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San Diego Comic-Con Will Be Virtual Again in 2021

The full-fledged, in-person event won't return until 2022, but organizers are planning a smaller event in San Diego in November.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22ND 2020: A fan-erected shrine appears in downtown San Diego during what would have been Comic Con Preview night on July 22nd, 2020. Credit: Tony Forte/MediaPunch /IPX

A fan-erected shrine appears in downtown San Diego during what would have been Comic Con Preview night on July 22.

Tony Forte/MediaPunch/MediaPunch/IPx

The in-person San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled for the second year in a row. Organizers on Monday announced the annual event will instead be held in July in an abbreviated, online format, marking the second year in a row the pandemic has forced the convention to take the virtual route. Comic-Con is also planning a smaller, in-person event for November. Details for the fall in-person event are still being worked out by organizers.

“Never could we have imagined what the world experienced in 2020 and continues to experience today,” organizers wrote in a Tweet. “While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person even of the magnitude of Comic-Con. For this reason, we have made the challenging decision to postpone Comic-Con 2021 as an in-person gathering until our 2022 dates, and once again hold this year’s celebration as the free online Comic-Con@Home.”

The move comes after Comic-Con’s annual spring event, WonderCon in Anaheim, is also set to unfold online later this month. Last year’s WonderCon was canceled. The online Comic-Con, dubbed Comic-Con@Home, will take place July 23-25. It will mark the second installment of the convention’s online engagement.

Those who purchased badges for the 2020 convention that were rolled over to 2021 will have their badges transferred automatically to the 2022 convention, which organizers are expecting to be in-person and at the scale that audiences have come to expect from the five-decade old event that typically draws well over 100,000 people to San Diego.

Badge-holders can also request refunds through the Comic-Con website. Organizers are also working on a way for badge-holders to transfer their badges to the November event.

“As the timing and scope of our larger event factored greatly into our decision to postpone, we believe that launching a smaller in-person event at a later time may be a safe alternative,” the statement reads.

Comic-Con@Home, held last July, got mixed reviews from fans. Some were disappointed in the truncated, virtual program that unfolded mostly through pre-recorded YouTube videos. The next month, Warner Bros. held its own virtual convention for DC fans, the DC FanDome, that included discussions with talent behind upcoming superhero films like “The Batman” and “Suicide Squad.”

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