The Longest Con: Your 2015 SDCC Wrap-Up

You may be aware, if you've been within boomstick range of a computer at any point since Thursday, that the San Diego Comic-Con took place last weekend.

I attended the Con once, in 2012, but various circumstances have prevented me from doing so again. I actually had a pretty good time (unlike some), but I was accompanied/shepherded by a longtime attendee who had a car and an apartment far from the madness (and who also humored my Kate Beaton obsession). If I had to actually stay in the immediate vicinity, I'd probably be surly, too. 

Well, surlier.

Anyway, like you, I haven't had much choice but the follow the stories about the various goings-on this year. Panels were convened, trailers released (or not, more on that later), and we were once again reminded that America no longer has any patience for entertainment not related to superheroes, zombies, or Star Wars. With that in mind, what were the main takeaways from this year's SDCC?

People Still Love Star Wars, For Some Reason.

There have been ample comparisons made between SW fans and battered spouses (I know, because I've made them myself), and given the rousing reception received by director J.J. Abrams and OG cast members Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford, it certainly looks like folks are happy to line up for another black eye.

Then again, Abrams and company appear to be contorting themselves like a Twi'lek dancer (See? I'm one of you!) to soothe fans' concerns where The Force Awakens is concerned: emphasis on story, the return of original characters, practical effects, no Gungans. The behind the scenes footage was nice to see, but this close to release I'm retreating into fingers-in-ear mode so as to avoid any unintentional spoilers. And to repeat, Homer-like, this franchise obsession is just a little juvenile, but it's still good. It's still good!

But Fewer People Love Kevin Smith.
So you may have seen the part of the Force Awakens panel when J.J. Abrams invited all 6,500 Hall H attendees to join him for an impromptu concert (6:45 mark) and receive a free lightsaber immediately after the panel, and they did. Know what else was immediately after the SW panel? The Kevin Smith panel, where he was promoting Yoga Hosers, the second installment in Smith's "True North" Canadian horror trilogy.

Smith has been pretty good-natured about appearing before a less than half full Hall, and the incident kind of demonstrates Comic-Con's increasing inability to handle the crowds (people who do get into Hall H usually stay for the duration; then again, free lightsabers). Regardless, I'm sure Yoga Hosers will be huge. Like, Cop Out huge.

Moving on.

The Batman v Superman Trailer Was Great. No, It Sucked. No ... Give Me A Minute.
I'm apparently in the minority of folks who didn't hate Man of Steel. It wasn't *great* by any means, but I never felt it deserved all the dogpiling it and director Zack Snyder received (especially when there are so many other things to dogpile on Snyder for). The new "extended look" was released at Comic-Con, and ... there's a lot to unpack: 9-11 imagery; Space Jesus; Bat-Crossfit; Wonder Woman (finally); green ambergris (relax, I know what it is); why the title sounds like a Supreme Court case.

So Wayne Tower in Metropolis looks like it was a casualty of the Superman/Zod fight in MoS, which leads to Batman coming out of retirement and setting up the battle from the end of The Dark Knight Returns. It's the "Dawn of Justice," however, meaning Bats and Supes and Wonder Woman — and, presumably, Aquaman (not pictured) and the Flash (ditto) — will eventually unite to fight a simpering Lex Luthor (seriously, can they not make this guy menacing in any of these movies?). All just in time for Justice League: We Can't Let Marvel Have All This Nerd Money.

Ash vs Evil Dead Will Be The Greatest TV Series In The History Of Mankind.
I may be a little excited about this, having been a fan of Bruce Campbell's Deadite-dighting buffoon since 1982. Hyperbole aside, this is exactly what the franchise needed after the pretty good but pretty bleak 2013 remake. "You know they were Jewish, right?" This, *this* is the unpredictably competent doofus we’ve been missing since 1992.

The Deadpool Movie Will Redeem Ryan Reynolds' Career, Possibly.
The former Green Lantern's latest movie, Self/less, opened last weekend in 8th place at the box office, behind Ted 2 (in its 3rd week) and less than $2 million ahead of the #9 movie, Baahubali: The Beginning, which opened on 236 screens (Self/less premiered on over 2,300).

Given his dismal record as a leading man, Reynolds taking on the hard R-rated Deadpool might be exactly what his career needs. The reaction to the trailer's debut at Comic-Con was enthusiastic, which makes Fox's decision to force sites to pull the coverage (as opposed to simply releasing it, as was done with SW, BvS and Suicide Squad) extra perplexing. I'm not even a Deadpool fanboy, but if they can guarantee me no mention will be made of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I'll be there opening weekend with nude pictures of Bea Arthur.

The Walking Dead Returns. Le Sigh.
I have watched, faithfully and in real time, all five seasons of AMC's zombie apocalypse series. That said, I don't know if I'm prepared for season six yet. I know it won't drop until October, but I feel I need more time to gird my loins in preparation for Rick's apparent heel turn and the more of the survivors' convenient escapes from certain death (didn't you idiots see those cans?).

And don't forget Fear the Walking Dead. It appears AMC now stands for "Ambulatory Masticating Corpses."

Whither The Ant-Man?
For the first time in many years, Marvel Studios was a veritable no-show at SDCC (there was a Marvel TV panel, held with relatively little fanfare). It makes some sense, considering how overwhelming their presence has been in past years. Or it would, I guess, if their second summer movie wasn't opening this weekend. Strangely there was no Ant-Man panel in Hall H, no presentation, no secret screenings. Granted, the Marvel movie machine has essentially gained sentience and now only requires occasional infusions of human money to keep moving, but it was strangely shoddy treatment for the last movie of the studio's so-called "Phase 2." More like "number 2," right? Right?

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar