC comics TV series, bid a fond farewell to its anchor series “Arrow,” which will sign off after its eighth season. The final season leads up to the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover storyline. Even with “Arrow” moving on, CW has plenty more superheroes waiting in the wings. The pilot episode for “Batwoman” starring Ruby Rose was screened at SDCC and met with some enthusiasm. But the biggest surprise was Brandon Routh (Superman in Superman Returns and The Atom in “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), who showed up at the Arrowverse panel wearing a Kingdom Come Superman shirt—a major hint that he’d be taking on the mantle of the Man of Steel once again, based on the character from writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross’ hallmark Kingdom Come series. This gave fans an idea what things might look like on CW in the wake of this fall’s Crisis on Infinite Earths run-up.
An audience of 7,000 fans went crazy for “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” panel at this year’s con. After years of proposed projects that never came to fruition, Jim Henson offspring Lisa Henson is finally spearheading this prequel show for Netflix. Mark Hamill, Taron Egerton, Eddie Izzard, Helena Bonham Carter, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, Awkwafina and Anya Taylor-Joy are among the topflight voice cast for this puppet-filled series. Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me) is directing all 10 episodes. This one comes to Netflix on August 30.
Star Trek fans got overdosed thanks to CBS All Access, which is adding two new shows to its roster alongside “Star Trek: Discovery.” “Star Trek: Picard,” features the return of Patrick Stewart as the beloved Capt. Jean-Luc Picard. Renowned author Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union) is spearheading the series, which looks into the mysterious reasons behind Picard’s ignominious retirement from Starfleet. An expanded teaser trailer screened at SDCC showed audiences that Data (Brent Spiner) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) will appear in the series. William Ryker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) are also confirmed to be returning. The series is expected to air in early 2020.
Paramount also showed off a trailer for “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” a surprising animated series focusing on “the support crew serving one of Starfleet’s least important ships.” The show’s creator, writer and executive producer is Mike McMahan—the head writer of Cartoon Network’s cult animated hit “Rick and Morty.” This definitely counts as “Star Trek” for a new generation.