Comic-Con: Winners and Losers From Another Year in San Diego
Marc Bernardin, Lesley Goldberg, Borys Kit , Michael O'Connell
Superman and Batman, "Gravity," Cobie Smulders and "How I Met Your Mother" wooed and won the day, but other franchises (whither Wonder Woman?) and networks (hello, CW?) missed the mark as THR looks at who won -- and lost -- in 2013.
Comic-Con 2013 is on the record books. We came, we saw, we ate and drank and laughed and cried, and through it all we tweeted. But! No event would be complete without a totally arbitrary, seat-of-our-pants, totally declaratory Winners and Losers post. Which we are happy to provide to all -- divided, neatly, into buckets for Film and TV. To wit:
Winners: DC Heroes
Mainstream America may not know who Drax the Destroyer or Ultron are (yet), but you know who they do know? Batman and Superman. With Warner and DC’s announcement that the follow-up to Man of Steel would be a team-up of the iconic heroes, it not only had the attention of geeks but even the guys working the pretzel stand, plus the morning news shows. And the team-up is a nice tease to the eventual Justice League movie.
Namely, Wonder Woman. When Warners announced a Superman-Batman movie for 2015 and nodded heavily toward a Justice League movie in the pipeline, the general response was, “Okay, but where’s Wonder Woman?” In a world where everyone is wondering if, in the wake of Pacific Rim and RIPD’s poor box-office, the power of the fanboy is fading, the fact that WB/DC isn’t telling nerds at the nerd prom that she's definitely in the works -- a movie that could appeal to a huge segment of the moviegoing population -- is baffling at best.
A drama about two astronauts stuck in space starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney doesn't exactly scream fanboy, but this Warner Bros. movie arguably got the biggest pop from Comic-Con. Director Alfonso Cuaron unveiled an extended scene, shot in one continuous take, that was a marvel of cinematic virtuosity and that had geeks and the assembled media (many of whom are geeks, but hey, who's counting?) rapt in breathless attention and ready to go see the movie NOW.
At this stage, Marvel can do no wrong. The company could stage a reading of the Magna Carta and it would still be crowned king of Con. It gave fans quite a show, and it also gave them plenty to chew on, even as the company kept to its corporate mantra of keeping as many secrets as possible. Best example? Marvel made fans forget the rumors of Vin Diesel’s impending casting for a mystery role by showing footage from the just-began-production Guardians of the Galaxy and revealed the title and villain of the sequel to The Avengers. Having Tom Hiddleston on site as Loki didn't hurt either.
Winner: Swan Songs
Last appearances in San Diego brought major emotional payoffs for the teams behind several series. How I Met Your Mother treated fans who slept in line outside for its first-ever panel to a hilarious spoof video, the Dexter cast brought Hall H to tears with memories and stolen mementos from set, Nikita thanked attendees for the series' miraculous endurance, and Breaking Bad returned for another love-fest between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
New showrunner Scott M. Gimple eased whatever fears fans had about season four with a few words about the zombie drama's refocus on character development. Witness the fandemonium on display during the world premiere of the season four trailer -- which was met with an overwhelming response -- and news of the Oct. 13 premiere date. Also hard to ignore: AMC's simple marketing move on the convention floor, where fans could snap pictures behind bars of the show's walker-filled prison.
Winner: Cobie Smulders
If Comic-Con were to elect an MVP, a very strong case could be made for Smulders. After news of her Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot cameo finally emerged at the ABC series' panel, the actress celebrated the final season of How I Met Your Mother with the rest of the cast. She led the packed crowd in a chorus of her character's teenybopper hit "Let's Go to the Mall" and then hightailed it over to the Marvel, where she spoke about another gig for SHIELD agent Maria Hill in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Losers: Big Shows, No News
HBO's Game of Thrones spent the panel reminiscing about the brutal Red Wedding rather than introducing season four cast or announcing a premiere date. True Blood, renewed just seven days prior, was also news-free. CBS' summer ratings behemoth Under the Dome teased a season finale cliffhanger, when the writing has been on the wall for a renewal since the series' bow.
Loser: The CW
While the network went big at Comic-Con with its many genre-leaning series, it buried one bit of very-big-but-unrelated casting news on a day when the Internet was otherwise occupied. Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries finally nabbed a young actress to play future cougar Samantha Jones -- not that you noticed.