Another San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and that grand mecca of all things pop culture has once again left its mark on geekdom. One of the most exciting developments to emerge from the big event each year is the first look trailers and footage of the hottest new movies and TV shows on the horizon. This year proved to be no exception.
Warner Bros. brought a particularly strong showing, and then scored some big points with fans by posting every trailer it unveiled at Comic-Con online immediately after. Marvel showed off exciting new footage from flicks like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but kept those as exclusives for the Hall H crowd. Don’t expect to spy them online outside of an illegal shaky-cam video or two, at least not for some time yet.
TV had a great Con too, getting fans’ blood pumping with previews of the upcoming seasons of The Walking Dead, Sherlock, The Flash, and more, as well as premiering some new shows and finally revealing the first details about CBS’ new Star Trek series. But in all teh excitement of the weekend, it’s understandable if you missed out on a trailer or two. So that’s why we’ve collected the best of the best here, for your viewing pleasure. In no particular order, let’s take a look at The 16 Best Trailers Of Comic-Con 2016.
16. Justice League
We’ll kick things off with the obvious. Warner Bros. totally pwned Comic-Con 2016, killing the rabid Hall H crowd with a rapid-fire series of trailers and surprises. Perhaps none was more thrilling than this totally unexpected-but-desperately-hoped-for first look at Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Batman v. Superman was a solid action flick, but DC fans were turned off by its excessively dark, dour tone. The movie’s depiction of Wonder Woman and the film’s climactic battle where the Trinity united for the first time gave viewers a glimmer of hope. But after two DC movies that were super-angsty, many fans have lost faith in Snyder.
This trailer should reignite those hopes, as it strikes a lighter, more enjoyable feel than anything he’s done yet. It’s still filmed in Snyder’s color-drained style, but Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is notably no longer sour and angry, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is suitably standoffish and superior, Ezra Miller’s Flash is gleefully game, and we get just a glimpse of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, but he looks the part. The recently deceased Superman, aka Henry Cavill, doesn’t show up, but that’s not surprising as he probably won’t make his resurrection until well into the movie’s run time.
15. Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was quite possibly the best part of Batman v. Superman, and if you had any doubt about that, just watch this dazzling trailer for her solo film. Director Patty Jenkins hasn’t tackled a big screen film since 2003’s Charlize Theron Oscar-winner Monster, but she’s turning in some amazing material for her follow-up.
Wonder Woman, how do we love thee? How about that familiar rock rhythm theme from BvS kicking in as the title appears over the end. Or Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor conveying the perfect combination of manly bravado and sincere shock at what this Amazonian princess can do. And if nothing else, Diana herself is certainly well armed. She varies between a sword, shield, and lasso throughout the trailer, and proves her warrior’s mettle with them all. What excites us most is how Gadot carries herself, effortlessly inhabiting the world’s most famous female superhero.
There are so many amazing visuals, it’s hard to choose just one. Wonder Woman withstanding enemy fire using her shield. The Amazons riding horseback into battle. Diana holstering her ornate sword in the back of a flowing evening gown. That beauty shot of her emerging from a trench to face down enemy soldiers in World War I. Diana destroying a rifle by breaking it across her back.
If feminism has a superheroine, she’s undoubtedly Wonder Woman.
14. The LEGO Batman Movie
The breakout character of The LEGO Movie was Will Arnett’s conceited version of Batman, who drew laughs every time he spoke. It didn’t take long for a spinoff to be green lit, but could this one-note character sustain an entire movie?
If this trailer is any indication, all signs point to yes. The filmmakers wisely infuse LEGO Batman’s world with all of the whimsy and irony that the original film had — but with a Dark Knight twist. Michael Cera’s scene-stealing Dick Grayson/Robin is a happy-go-lucky orphan that Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts; he’s the cheerful, enthusiastic antithesis of everything Batman is, and a brilliant foil for Arnett.
But there’s a great deal more to this new version of the DC/Batman universe, and it’s filled with characters that spread through the full depth of Batman’s history. Joker, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, the Justice League, and loads more are here, but with a quirky, self-referential LEGO twist. The LEGO Batman Movie is all but guaranteed to be a massive hit, and you need only watch this trailer to see why.
13. Suicide Squad
Despite all of the trailers and retro rock songs and character vignettes that have been shown off, this three-minute peek at Suicide Squad proves that this off-kilter superhero flick still has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. Most notably, it provides the best look yet at the fighting force of the story’s mysterious villain.
Director David Ayer has stacked his deck with star power, a witty script, spectacle and action, but the thing that draws you in more than anything else is just how much fun the movie looks. And that’s something that has been sorely lacking from DC’s other films so far. Ayer wisely recognized the zany thrills that can come from bad guys working together to do good, and has pushed the concept to its maximum potential.
There’s just no way this movie’s going to suck.
