Every summer, fans, talent, and press descend upon the San Diego for the biggest pop culture event in the world, Comic-Con International. Some people attend to meet their favorite stars, and some people just want to dress up in their favorite cosplay costumes. Hollywood studios, on the other hand, have taken to using the event as a platform to reveal the biggest news of the summer, such as new movies, first look trailers, and more — and this year was no different.
Warner Bros., Marvel Studios, Lionsgate, and more all came and conquered with their various reveals. We know it can be overwhelming and time-consuming keeping up with all the news, so in particular order, here are the 15 Biggest Movie Reveals From San Diego Comic-Con 2016.
15. Divergent: Ascendant will be a TV Movie
Following the massive success of The Hunger Games, Summit Entertainment — a subsidiary of Lionsgate, who produced the Jennifer Lawrence-starring series — attempted to build off that excitement with an adaptation of the Divergent series, based on the YA novels of the same name by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, not only did the studio fail to produce an adaptation of equal quality to The Hunger Games, but they also failed to generate enough revenue to conclude the series on the big screen.
Shortly after the release of the series’ first installment, Divergent, the studio announced plans to split up the final book into two installments, which were later named Allegiant and Ascendant. Despite a minuscule increase in box office gross with the series second installment, Divergent: Insurgent, domestic grosses were down. Things didn’t look much better for the third movie either, Divergent: Allegiant, which not only received less-than-stellar reviews, but also only garnered $179 million at the worldwide box office, thus prompting a change by Summit Entertainment.
Instead of moving forward with a final theatrical installment, the studio has opted instead to release Divergent: Ascendant as a TV movie. The news came as a surprise to the series’ cast and crew, not all of whom had been contacted prior to the reveal and had to read about it like everyone else — in the news. While nothing is confirmed, it is rumored that the TV movie will simultaneously act as a conclusion to the theatrical saga and a pilot for a potential TV series.
14. Batman & Harley Quinn’s animated movie
DC Comics fans are anxiously awaiting the release of Sam Liu’s R-rated Batman: The Killing Joke adaptation this week, but what happens after that movie releases? Legendary voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill have been playing with the idea of retiring their voices as Batman and The Joker, respectively, but every time a new project comes up, look who’s standing behind the mic; this time is no different.
During WB Animations’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con, fan-favorite producer Bruce Timm (who is responsible for shepherding the DC Animated Universe) revealed plans to make a Batman & Harley Quinn-starring animated movie. Not much is currently known about the project other than Timm, who co-created Harley Quinn for Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 alongside Paul Dini, will write the script for the film, and that it will be a completely original story, not based on any previous work.
With the amount of excitement surrounding Harley Quinn’s live-action debut in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, perhaps a Batman & Harley Quinn movie would be able to attract new viewers to Warner Bros.’ aforementioned DC Animated Universe, which consistently puts out one or two movies per year.
13. The Woods (Blair Witch sequel)
Adam Wingard has made a name for himself amongst horror fans in recent years with outstanding, innovative releases like V/H/S and You’re Next. His next project, The Woods, contained similarities to the famed Blair Witch Project movie (which of course spawned a generation of low-budget, found-footage horror films), as it was in fact a psychological, found-footage horror movie following a group of hikers in the woods.
It turns out that there was a reason for the similarities: the film is regarded as a direct sequel to the 1999 Blair Witch Project. Wingard unveiled the news while screening the film at San Diego Comic-Con, thus generating buzz around the convention — and online. Thankfully, the millions of fans who were unable to attend the screening won’t have to wait long to see the movie for themselves, for the now-titled Blair Witch movie releases this September.
J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot pulled off a similar stunt earlier this year when they announced Dan Trachtenberg’s The Cellar was actually a spiritual sequel to Matt Reeves’ cult-favorite Cloverfield movie, and it was subsequently retitled 10 Cloverfield Lane. Perhaps this is the new strategy when it comes to building energetic excitement around a project with a devoted fan base.
12. Ben Affleck is officially directing the Batman solo movie
Although it has been widely rumored, it wasn’t until Warner Bros.’ panel at SDCC ’16 that Ben Affleck was officially confirmed to be directing a solo Batman movie. The movie, which will be co-written by DC Comics Chief Creative Officer and DC: Rebirth mastermind Geoff Johns, does not yet have a release date. However, with the studio adding on two more release dates to their burgeoning DC Extended Universe, there is a possibility Affleck’s Batman movie could hit theaters in October 2018.
While the studio has a release date in mind, Ben Affleck recently said he wouldn’t move forward until he is absolutely satisfied with a script; a script which brings the Caped Crusader back to his roots as the world’s greatest detective. Additionally, rumors suggest the movie will unite a slew of The Dark Knight’s iconic villains (perhaps one played by Affleck’s childhood friend Matt Damon?) and possibly be set in Gotham’s mental institution, Arkham Asylum. Could the DC Entertainment creatives be taking hints from Rocksteady’s Arkham video game series?
11. Wonder Woman trailer
Back in January, a handful of scenes from Patty Jenkins’ upcoming, highly-anticipated Wonder Woman movie were revealed in The CW’s Dawn of Justice League special. However, it wasn’t until this weekend that the very first trailer for Wonder Woman was released.
