We were a bit concerned that San Diego Comic-Con might be a little boring with Marvel and HBO skipping the festivities this year, but it turned out that 2018’s edition of the most prominent gathering of nerds in the world was just as wild as always. So without further ado, here are our winners and losers from this year’s Comic-Con.
Winner: Warner Bros. Pictures — With Marvel Studios absent this year, Warner Bros really stepped up with its Hall H presentation this year. They delivered excellent trailers for “The Lego Movie 2,” Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the new “Fantastic Beasts,” and treated fans to the DC Comics version of the normal Marvel presentation with awesome footage from “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Aquaman” that was exclusive to Hall H and had everyone buzzing all day Saturday.
Loser: Johnny Depp — Depp shocked everyone in Hall H when he appeared on stage in character as Grindlewald, but he quickly left the room in stunned silence as he mumbled haltingly through his lines.
Winner: 20th Century Fox — “The Predator” opened Comic-Con with a bang on Thursday, and Fox ably stepped into the normal Marvel Studios slot on Saturday night with a really fun and funny “Deadpool 2” panel.
Winner: “Amazon Prime Video” — They basically took over Comic-Con this year, with the craziest fan activation we’ve ever seen, ads that were everywhere, and a “Man in the High Castle” panel that was immaculate in how it managed to provide fans with just enough compelling details for its third season without going overboard.
Loser: Marvel — Marvel Studios didn’t even have a presence at Comic-Con this year, and yet they had still managed to produce the biggest bummer story of the weekend with the firing of “Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. Gunn’s tweets are certainly indefensible, but the fact that Disney cowered to a smear campaign drive by disingenuous right-wingers is a whole other discussion.
Winner: “Demolition Man” — Being a cult classic approaching its 25th anniversary, there was not really any reason to expect the Wesley Snips/Sylester Stallone flick to steal the show during Comic-Con. And yet it managed to do just that with afuturistic Taco Bell pop-up restaurant that was the talk of the show Thursday evening.
Winner: “Venom” — This movie has been thought of pretty much as a joke since the start, but Sony’s panel and footage presentation in Hall H could be the start of its rehabilitation ahead of its release in October. That panel left a lot of folks feeling good about this movie for the first time.
Loser: “Titans” — So DC’s first live-action TV series for its DC Universe streaming service was trending all day Thursday for all the wrong reasons. The first teaser trailer for the show was just so dopey and hilarious.
Winner: CW superheroes — The CW dominated Ballroom 20 with a four-hour block of panels for “Supergirl,” “Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “The Flash,” and came out swinging hard. But most notable among the announced new cast and characters was the groundbreaking casting of trans actress Nicole Maines as the first transgender superhero, Dreamer.
Winner/Loser: “Star Wars” — Lucasfilm managed to bring something to Comic-Con that people actually cared about (the “Clone Wars” revival) for the first time in years. But also the presence of fans rocking “Star Wars” gear was pretty low for a Comic-Con taking place just two months after a new “Star Wars” film.
Loser: “The Walking Dead” — Not AMC’s fault by any means, but the Hall H panels for “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” took place just after James Gunn was fired off “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Friday. That whole thing completely drowned out anything and everything in its path, so the business-as-usual panels
Winner: “Iron Fist” — The first season was easily the worst of Marvel’s Netflix shows, but if the many clips we saw at the show’s panel in Ballroom 20 are any indication of season 2’s quality, folks could be in for a delightful surprise when it drops.
Loser: Donald Trump — Last year’s edition of Comic-Con managed to be almost entirely apolitical, but that wasn’t the case this time. Some attendees in anti-Trump cosplay drew tons of attention around the con, and we got some big moments during panels of stars expressing anti-Trump sentiments, like when Zoe Kravitz said that if she had magic in real life she’d use it to impeach Trump. Politics didn’t dominate the week, but folks were less shy about it this year.