6:29pm PT by Lesley Goldberg, Aaron Couch
Comic-Con: Highlights (and Lowlights) From Friday
With many of the major film studios skipping San Diego Comic-Con this year, TV took center stage Friday with panels for The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Bates Motel, Agents of SHIELD and more.
The Hollywood Reporter is on the ground in San Diego covering all the hottest events and bringing all the news from inside the jam-packed convention center. Here are the winners and losers from Friday's festivities.
Bates Motel's double whammy | Did anyone suspect that the veteran A&E drama would have what's likely the biggest announcement at Comic-Con? After confirming that season five would be the final run for the Psycho prequel series, pop star Rihanna sent a taped message to reveal that she'd be joining the drama in a recurring role as none other than Psycho's Marion Crane.
The Walking Dead dominates | The AMC zombie drama had a hard task of unveiling its season seven trailer without revealing the victim of Negan's brutal attack following the season six cliffhanger. But the trailer didn't disappoint, as it offered both the emotional setup for each of the 11 potential victims as well as a look ahead at the long-awaited arrival at the Kingdom, with the casting for the comic book favorite also revealed. All that plus a tiger!
The Big Bang Theory's family business | Always a fan favorite at Comic-Con, the veteran nerd-com still finds a way to thrill the crowd. This year, those surprises included co-star Melissa Rauch stepping in as the moderator for the panel of writers and news that after nine seasons, viewers will finally be introduced to Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) mother and ex-con brother. Better: The roles will be played by Katey Sagal — who reunites with Cuoco after playing her mom on 8 Simple Rules — and 30 Rock grad Jack McBrayer. Bazinga! indeed.
American Gods goes full Daisies | The Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel wowed the crowed with its first full-length trailer. What's more, showrunner Bryan Fuller surprised the room with a special guest — Kristin Chenoweth, who will be reuniting with her former Pushing Daisies boss for a role on the Starz drama as a key character, Easter. And yes, the stars of Fuller's Hannibal are welcome on American Gods, too.
Agents of SHIELD gets revved up | The ABC Marvel drama is setting out to do what its film side has failed to accomplish: Bring Ghost Rider to life. In addition to audition tapes and blooper reels, the light-hearted panel unveiled that Ghost Rider would be introduced in season four. The only downer? Marvel waited until after the panel ended to announce that Gabriel Luna would be playing the character, missing out on another opportunity to please diehard fans in the ballroom.
Wonder Woman unveiled | Star Gal Gadot debuted the first poster for Wonder Woman ahead of Saturday's big Warner Bros. panel, which is expected to reveal a trailer for the Patty Jenkins-directed film. With fans focused on Suicide Squad — and already abuzz about Justice League — it was a smart move for Warners to take advantage of the lack of film news on Friday to build momentum on Wonder Woman — the first big-budget superhero movie to both star a woman and be helmed by a female director.
Film takes a day off | Where were all the film panels Friday? In a day where TV was in full force, the lack of a film presence in Hall H was never more glaring. 20th Century Fox skipped Comic-Con this year, citing concerns over piracy (so no Assassin's Creed or X-Men in San Diego). Other studios opting out included Universal (with The Mummy reboot currently filming) and Sony, which has Spider-Man: Homecoming in production (though that could swing into Marvel Studios' presentation Saturday). Lionsgate has been promoting its Power Rangers reboot at the convention, including with a party at Petco Park on Friday, but there was no Hall H presentation. And the big fish, Disney's Star Wars, skipped San Diego in favor of last week's Star Wars Celebration Europe.
Game of Thrones underwhelms | Always a must-see at Comic-Con — the interactive show-themed photo ops on the convention floor are stellar — the panel underwhelmed in the cavernous Hall H. With showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss both in attendance, little new information was unveiled about season seven (no castings as in previous panels) and the fantasy drama's mega-stars (Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams) skipped the trip to San Diego. At least there's the blooper reel.
Powerless goes powerless | Two days after DC Comics' first half-hour comedy had its world premiere during Thursday's Preview Night, NBC opted to screen the pilot a second time during Friday's panel. While the series — which boasts Comic-Con favorites Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk — was well-received by the crowd, the fine folks running the shindig actually turned off the power to the microphones after the half-hour panel ran out of time and the stage needed to be cleared for Starz's American Gods. Memo to Comic-Con organizers: Don't screen a half-hour comedy and try to hold a Q&A in only 30 minutes. (And bring back free Wi-Fi at the Convention Center.)
Bookmark THR.com/ComicCon to keep up with all the highlights plus coverage from Friday night's Preacher and Scream Queens panels.