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman mentioned she had killed creatures from other worlds before; perhaps with her unveiling her full slate of powers in her upcoming solo movie, we’ll get to see those other creatures she spoke of, as well as her role in the century of horrors. Needless to say, expectations are high for this one.
Set during World War I, Wonder Woman is being called a coming-of-age story for the Amazonian princess, starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Connie Nielson as Queen Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as Amazon General Antiope, among many others. The film releases on June 23rd, 2017. Be sure to check out Screen Rant’s full breakdown and analysis of the trailer for more insights.
10. Justice League teaser
One of the most surprising reveals of the weekend came during Warner Bros.’ panel, where they debuted the first teaser trailer for Zack Snyder’s highly-anticipated Justice League movie. Since they are still knee-deep in production, to get anything at this stage remotely representing a full-fledged trailer is pretty crazy.
Not only will the movie feature the return of Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Henry Cavill as Superman, but also the live-action debuts (not counting Batman v Superman cameos) of Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg, thus marking the Justice League’s first foray onto the big screen.
Right off-the-bat, the lighter tone (Bruce Wayne casually recruiting people) and character-driven humor (Barry Allen needing friends and Arthur Curry’s ability to “talk to fish“) are noticeable deviations from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. But the point of the Comic-Con teaser is to introduce audiences to the Justice League, which it does well.
9. Justice League costumes/logos
One of the highlights of San Diego Comic-Con 2016 was the official unveiling of the costumes and new character logos for the Justice League. With a significantly more vibrant image, the Trinity’s (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) costumes seem to remain largely the same, albeit with some modifications (e.g. the armored plating on Batman’s suit). The big reveal here, however, is the costumes for the other three core members. Since Justice League is early in production, much of the CGI in the aforementioned teaser appears to be unfinished; however, this official image paints a better picture of what The Flash and Cyborg’s costumes will look like. Then there’s Aquaman, who is seen fully-costumed for the first time.
In addition to the new costumes, Warner Bros.’ unveiled each character’s new logos, which were teased in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Justice League releases in theaters on November 17th, 2017.
8. Godzilla: Resurgence is getting a U.S. theatrical release
Not long after Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla movie released in 2014 did the Japanese Toho Company — the studio which originally conceived the idea for the iconic kaiju in 1954 — decide to move forward with their own feature film. As the 31st film in the Godzilla franchise (including the two U.S. releases), Godzilla: Resurgence takes the eponymous character back to his roots in Japan. When it debuted two year ago, Edwards’ Godzilla became the tallest incarnation of the character; however, Toho is looking to break that record and make their Godzilla the true King of the Monsters — 389 ft. tall; approximately 33 ft. taller than Edwards’ version.
Of course, with a monster of these proportions, the movie shouldn’t be limited to Japanese audiences, which is why Funimation announced a planned U.S. release at San Diego Comic-Con. “Shin Godzilla [Godzilla: Resurgence] represents a brand new chapter in the 62-year history of this iconic science-fiction monster,” said CEO and President Gen Fukunaga. “We’re excited to bring audiences this new vision of Godzilla from Toho as reimagined by directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.” Godzilla: Resurgence is co-directed and co-written by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, and releases in Japan on July 29th, 2016. A U.S. release date has not yet been set.
7. Brie Larson is Captain Marvel
Wonder Woman may be DC Entertainment’s first solo female superhero movie, but Captain Marvel (not to be confused with DC’s Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam) will be Marvel Studios’ first foray into the lady-led film verse. After months and months of rumors, with everyone from Rebecca Ferguson to Ronda Rousey rumored to be circling the role, Marvel Studios finally confirmed Brie Larson would be playing Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Although she’s always been a big player in the comics, Captain Marvel has recently taken center stage in the Marvel universe, opposing Iron Man in the new series Civil War II. Whether or not that will have an affect on the character’s story in the MCU remains to be seen. At the moment, while we don’t have an official photo of Larson as the titular hero, we do have an idea of what she might look like. There is currently no word on who Marvel is looking into directing Captain Marvel; however, with this casting announcement, the movie seems to finally be on schedule to meet its tentative release date of March 8th, 2019.
6. Kurt Russell’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy 2
One of the biggest mysteries fans have been trying to piece together from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is just who Star-Lord’s father would be. As the son of a human mother and an ancient cosmic entity, Star-Lord aka Peter Quill was able to withstand the raw energy of the Power Stone — one of the universe’s primordial Infinity Stones. Also, as a young boy, Quill was kidnapped by Yondu and the Ravagers, who were tasked by Quill’s father to find him.
In December 2015, Kurt Russell was rumored to be playing Quill’s father in Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. When asked about it, Russell confirmed he had talked to Marvel but admitted he had not yet seen the first movie, and he wouldn’t be able to decide whether to accept the role or not until after he had done his due diligence. Although he ended up joining the cast for the sequel, his role was never revealed — until this past weekend. During San Diego Comic-Con, Russell was confirmed to be playing Peter Quill’s father, Ego: The Living Planet. You can read more about this bizarre new addition to the MCU here.
