Comic-Con Preview: As TV Takes Over, Affleck, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Hunger Games’ Make Splash

Comic-Con Preview: As TV Takes Over, Affleck, 'Star Wars' and 'Hunger Games' Make Splash
Comic-Con Preview: TV Takes Over, Affleck, 'Star Wars' and 'Hunger Games' Make Splash

It’s not news that over the past few years Comic-Con, July’s gargantuan genre fan convention in San Diego, has moved from movies toward television. Clearly, it’s a reflection of the entertainment industry, as HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and AMC’s “Walking Dead” needed the scale of Hall H to accommodate their fan hordes. (Bursting at the seams, the Con will stay where it is through 2018.)

And for the first time this year, Amazon Instant Video will be introducing new series, Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” (from Frank Spotnitz and David Zucker) and “Hand of God” (from director Marc Forster) at Comic-Con (trailer below). PBS is promoting “Sherlock,” the Brit series that made new Academy member Benedict Cumberbatch a star. Netflix is showcasing the Wachowskis’ “Sense8.” And Seth Macfarlane, Anne Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson are participating on a “Cosmos” panel.

But this year more than usual, the Con (July 8-11) is leaning away even from the comic book movies that remain front and center in Hollywood. Yes, fans are excited about presentations on new “Star Wars” and “Hunger Games” installments, Fox’s Marvel franchises “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four,” Warner Bros./DC’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” –where Ben Affleck will make his first post-breakup appearance–and “Justice League,” Screen Gems’ long-awaited movie version of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and Legendary’s “Crimson Peak” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

And yes, cinephiles will get a peek at Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” which is welcome news in a year when Marvel, Sony and Paramount are not doing Hall H panels, and Disney will be taking its non-“Star Wars” fare to D23 later this summer.

The other trend is who is commanding the stage at Hall H. Increasingly, studios are moving away from genre experts like Comic-Con’s Jeff Walker and importing seasoned pros to keep the interviews moving on the dais. Entertainment Weekly continues to promote its brand via Comic-Con panels such as Women Who Kick Ass (including rare women moderators), and so does Nerdist and The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick; comedian Patton Oswald is another fan fave.

Entering the Comic-Con fray for the first time this year is TBS star Conan O’Brien. He’s not only handling hosting duties for Lionsgate’s panel for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” but he will be the first ever late-night talk show to broadcast from San Diego during Comic-Con; he’ll be taping at the Spreckels Theatre. “Conan” will welcome the casts of three pop-culture super-stars: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” (Thursday, July 9), “Game of Thrones” (Friday, July 10) and “The Walking Dead” (Friday, July 10), along with Hardwick and Spectrevision producer-star Elijah Wood. The show is also tantalizing viewers by promising a surprise cast from an upcoming mystery film to be unveiled in San Diego.

The episodes will air on TBS at 11 p.m. (ET/PT) each night and will be available across TBS and Team Coco‘s digital and mobile platforms including Facebook the following day.
Here’s a rundown of the week’s guests:
Wednesday, July 8
Elijah Wood
Chris Hardwick
Thursday, July 9
The stars of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2:
Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson
Liam Hemsworth
Friday, July 10
The stars of Game of Thrones:
Alfie Allen
John Bradley
Liam Cunningham
Natalie Dormer
Conleth Hill
Hannah Murray
Sophie Turner
Carice Van Houten
Maisie Williams.
The stars of The Walking Dead:
Norman Reedus
Lauren Cohan
Stephen Yuen
Danai Gurira
Saturday, July 11
Special surprise film cast to be revealed in San Diego during Comic-Con.
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