12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
There’s still so much we don’t know about Fantastic Beasts, and that’s just the way they want it. JK Rowling, director David Yates, and Warner Bros. seem to be relishing this opportunity to tell a story from Harry Potter’s world where everything in it isn’t spoiled by a pre-existing source, like a novel. We’ve heard a hint of the hook — British wizard comes to America and some of the magical creatures he travels with escape and cause havoc — but the actual story seems to delve into the paranoid political climate of the American wizarding world.
But if Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander is the hero, who is Fantastic Beasts‘ villain? Is it Colin Farrell’s magic government agent Percival Graves? Jon Voight’s no-maj Henry Shaw? Someone else? Or is it the most dangerous of those magical creatures? We may not find out until the movie itself arrives in December.
What we know for now is that the wizarding world is alive and well, and in good hands.
11. Kong: Skull Island
The headline-grabber from Kong: Skull Island isn’t any of its appealing stars, among them Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, and the newly minted Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson. Or its eerily atmospheric island setting.
The one thing no one can stop talking about is the size and scale of its monsters. The great ape himself is much, much bigger than we’ve ever seen him before (making him the perfect size for his inevitable brawl with Legendary Studios’ rebooted Godzilla), towering over the entire island with a more terrifying, monstrous quality than ever.
The tiny glimpse of him the trailer provides isn’t enough to get an idea of how Kong will move; will he be the lithe, limber creature other films have portrayed him as, or will he be heavier and more lumbering, as his size suggests? The characters in the trailer approach the subject matter with the right amount of sincerity, particularly Goodman’s embittered scientist, who gives credence to the notion of “giant monsters.”
A new connected universe hinges on the success of Skull Island, so Legendary’s got a lot on the line. This first showing indicates they understand the gravity of that task.
10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
“Guy Ritchie does King Arthur.” What a concept.
How does Ritchie’s knuckle-busting, kinetic visual style mix with the ultimate medieval legend? In thoroughly unexpected ways, if this trailer is any indication. Rumors had suggested that King Arthur: Legend of the Sword would be so gritty and visceral that there would be no room for the magic and sorcery parts of Arthur’s tale. Yet this first look at the movie contains dragons, balls of fire, mammoth beasts, disintegrating soldiers, and much more.
The star-studded trailer highlights Charlie Hunnam’s title character, along with Djimon Hounsou’s Sir Bedivere, Eric Bana as Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, and Jude Law as the big bad of the story, Vortigern. The jury’s out on this one, but the trailer is certainly entertaining.
9. Doctor Strange
Can Marvel’s grounded, realistic film universe pull off a full-on metaphysical superhero who trades purely in magic? The Comic-Con trailer for Doctor Strange shows that the studio doesn’t seem too worried, as it’s going all in with the weird.
With the whitewashing criticisms of Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One out of the way thanks to the first trailer, fans are free to focus more on the characters, visuals, and story of Doctor Strange, and what we see gets us all kinds of excited. Benedict Cumberbatch was always the first, best choice for the title role, but the rest of the cast is filled out with fun choices like Mads Mikkelson (sporting some seriously creepy eyes) and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Doctor Strange may be an origin story, but what we really want to see is the good doctor laying the magic smack down, wielding his mystical mastery against bad guys equally versed in those dark arts. How can the Doc’s casting of spells translate to dynamic action on the big screen? It’s still not clear, but we can’t wait to find out.
8. Blair Witch
One of the biggest headlines from Comic-Con 2016 was the stealth unveiling of Blair Witch, which attendees got to see in its entirety — only beforehand, they had no idea they were about to watch a sequel to the 1999 classic, The Blair Witch Project. The movie, directed by Adam Wingard, was billed as The Woods, and seemed to be your typical “lost in a forest” horror film.
Then the movie played, and audiences were suitably stunned to discover the surprise! Lionsgate had done a remarkable job of keeping the sequel completely under wraps, because no one saw it coming. The story follows a new group of young people who venture into those same woods haunted by a certain ghostly witch, because one of them is the brother of the original movie’s main character, who was never seen again after she disappeared.
It’s a simple hook, but to do a proper sequel to the forefather of the “found footage” horror genre, what really matters is the execution. Viewers out of Comic-Con raved over Blair Witch, claiming that Wingard nailed it. The most boisterous of fans have labeled it the scariest movie of all time. Can it live up to the hype? After pulling off the ultimate switcheroo, is there anything it can’t do?
7. The Walking Dead: Season 7
It’s kind of amazing that The Walking Dead is not only still around but still going strong after six seasons, isn’t it? The mega-hit series ended its sixth season on a brutal cliffhanger, as Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan made his long-awaited debut and proceeded to beat one of the show’s main characters to death with a baseball bat. Who did he kill? That’s what we’re waiting to find out.
So how do you create a trailer about the upcoming season without giving away who lives and who dies? By using only characters that weren’t in that cliffhanger scene, that’s how. The first half of the three-minute trailer reminds you of the emotional journey these characters have been on for the last six years, underscoring the enormity of what it will mean to lose one of them. And then it gets interesting.
