For the second year in a row, San Diego Comic-Con — the largest fan gathering in North America — has been forced by the pandemic to hold its annual convention as a virtual event. Last year’s Comic-Con@Home was a valiant effort to keep the 51-year tradition alive, but without marquee draws such as Marvel Studios and DC Films, it barely made a blip in terms of social media impact.
This year’s virtual Comic-Con has been scaled down, taking place largely over three days (July 23–25) instead of five. (An in-person “special edition” of Comic-Con is scheduled, improbably, for the weekend after Thanksgiving, though no further details have been revealed since it was announced in March.) And with Marvel and DC sitting out once again, Comic-Con@Home promises to be a far more modest event than the gargantuan convention that’s drawn more than 130,000 attendees to San Diego every summer.
Ironically, the most Comic-Con-y event may be a panel Paramount is holding two days early — i.e. today — at 1 p.m. PT for the “G.I. Joe” spin-off “Snake Eyes,” which will include a chance for viewers in certain markets to land tickets for a “fan screening” of the film on Wednesday night. But a handful of virtual panels during the main run of Comic-Con@Home still could generate that old-school Comic-Con buzz. (All times are Pacific Daylight.)
Friday, July 23
“Heels” (10 a.m.): Stars Stephen Amell (“Arrow”) and Alexander Ludwig (“The Hunger Games”) will preview their Starz drama series about professional wrestlers in a small-town Georgia community. Creator Michael Waldron — who had to step away from the show due to his duties as head writer of the Marvel Studios’ series “Loki” and screenwriter of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” sequel — will join the panel with executive producer and showrunner Mike O’Malley (“Shameless”).
“Star Trek: Prodigy” (10 a.m.): The cast and creators of the first “Trek” property created for kids will give fans their first look at the Paramount Plus animated series, with star Kate Mulgrew reprising her role as Janeway from “Star Trek: Voyager.” A preview of Season 2 of the decidedly more adult animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” will follow, as well as of Paramount Plus animated series “The Harper House” and “Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News.”
“Masters of the Universe: Revelation” (12 p.m.): The same day Kevin Smith’s continuation of the beloved 1980s animated series “He-Man” debuts on Netflix, the show’s stars and creators will discuss how they revived the property.
“Star Wars: The High Republic” (2 p.m.): For the second year, Lucasfilm is not bringing any of its “Star Wars” film or TV titles to Comic-Con. But the company is promising to showcase new material from its ambitious “High Republic” publishing initiative, including a panel with authors Claudia Gray, Charles Soule, Cavan Scott, Justina Ireland and Daniel José Older. The “High Republic” books, which depict events hundreds of years before the Skywalker Saga, suggest several possible creative avenues for future “Star Wars” film and TV titles, so in a way, this panel is the earliest sneak preview possible for what could be on the horizon.
Saturday, July 24
“Robert Kirkman @ Home” (12 p.m.): The Comic-Con tradition of heralded creators answering fan questions for an hour continues with this panel featuring the mind behind “The Walking Dead” franchise and Amazon Prime Video’s hit animated series “Invincible.”
“The Last Mercenary” (3 p.m.): Jean-Claude Van Damme will show off Netflix’s French-language comedic thriller, about a former special agent who must save his estranged son. The Muscles from Brussels is exactly the kind of venerable star who would’ve delighted Comic-Con fans in person, but a YouTube video with him will have to suffice.
“The Walking Dead” (3 p.m.): AMC’s blockbuster zombie series has been a Comic-Con mainstay since its debut; to mark its 11th and final season, the cast and creators will discuss saying goodbye to the flesh-eating hordes and debut a first-look trailer.
“Lucifer” (5 p.m.): Speaking of supernatural shows with a devoted cult following that are entering their final season, star Tom Ellis and executive producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich will discuss the expected swan song for the former Lord of Hell.
Sunday, July 25
“Dexter” (1 p.m.): Star Michael C. Hall, new cast member Julia Jones, and executive producers Clyde Phillips, Scott Reynolds and Marcos Siega will reveal how Showtime is reviving the iconic serial killer of serial killers eight years after the Emmy-winning show’s (seeming) series finale.
“Army of Thieves” (2 p.m.): Part of Zack Snyder’s plan to expand the world of his hit Netflix zombie thriller “Army of the Dead,” this prequel film is directed by star Matthias Schweighöfer, who is reprising his role as master safecracker Dieter from Snyder’s film. Snyder — who produced and wrote the story with screenwriter Shay Hattan — will join Schweighöfer and producers Deborah Snyder and Wesley Coller to preview the film.