HBO has opted to pass on this year’s San Diego Comic-Con when it comes to the two heaviest-hitters in its line-up, Game of Thrones and Westworld. Whereas fans are typically able to take advantage of both series’ star-studded panels and autograph opportunities each year at SDCC, the convention’s Hall H will have to go without HBO’s presence this year.
The world-famous San Diego Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center typically draws huge crowds due, in part, to the presence of such popular series as Game of Thrones and Westworld. With this year’s SDCC beginning on July 19, the announcement is an unfortunate last-minute blow to eager convention-goers hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite HBO stars, attend their panels, and get the scoop on exclusive information about future seasons.
HBO (via Deadline) attributed Game of Thrones’ and Westworld’s SDCC absences to scheduling conflicts. “Due to production schedules and air dates for Game of Thrones and Westworld, these series will not be presented at San Diego Comic-Con this summer,” reps for the premium cable company stated. “HBO has a longstanding relationship with SDCC, and we are very grateful for the fans’ enthusiastic response over the years. We look forward to returning in the future.”
Last year, the SDCC panel for Game of Thrones featured such stars as Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), while Westworld speakers included Ed Harris (The Man in Black), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), Jimmi Simpson (William), and Jeffrey Wright (Bernard/Arnold). In addition to panels, HBO is also known for putting together some very unique experiences for convention-goers, particularly with its Westworld attractions. During last year’s New York Comic-Con in October, HBO built Westworld: The Experience, an ultra-realistic and immersive event that let fans interact with “hosts”, browse weapons and costumes, and take a psychological evaluation to determine what type of park guest they would be.
SDCC is also where HBO typically premieres new footage and trailers, meaning that those hoping for new footage from either series will be disappointed this time out. The absence of Game of Thrones this year is a particularly big blow to fans of the series hoping for any news on the secretive prequel spinoff that was officially ordered by HBO last week. Many have been speculating what the spinoff might entail, and were hoping to get some answers during this year’s SDCC, but it appears HBO has other plans. Meanwhile, one of the biggest draws to being a Westworld fan is attempting to sort out the series’ mind-bending twists and veiled hints to its viewers. SDCC would have provided fans an opportunity to interact with the series’ stars and creators, and ask questions to try and get to the bottom of season 2’s increasingly complex plot. Unfortunately, they won’t get the chance to do so this year.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO in 2019, while Westworld season 2 airs Sundays at 9pm. San Diego Comic-Con runs from July 19 to July 22.