San Diego Comic-Con starts tomorrow and it’s gonna be a weird one. With actors and writers on strike—and most of the studios already skipping this year even before the double strike started—there is not a whole lot going on, at least in Hall H, where most of the marquee marketing is done, and Ballroom 20, which hosts the high-profile television stuff. But Comic-Con is a LOT more than these two rooms, so of course there’s still plenty to do if you’re on the ground in San Diego. For instance, there are tons of video game demos, artists’ alley is always worth a visit at any con (you can find so many treasures!), and comic book writers and artists will still be making appearances, such as Lore Olympus’s Rachel Smythe and the legendary creator of Spawn, Todd McFarlane.
But even though the double strike is on, there are still some panels scheduled in Hall H, such as Collider’s Friday panel, “Directors on Directing”, featuring Louis Leterrier, Gareth Edwards, and Justin Simien (who has The Haunted Mansion coming out later this month, and he’s the only person left who can promote it). This panel is made possible by the DGA’s questionably “historic” deal with the studios earlier this summer—directors can still make promotional appearances for their films.
There is also a panel on Thursday morning for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which is produced and co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (it actually doesn’t look bad). The panel listing is for “filmmakers” to appear, which I assume means directors Jeff Rowe and Kyle Spears, though Rogen and/or Goldberg could also appear, since they’re not on strike as producers, just writers. But that’s walking a fine line. William Shatner, for example, has cancelled his appearance at a Saturday panel dedicated to him in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike. Instead, Alexandre O. Philippe, director of the documentary William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill, will be on hand, as will a senior exec from Jeff Bezos’s space tourism business, Blue Origin, which took Shatner into space in 2021.
With most of Hollywood on strike, now is a chance for international cinema to represent at Comic-Con, and Indian production company Vyjayanthi Movies is taking advantage with a panel for Nag Ashwin’s upcoming film, Project K, which stars Indian superstars Prabhas, Deepika Padukone (in her first Telugu-language role), Amitabh Bachchan, and Kamal Haasan. This is the first time an Indian film has featured in Hall H, and between the dearth of home-grown wares to sell and the breakout success of RRR last year, it’s the perfect time to bring Bollywood/Tollywood to San Diego and see what happens. I am genuinely curious to see how this goes, and if it could open the door to more international cinema at Comic-Con.
Meanwhile, Ballroom 20 is hosting a series of sneak peek screenings for shows like What We Do in the Shadows, Archer, and Good Omens on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday has panels for Futurama, Family Guy, and American Dad. Worth noting that animators are not on strike, either, which is why the Ballroom 20 schedule remains somewhat robust. Though again, there aren’t a lot of neon-light names available for these panels—one panel features TJ Miller, which tells you everything about where we’re at—and we’ll just have to see how transitioning these panels to “fan events” really works.
But yeah, that’s pretty much it for the Hollywood side of Comic-Con this year. It’s going to be weird, and while it was always going to be a light year with so many major studios skipping Hall H, it’s worth remembering it’s going down this way because the writers and actors are just trying to get a fair deal. They just want to earn a living so they can keep making the films and television series that have made San Diego Comic-Con a banner event for the entertainment industry.
Attached - Various actors on strike in LA and New York.