It's still not a return to normalcy, but Comic-Con @ Home is back one year after the COVID-19 pandemic first scuttled San Diego's annual pop culture get-together. And with the Delta variant complicating reopening plans, it's unclear whether a planned in-person gathering will take place come November.
Still, there are plenty of virtual panels to look forward to this weekend, so The Times convened its merry band of Comic-Con veterans to recommend the @ Home events you shouldn't miss. (You can see the full programming schedule and video of the panels here.)
HBO Max & Cartoon Network Studios: 'Adventure Time: Distant Lands' (noon)
Following Cartoon Network’s Emmy-award winning 2010 “Adventure Time,” created by Pendleton Ward, creators introduced “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” in 2020. Airing on HBO Max, each hour-long episode showcases new and returning characters in story arcs in Land of Ooo and beyond. Last year, Comic Con @ Home not only revealed an exclusive clip of the “BMO” episode, but Olivia Olson (Marceline) also performed the song “Monster” from the second episode “Obsidian.” This panel will include John DiMaggio (Jake), Mace Montgomery Miskel (Pep), Toks Olagundoye (Dr. Caledonius) and others. At the end, viewers will get a special sneak peek at the upcoming episode, “Wizard City.” —Danielle Broadway
Netflix Geeked: 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' (2 p.m.)
She-Ra got a great reimagined series, so now Netflix and Mattel Television plan to revive the entire universe with "Masters of the Universe: Revelation." The new series follows He-Man/Prince Adam (Chris Wood), Skeletor (Mark Hamill), Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey) and other classic characters of the franchise, picking up nearly 40 years later. The Guardians of Grayskull? Starlord and Groot might take offense, but the cast and creators will be on hand to discuss revisiting this franchise with what appears to be an eye toward old-school fans of the cartoons, toys and comics. — Jevon Phillips
Neurotic Superheroes and the Writers Who Love Them (3 p.m.)
Marvel Comics has always prided itself on having heroes with real flaws, often ones that spur them to action. Psychological damage may not always be the best basis for heroic acts, but this panel will explore Spider-Man's angst, Captain America's survivor's guilt and more by talking to the writers who regularly delve into their characters' neuroses. Travis Langley ("Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight") and Danny Fingeroth ("A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee") guide a conversation with some of comics' most acclaimed writers: Brian Michael Bendis ("Ultimate Spider-Man"), Bryan Q Miller ("Smallville"), Louise Simonson ("X-Factor"), and Marv Wolfman ("Teen Titans"). —Jevon Phillips
Netflix Geeked: Fear Street Trilogy
Inspired by "Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine's young-adult horror series of the same name, Netflix's "Fear Street" trio of films offers a serialized mystery about the cursed town of Shadyside. The teen slasher films take place in three separate years — 1994, 1978 and 1666, released in reverse chronological order — but revolve around a witch's curse that led Shadyside to become the murder capital of America. (The trilogy had originally been in development at 20th Century Fox pre-Disney acquisition and had been scheduled for a theatrical release before the pandemic upended release schedules across Hollywood.) In a panel conversation, director Leigh Janiak and cast members Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch and Benjamin Flores Jr. join Stine in a discussion about bringing the story to life for the streamer. —Sonaiya Kelley
Gay Geeks and Where to Find Them (5 p.m.)
Hands down the panel with the best name. Its appeal speaks for itself. —Tracy Brown
Women Rocking Hollywood 2021: Supporting Female Filmmakers in a Post-COVID World (11 a.m.)
Not only did “Loki” director Kate Herron knock it out of the park with her highest-profile project to date, Marvel’s Disney+ series about the time adventures of the God of Mischief. She did so while singing the praises of her crew and being outspoken about the lack of opportunity for women in various behind-the-camera roles. Herron and other buzzworthy women in film/TV — including “Coda” writer/director Sian Heder, “Kung Fu” showrunner and executive producer Christina M. Kim, “Queen Sugar” director Shaz Bennett and Women in Film: L.A.’s Ebony Adams — will be discussing their current and future projects in a panel moderated by Leslie Combemale. —Tracy Brown
'The Walking Dead'
So far, participants are only listed as “cast and creators,” but the franchise has always been good to Comic-Con: Big names are a safe bet. There’s a lot to wonder about coming into the long-running zombie drama’s final season(-ish). Fans of the comic know the broad strokes of the “Commonwealth” storyline, but they also know the show has made massive changes already (i.e., the absence of Michonne and a couple of guys named Grimes). There are also panels for “Fear the Walking Dead” and “World Beyond,” but if you had to pick among the three, this is the one to watch. —Michael Ordoña
This is the Law: Judges on 'The Mandalorian' (4 p.m.)
Actual judges debate issues from Disney+'s hit Star Wars series such as the legality of bounty hunting and whether it's murder or destruction of property if you shoot a Droid. It would take a group called The Legal Geeks to present this panel, which features Circuit Judge John B. Owens, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman, and Judge Matthew Sciarrino. —Jevon Phillips
'gen:LOCK' Season 2 (6 p.m.)
Rooster Teeth's "gen:LOCK" has gone under the radar, and with a voice cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, Maisie Williams and Dakota Fanning, it's a wonder that Season 2 of the dystopian animated show, which is coming to HBO Max soon, is not more talked about. Moderated by Karama Horne (a.k.a. @theblerdgurl), the panel features Jordan, Fanning and showrunner/lead writer Daniel Dominguez. —Jevon Phillips
'The Mysterious Benedict Society' (11 a.m.)
Disney+ show "The Mysterious Benedict Society" is based on one of the most popular YA novels to come along since we were introduced to District 12 and Hogwarts. In it, a group of orphans must foil a nefarious plot with global ramifications while creating a new family along the way. You could watch the series for the zingers by young Marta Timofeeva, who plays Constance Contraire, alone. This panel, though, will feature the adults: series stars Tony Hale, Kristen Schaal, MaameYaa Boafo, Ryan Hurst and Gia Sandhu along with Phil Hay (creator), Matt Manfredi (creator), Darren Swimmer (showrunner) and Todd Slavkin (showrunner). TV Guide magazine’s Damian Holbrook moderates a chat that will cover the first season, the final two episodes and the future of the series. —Jevon Phillips
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.