Marvel Studios set a major precedent for movie-focused Comic-Con panels back in 2010 when, in their infancy as a film production house, they not only showcased early footage for the first chapters in two new (and untested) character solo film franchises in Captain America: The First Avenger (which had only been shooting for a few days at the time) and Thor, but they followed up these presentations by introducing the entire cast of the followup to these films: The Avengers.
It was unheard of. Multiple, separate but interconnected superhero films all planned together from the get-go, all coming out in close proximity to one another. It was not only the beginnings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, it was raising the bar for Hollywood marketing at pop culture conventions.
Marvel did it again over the last two years, with the casts of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and even Fox did it in 2013 with the massive ensemble for X-Men: Days of Future Past. For years we’ve hoped to see Warner Bros. do something similar for their DC Entertainment properties, but outside of a presentation for Green Lantern that same convention, that same day in 2010 which understandably went overshadowed by Marvel, and last year’s odd brief appearance of Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – where they weren’t even given the chance to speak – it’s been relatively lackluster by comparison. WB did however, show the first teaser for BvS which earned a lot of positive buzz, and this year they plan to expand on that and capitalize on the fact that Marvel Studios won’t be hosting their own panel.
In a surprise to no one, since Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 director James Gunn already confirmed it, Marvel Studios will not have a presentation at Hall H during Comic-Con International in San Diego (SDCC) this summer – further confirmed today by Deadline. It’s not too surprising since after Marvel Studios held their first Avengers panel they also skipped the following year in 2011, and last year they did have Age of Ultron so it’s a similar situation.
Instead, Marvel is likely holding off until Disney’s biannual D23 event in August and/or saving any similar sort of presentations for their own event. If you recall, Marvel Studios had very little on the announcements/surprises front at SDCC last summer (here’s what what we wanted to see), partly due to scheduling and contractual agreements being sorted out, and instead unloaded their Phase 3 plans during their own fan and media event in October. Marvel already stole the show for several Comic-Cons and now that they are established, they can hold their own events outside of the Comic-Con blitz where they’d need to compete for headlines.
There’s just not too much new to show on the Marvel front this summer since they unveiled titles and confirmed release dates (and some casting updates) for nearly a dozen upcoming films, bolstering it a few months later in a joint announcement with Sony Pictures where it was revealed that Spider-Man would also be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If there was a panel this year, Marvel could only showcase Captain America: Civil War and at best, reveal some art and tests for Doctor Strange, coupled with new casting announcements for some of their upcoming pictures.
It might make more sense, given the similarities between Avengers: Age of Ultron (which they brought to SDCC last year) and Civil War, to wait another year and be able to showcase Doctor Strange (which releases that fall) and their 2017 slate (their first year with three movies) which would include Spider-Man.
In their absence though, attendees and fans may finally get their DC Cinematic Universe wish in that WB may finally come prepared to focus on their comic book movie slate. WB is taking their comic book properties more seriously than ever and have already informed investors of their film plans leading up to 2020 which includes at least two theatrical releases per year. It would be prime time with no Marvel Studios competition to unleash the floodgates and bring out the casts of both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad (both releasing in 2016) and unveil details for 2017’s Wonder Woman and Justice League, perhaps even re-confirming the release dates with some imagery and logos for the movies following. And according to Deadline, that sounds like what they’re doing.
So don’t fret, attendees and followers of the con circuit, there will be plenty of big comic book movie happenings from San Diego in July, not just from the DC camp, but potentially from Twentieth Century Fox as well with Fantastic Four, Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse. And as for Marvel, they’ll still have a major presence on the floor with loads of panels for animation and comics.