Negan is seen repeatedly, as are Melissa McBride’s Carol and Lennie James’ Morgan, who weren’t present in the cliffhanger scene. The rest of the trailer is filled out with a few familiar faces and several new ones, hinting at the struggles to come. But who died in that all-important scene? There’s no clues in the trailer, but the smart money says Rick, Carl, and Michonne are all safe. Everybody else is fair game.
6. Sherlock: Season 4
Darkness and danger practically drips from this atmospheric look at Sherlock‘s fourth season. It’s not easy for any show to maintain a high level of quality over time, but there are a few that buck the system. Of course, making only three movie-length episodes per season may have something to do with why Sherlock is one of them.
Toby Jones’ new villain Culverton Smith, from the Arthur Conan Doyle story “The Dying Detective,” gets his share of screen time, laughing maniacally and looking like a genuine threat. But Mark Gatiss’ Mycroft Holmes looks to be in for a rough time, if his treatment by Mrs. Hudson is an indicator.
Whatever the new season holds, it sure looks dark and thrilling.
5. The Flash: Season 3
Adapting the “Flashpoint” storyline from DC Comics can’t be an easy task when you don’t have the entire DC roster of superheroes to play with. But CW’s The Flash makes it look pretty darn easy in this trailer for Season 3. The basis behind the “Flashpoint” comic was the Flash rewriting history and having to deal with the fallout, but Batman, Wonder Woman, and other major players were a big part of it.
The Flash‘s version has Barry Allen rewriting history again, but this time it’s all about saving the only parent he has left. Barry thinks he’s created the ideal reality, but it looks like more has changed than he bargained for — a lot more. Iris doesn’t know him anymore, Cisco is super-rich and kind of a jerk, and Wally is… Well, that one’s too good to spoil. Just watch the trailer.
4. Star Trek: Discovery
It’s not much, but it finally revealed two major things that Trekkers have been salivating over for months on end. The first is the name of the new Star Trek series, being overseen by genre TV luminary Bryan Fuller — a hardcore Trekker himself, and a celebrated writer who knows his way around a compelling, original story.
According to the Comic-Con panel where it was revealed, Star Trek: Discovery will follow the adventures of a new ship to the mythos and a new crew. It’s not clear whether it will be set in the current films’ “Kelvin Timeline,” or the original (though rumors point to the latter), but the ship’s registry number, NCC-1031, suggests it’s a ship that predates the Enterprise. Fuller told attendees that Discovery will abandon the episodic format of past Treks, instead telling a serialized story.
The second big revelation was the Discovery itself, in this early teaser video. Sharp-eyed viewers immediately noticed that the new ship’s triangular drive section looks heavily inspired by Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art for the aborted Star Trek: Phase II TV series from the ’70s.
The teaser is awfully short — it’s a little over a minute long — and it contains no dialogue or characters, but there’s something undeniably goosebump-y about watching that beautifully detailed ship set off from its asteroid-bound construction yard.
3. American Gods
The trailer for American Gods is so esoteric, it’s hard to get any real sense of what it is or what it’s about. The Neil Gaiman novel it’s based on is about “old gods” like Mr. Wednesday, aka Odin of Norse mythology (played with sly zest by Ian McShane) grappling with the rise of “new gods” from America, based on things we adore today like technology, vehicles, and so on.
Central to the Starz drama’s conflict is an ex-con named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), though don’t expect the TV series to make clear why he’s so important for quite a while. The eclectic cast also includes Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, Crispin Glover, Peter Stormare, Orlando Jones, Dane Cook, Kristin Chenoweth, and many more.
Hopes are high for this one, which. like Star Trek: Discovery, is being overseen by the TV man with the magic touch, Bryan Fuller. But the trailer doesn’t give you very much to chew on just yet.
If you’re ready to have your brain bent into oblivion, have we got the trailer for you. FX’s latest TV series is a spinoff of the X-Men films, this one focusing on a mysterious mental patient who might just be the most powerful mutant alive. Or he could just be crazy. It’s a provocative, decidedly “edgy cable TV” take on Legion, better known to comics fans as Charles Xavier’s unstable son, David.
Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens probably wasn’t the first actor that came to anyone’s mind when they heard about this series, but he looks brilliant and completely sells the barely-clinging-to-reality nature of the title character. While we’re still not sure just how connected to the source material this show will be, it looks crazy good so far.
1. Luke Cage
Netflix’s third Marvel series focuses on the super-strong, invulnerable “hero of Harlem,” Luke Cage, who’s finally getting his own series after co-starring on Jessica Jones. The trailer doesn’t show us much, but it’s enough to get you excited.
The footage consists mostly of cuts from a single scene (likely one from the first episode), as Cage takes his down-to-basics brand of street justice inside the doors of a local gang. It’s a gritty, cool action set piece that brings to mind the famous hallway scene from Daredevil‘s first season.
It’s a small nibble of what’s to come, but it’s a tasty one.
Best line: “I’m just getting started.”
Best visual: Cage taking on bad guys with no fear, super strength, and unbreakable skin.
Did we miss your favorite trailer reveal? What was your favorite sneak peak from this past weekend? Let us know in the comments.