No, I didn’t change my Twitter handle to obnoxiously brag about my attendance this year. I experienced Comic-Con like the rest of you – vicariously through social media. Compared to the usual bombast, it was a rather light year for sneak-peeks. Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm sat this one out, though it’s hardly a loss because they’ve got the D23 Expo. (Disney’s Comic-Con, basically). Not even HBO was in attendance, presumably because Game of Thrones is in the midst of shaping its feature-length final season.
With the usual suspects gone, Warner Bros. emerged as Comic-Con’s undisputed champ. AMC and BBC also debuted footage of their sizzling IPs, so literally everyone who’d typically be overshadowed by Marvel got their due justice this weekend. In standard ranking fashion, here’s a list of sneak peeks that’ll get the hype train going for me all summer long.
6. WALKING DEAD – The Start of the End or a New Beginning?
AMC’s hit-maker elicits more groans than hype but hear me out: they KNOW how to craft a titillating sneak peek. The show’s Comic-Con trailers are generously stuffed, season 8 and 9’s previews clocking in at a whopping 5-minutes. It’s like they’re giving the whole thing away! (Sidebar: did I spot a Terrence Malick-esque locust shot?) It’s more than enough to chew on prior to the show’s premiere in October – a season poised to be Andrew Lincoln’s swan song. You can see the chess pieces falling into place, the show keenly positioning Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan as Lincoln’s successors. I checked out midway through season 8, but I’m basically caught up on TWD seeing as everyone tweets about it as hard as Game of Thrones, leaving me by the wayside like Sophia’s storyline. (I furiously tweet about GoT during its run so this is my karma.) It’ll be interesting to see whether the show is planning its endgame or laying the groundwork for more seasons to come. Nonetheless, this is a surreal moment for a show that divides its base more often than it rewards them. And yet, the show’s made it this far. Dead or alive, Comic-Con marks a great time to be a Walking Dead fan.
5. DOCTOR WHO – Meet Jodie Whittaker
Full disclosure: I have never watched an episode of Doctor Who. That being said, the show has been steadily piquing my interest. After watching the trailer, YouTube did me a solid and suggested some delightfully charming clips. (One more of these and then it’s tumbling down the rabbit hole I go.) What I absolutely love about this trailer is how utterly inviting it is. It minces no words about the show’s bold progression of its very first Doctor with a Y chromosome while also putting Whittaker’s sparkling personality into focus. It blows my mind that this is the same woman from a little-known genre mashup called Attack the Block, in which Whittaker starred alongside a then-unknown John Boyega. They are now practically royalty as stars of two of the biggest sci-fi pop-culture brands, us bearing witness. “Will you be my new best friend?” Whittaker asks. It would be my pleasure.
4. SHAZAM! – Big but with Superheroes
It’s hard to believe this is the same universe as Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad. Shazam! looks to be the reboot that Justice League was intending, replete with an abundance of sheer liveliness and good-natured humor. The early dark and grey visual palette of Man of Steel engrossed me as much as it frustrated me. Pick up any DC comics run – Superman, Cyborg, Green Lantern, and you’ll see just how wildly colorful this world is. WB is beginning to realize that potential, that a compelling superhero doesn’t have to mean being “dark and gritty.” It’s nice to see Zachary Levi get his franchise vehicle. With guys like Ryan Reynolds and Chris Pratt in the limelight, I wondered why there seemed to be no room for Levi’s irreverent charm. It seems he’s found a home in Shazam! (God that’s so fun to say.) I also dig how Mark Strong gets another shot at a DC movie. (Sinestro, anyone?) Also, is that Jack Dylan Grazer aka Eddie from It: Chapter One??? We’ve been fooled by DC trailers before, so color me cautiously optimistic. But I gotta say, I’m jacked for this one. Levi too, apparently.
3. GLASS – M. Night Shyamalan’s Superhero-Godfather Trilogy
For a moment, I thought I was watching an American Horror Story preview. (Sarah Paulson, ladies and gentleman.) Who would’ve thought Unbreakable would get a proper sequel? Not even while watching Split did we know until the very end in classic Shyamalan fashion. This feels very much like the guy’s renaissance and I am all here for it. Sam Jackson, James McAvoy, and Bruce Willis in one room, all of them having inhabited superhero roles prior. (John McClane counts as a superhero.) Shyamalan has set up quite the rogues gallery for David Dunn. I’m beyond excited to see these personalities clashing like titans. (26 of them, I count.) I’m also loving how muted this affair feels, true to Unbreakable, and I’m interested to see how this will play in the current superhero climate. I never thought I’d see the day when we’d be excited for an M. Night Shyamalan movie again. This was the one panel I would’ve killed to see personally. I might not have been able to attend, but come next January in theaters, I am so fucking there.
2. GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS – Long May He Reign
This was a preview I didn’t expect to be hyped for. Don’t get me wrong, I loved 2014’s Godzilla, but with the campy world-building of Kong: Skull Island, I wasn’t exactly sure where this was all heading. Cue our lord and destructor and his epic spine-shaking roar. I won’t get caught up in the logistics of a Godzilla vs. Kong mashup because there’s plenty to enjoy with this trailer. Millie Bobby Brown – whose appearance straight up flustered me and made me think I was watching a Stranger Things season 3 preview; a beautifully blunt narration from Vera Farmiga; underrated talent like Kyle Chandler and Sally Hawkins, with a GoT-style Charles Dance to spare. I was not prepared for that gorgeous rendition of Clair de Lune (which I am currently bumping as I type this), and I was definitely not prepared for those glimpses at Mothra and King Ghidorah. My headspace is firmly in summer 2018, but my body is ready for summer 2019.
- AQUAMAN – Always Leave Them Wanting Momoa
Jason Momoa’s got everything: the build, the presence, the charisma, but for some reason Hollywood only ever saw him as a foil and replacement for other action stars. He was the villain in a forgettable Sylvester Stallone-actioner and took over the role of Conan the Barbarian, which should’ve been his moment, but the film around him was a disappointment. Needless to say, this moment is overdue. Aquaman heralds Momoa the same way Thor heralded Chris Hemsworth. (HIS FUCKING ENTRANCE THO.) That shot of Atlantis is chill-inducing, as is Mera in all her glory, as is the reveal of Black Manta. James Wan has fully realized this underwater superhero fantasy. Not bad for a guy responsible for some of our worst nightmares in the past decade. He is the latest in a long line of horror directors getting to helm big budget franchises (Scott Derrickson, Michael Dougherty, David F. Sandberg). Aquaman bears the unenviable position of re-routing the DC universe in the wake of Justice League. But if this trailer is any indication, it’s that Jason Momoa and his bulging back is more than capable of steering this universe in the right direction.
What were your favorite trailers out of Comic-Con? Was it tame this year? Were you bummed? Satisfied? Feel free to chime in down below.