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Marvel Returns to Comic-Con, but Probably Doesn’t Need To

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BY March 28, 2021

In 2019, Marvel returns to Comic-Con, but one has to wonder if they even need to return to the annual event. In a rare move for the most successful comic book studio in the world, Marvel decided to sit out the annual event in San Diego. Avengers: Infinity War was already the biggest movie of 2018, and Avengers: Endgame (see our spoiler-free review here and our Avengers: Endgame spoiler review here) seemed like as sure a thing as possible. So, instead of showing up with a less-than revealing panel in the storied Hall H, Marvel just sat out the con. Some folks thought the convention was “boring” without the mega-studio, but the other side of the argument is that movies that might have underperformed got a chance to shine. James Wan’s Aquaman or DC’s streaming service or even the publishing side of Marvel all got headline space that might have gone to the MCU.

If a rising Atlantean tide lifts all boats, maybe Marvel doesn’t need SDCC anymore? Marvel is the biggest thing on the planet and will stay that way unless their next few projects are massive flops. A new slate of films is coming. Whether or not Marvel Studios will still use the “Phase” nomenclature, the new slate of films needs to be announced. So, when Marvel returns to Comic-Con will they release that information or will they save it for D23? SDCC is all about revealing what’s to come, and Marvel’s greatest currency right now is curiosity and anticipation about what’s to come. If Marvel returns to Comic Con but doesn’t bring something special, might it even hurt anticipation for the next phase of the MCU?

What We’ll See When Marvel Returns To Comic Con

Given the realities of the business, Marvel will have to release some things at SDCC, but others will be saved for D23. The clearest delineation, it seems, will be the future of the upcoming MCU Marvel movies versus other Marvel media ventures, like the series coming to Disney+. Where and when the studios choose to do this is the question. Below, find our guesses as to what’s in store for D23 and when Marvel returns to Comic-Con.  

Disney+ Streaming Series

It’s safe to assume that people who are headed to D23—a Disney-only convention—chances are they are already going to subscribe to that streaming service. So, it seems likely (if a little ironic) that the Disney+ offerings might take center stage when Marvel returns to Comic-con. Fan favorites like Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan can occupy the panel. It will serve as an advertisement to the masses for the forthcoming streaming service. Other than a few static title images, we’ve seen very little about what’s to come for this platform. While its possible they save the good stuff for D23, I would bet Disney wants their streaming service promoted to the SDCC audience.

The Future Of Spider-Man And The MCU

marvel returns to comic-con

The forthcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home represents the final film in the unprecedented five-year deal that united Sony and Marvel Studios/Disney. It allowed the two studios to essentially share the character while bringing him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Sony is trying to create their own Marvel universe, with Venom and Morbius, they might want to have more access to Spidey in live-action. On the other hand, Far From Home seems to set Spidey up as Tony Stark’s spiritual successor, and would the MCU want to lose the character? A deal like this seems more appropriate for Comic-Con than D23, and it would be an excuse to further promote the film.

The Next Slate Of Marvel Movies

The whole point of D23 is to generate buzz about Disney properties among the public and investors. So, big news like the future slate of Marvel films might be saved for this event. Currently, we have no official announcements on any future film projects in the MCU. Of course, a Black Widow prequel film is currently in production and Kevin Feige all-but confirmed that Shang-Chi will be a part of the future MCU. So, while one or both of those films might get an announcement when Marvel returns to Comic-Con, the big stuff will likely be saved for D23. In fact, Marvel might simply announce the movies, release a still image or two, and end up saving the footage or the trailers for D23.

What do you think will happen when Marvel returns to Comic-Con? What do you hope to see? Let us know in the comments or by sharing the article on social media, roping your friends into the discussion!

Image by Pop Culture Geek via Wikimedia Commons

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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