5. The Vulture confirmed for Spider-Man: Homecoming
Before being canceled by Sony Pictures, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, starring Tobey Maguire as the eponymous web-slinging hero, would have introduced audiences to villains Mysterio and Vulture, two baddies never-before-seen in live-action. Back in 2010, Academy Award-nominated actor John Malkovich confirmed he was set to play Vulture in Raimi’s then-forthcoming Spider-Man sequel. Unfortunately, the movie was canceled and the studio opted rather to reboot the character with Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man series. Vulture was then teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, possibly serving as a potential villain for the thought-to-be-inevitable Sinister Six film, or even The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which were both also canceled.
This time, instead of waiting for a sequel, Marvel Studios is looking to make Vulture the main villain off-the-bat in the highly-anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland as the new eponymous hero. Mere weeks prior to the release of Captain America: Civil War, Vulture’s name popped up in rumors that he’d be the villain in Homecoming. Although it has been heavily reported Michael Keaton would be playing Vulture in the upcoming movie, the character wasn’t confirmed until Marvel unveiled key artwork of the flying villain during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. Spider-Man: Homecoming releases on July 7th, 2017.
4. Black Panther supporting cast
Following the character’s debut in Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War, it’s safe to assume Marvel’s Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous warrior of the fictional country Wakanda, has risen to the top of audiences’ highest-anticipated lists. With breakout director Ryan Coogler at the helm, as well as a slew of top talent in Hollywood backing the film, Black Panther is primed to become of one of the studio’s best projects to-date. But who exactly will we see in the movie? We’d heard of actors like Michael B. Jordan (who worked with Coogler on Creed and Fruitvale Station) and Lupita Nyong’o joining the cast, but who they were playing remained undisclosed — until now.
Marvel unveiled the supporting cast for the film at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, revealing Jordan will be portraying the supervillain Killmonger, who betrayed Wakanda in the comics by feeding information to Black Panther’s perennial enemy Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron).
Lupita Nyong’o will be playing Nakia, a member of the warrior-sect Dora Milaje, who are tasked with protecting the Black Panther, with The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira playing the head of the group. Black Panther releases in theaters on February 16th, 2018.
3. Joss Whedon is interested in helming a Black Widow movie
Joss Whedon quickly became the captain behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe following his massive success working on Marvel’s first Avengers movie in 2012. Shortly after that, he kicked off the studio’s first live-action series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and continued to work alongside creatives throughout Marvel’s Phase 2, eventually leading into Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not long after, though, he left Marvel altogether, looking to work on a smaller, more intimate project, like his most recent non-Marvel work, Much Ado About Nothing. But that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in coming back.
The topic of a solo Black Widow movie has been lingering around since Scarlett Johansson made her debut as Natasha Romanoff in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2, though nothing has come to fruition. Earlier this summer, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige revealed that the studio is committed to making a Black Widow movie, with Captain America: Civil War writers backing the idea. Perhaps all of this talk is finally leading up to a solo movie in Marvel’s Phase 4 of their cinematic universe? It would be a great idea for the studio, especially considering Black Widow is the top-voted character primed for a spinoff movie.
2. Charlie Hunnam not returning for Pacific Rim 2
The production surrounding Pacific Rim 2 (officially titled Pacific Rim: Maelstrom) has been a trying one. Back in 2014, Guillermo del Toro revealed plans to direct a Pacific Rim sequel as well as produce an animated Pacific Rim TV series that would bridge the gap between the two installments. However, marred with continual setbacks, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom has been delayed, pushed back, and put on hold indefinitely.
But now, with the casting of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ John Boyega as well as Daredevil‘s Steven S. DeKnight taking over directorial duties, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom is finally looking like it could make its newly-planned 2018 release date. Unfortunately, it will be doing so without its main star, Charlie Hunnam, who says studio politics and constant schedule changes have forced him to drop the project.
While promoting Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, Hunnam revealed he will not be returning as the first movie’s hero, Raleigh Becket, for the followup. Maelstrom releases in theaters on February 23rd, 2018.
1. Other Trailers
In addition to the Wonder Woman and Justice League trailers, a slew of trailers were revealed at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. Warner Bros.’ panel was the most prominent, with trailers for Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (a last-minute push prior to the movie’s release in two weeks), and Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island. Additionally, WB Animation released a new trailer for Chris McKay’s The LEGO Batman Movie.
Unfortunately, the only trailer Marvel Studios released online is for Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange; all other footage remained exclusive to attendees within Hall H. But comic book movies and monsters didn’t make up all of the released trailers; the trailer for Adam Wingard’s aforementioned Blair Witch movie also released, in addition to the first trailer for Danny Boyle’s highly-anticipated Trainspotting 2. Also, if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out the emotional trailer for the upcoming documentary For the Love of Spock, an ode to one of the greatest Sci-Fi characters ever created by the lamented Leonard Nimoy’s son, Adam Nimoy.
For inquiring minds, check out our full rundown of the top Comic-Con trailers.
Did we miss out on your favorite moment from SDCC 2016? Which reveal surprised you the most? Sound off in the comments.