The last few big Hollywood blockbusters have now dropped out of Comic-Con

Timotheé Chalamet in Dune: Part Two
Timotheé Chalamet in Dune: Part Two

The weirdest Comic-Con in years continues to get weirder, today: Legendary has announced that its upcoming sci-fi sequel Dune: Part Two, one of the last live-action blockbusters scheduled for a panel at this year’s version of the long-running convention, has now dropped out. (Ditto the glimpse the studio was planning at the next installment of its Monsterverse franchise of films.) At the same time, at least three TV shows that were still holding out hope for the convention—Amazon’s Wheel Of Time, Freevee’s Jury Duty, and ABC’s Abbott Elementary—have all confirmed that they’re canceling their panels.

The reason, obviously, is the SAG-AFTRA actors strike: There’s not a lot of point in paying for an expensive panel in the Con’s famed Hall H if you don’t have any stars on hand to fill it out and pump up the crowds. And, honestly, Lionsgate was being pretty optimistic in any case by holding on to its slots: Almost all of its rival studios, including Disney, Universal, Warner Bros., Sony, and Netflix had already ditched out on the Con weeks ago, as soon as the writing was on the wall about the oncoming strike (and as the industry faces serious penny-pinching on things like travel budgets).

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All of which means we’re gearing up for something rather strange at Comic-Con this year: A sold-out convention (because badges for the Con have been sold out for months, per usual) at which the major studios will not be dictating the hottest thing on the floor. Sure, there will still be some panels—things that can sell themselves without star participation, like Paramount’s new Ninja Turtles animated movie, and a multi-hour look at the current state of AMC’s The Walking Dead. (Also: Invincible, Star Trek, Rick And Morty, What We Do In The Shadows, Twisted Metal, and The Continental will all have actor-free presences on the floor.) But for the most part, territory that has been hoovered up by the big corporations for the last decade-and-change is going to be open again, with a spokesperson for the convention admitting that “This is obviously an unusual year, but that hasn’t diminished the anticipation for Comic-Con.”

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