Comic-Con 2017: 20 Movie Panels You Won't Want to Miss

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
The heroes of the ‘Justice League’ assemble (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Perhaps thanks to a few high-profile film fizzles, this year’s San Diego Comic-Con isn’t quite as crowded with major movie panels as past editions have been. Some big studios — including Paramount, Universal, and Lionsgate — notably are playing hooky over Comic-Con weekend, which runs from July 20-23. That said, there are still plenty of film-related events to thrill movie freaks and geeks. Here are our picks of the 20 can’t-miss film panels at Comic-Con 2017.

THE BIG THREE

The Avengers assembled at D23 Expo (Photo: Disney)

Marvel Studios
Expect an infinity (war) of Marvel heroes as Kevin Feige anchors the studio’s annual all-star panel. That Avengers trailer that played exclusively for D23 audiences will likely get a re-airing — and maybe a public release? — with perhaps a bonus scene or two to make the SDCC crowd feel special. There’s also sure to be more glimpses at Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp, and maybe even our first official look at Brie Larson in her Captain Marvel uniform. (Saturday, July 22, 5:30pm-7:00pm, Hall H)

Wonder Woman takes point in ‘Justice League’ (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation
All eyes will be on new trailers and/or fresh footage from Aquaman and Justice League — along with new clues about Ben Affleck‘s solo Batman movie directed by Matt Reeves, and the next Wonder Woman adventure. But there’s more, much more, to Warner Bros. than the DC Extended Universe. The studio also will be presenting footage from Steven Spielberg‘s highly anticipated adaptation of Ready Player One as well as Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049. And expect an update on the second Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, now with more Jude Law! (Saturday, July 22, 11:30am-1:30pm, Hall H)

Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) in Logan. (Photo: Ben Rothstein/Fox)

20th Century Fox
Wolverine may be gone, but the X-Men film franchise will definitely live on. Expect Fox to reveal details and footage about upcoming franchise installments New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenixand, of course, Deadpool 2. Perhaps we’ll also get a status update on the future of the dormant Fantastic Four franchise given that — as we learned at D23 — Marvel’s First Family isn’t headed to the MCU anytime soon. (Thursday, July 20, 11:00am-12:00pm, Hall H)

BATMAN

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: Remastered and Ready for Blu-Ray (Warner Bros.)
The best Batman movie you’ve probably never seen, Mask of the Phantasm began its life as a direct-to-DVD spin-off of the beloved Batman: The Animated Series (which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year), but thankfully received a theatrical upgrade. Like the series, Phantasm is distinguished from its Bat-brethren by gorgeously Gothic animation and surprisingly sophisticated storytelling. The movie will look even better in its long-overdue Blu-ray release, available July 25. Hear all about Phantasm‘s origin, and legacy, from the project’s dynamic duo Bruce Timm and Kevin Conroy. (Thursday, July 20, 4:15pm-5:15pm, Room 6A)

Watch the ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ trailer below


DC Universe Original Movies 10th Anniversary (Warner Bros.)
After a few false starts, the DC Extended Universe is finally flowering with this year’s box office smash, Wonder Woman. DC’s animated realm, on the other hand, is doing just fine, thank you very much. For 10 years now, Warner Bros. has been releasing direct-to-DVD animated adaptations of popular graphic novels and comic book storylines, from Justice League: The New Frontier to Batman: The Killing Joke. (Look for a comprehensive box set collecting every previously released title later this fall.) For a 10th anniversary present, the studio invites luminaries like Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Kevin Conroy — the longtime voice of the animated Batman — to discuss DC’s animated legacy. (Thursday, July 20, 2:15pm-3:15pm, Room 6BCF)

World Premiere of Batman and Harley Quinn (Warner Bros.)
The Dynamic Duo of the Dark Knight and the Maid of Mischief go on a road trip to find Harley’s best bud, Poison Ivy, and get tangled up with Swamp Thing and the Floronic Man along the way. Kevin Conroy reprises his role as Batman, while The Big Bang Theory‘s Melissa Rauch becomes the latest voice of Harley under the direction of DC animated universe mainstay, Bruce Timm. (Friday, July 21, 7:00pm-9:00pm, Ballroom 20; Encore screening at 9pm)

UPCOMING MOVIES

Will Smith in ‘Bright’ (Photo: Netflix)

Bright and Death Note (Netflix)
Netflix is getting into the blockbuster business in a big way with Bright, a fantasy-laced action film from Suicide Squad collaborators David Ayer and Will Smith. Both Smith and Ayer will be on hand to screen footage (and dodge questions about what happened behind the scenes on Squad) flanked by co-stars Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, and Édgar Ramírez. The streaming service is also presenting scenes from its controversial Japanese manga adaptationDeath Note, which has already encountered some of the same “whitewashing” complaints that hit the live-action Ghost in the Shell. (Thursday, July 20, 3:15pm-4:30pm, Hall H)

Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass: Icon Edition with Atomic Blonde‘s Charlize Theron
The star of the new Atomic Blonde takes the Hall H stage to answer questions about her newfound status as one of our best action heroines. If we’re lucky, maybe she’ll provide a live demonstration of her martial arts skills. (Saturday July 22, 2:00pm-2:45pm, Hall H)

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.)
The popular Cartoon Network series joins the larger Lego Cinematic Universe with a new voiceover cast — including Dave Franco, Jackie Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Justin Theroux — who will be present to screen footage and demonstrate their mastery of Spinjitzu. Ask your kids what that means. (Thursday, July 20, 6:45pm-7:45pm, Room 6A)

Wonderstruck (Amazon Studios)
A hit at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Todd Haynes‘s new drama takes the iconoclastic director into new territory: young adult fiction. Based on the book by Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck follows two youthful runaways in two different time periods. While Haynes won’t be present, Selznick — whose award-winning 2007 novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, was previously brought to the big screen by Martin Scorsese as Hugo — will provide sure-to-be fascinating accounts of its adaptation and production. (Thursday, July 20, 11:00am-12:00pm, Room 5AB)

Brigsby Bear (Sony Pictures Classics)
Kyle Mooney becomes the latest Saturday Night Live star to try his hand at feature film stardom courtesy of this offbeat Sundance favorite. Made in close collaboration with his comedy troupe, Good Neighbor — which includes director Dave McCary and SNL co-star, Beck Bennett — Brigsby Bear casts Mooney as a victim of kidnapping as a child, who is finally freed as an adult and experiences a rough re-entry to the real world. Members of Good Neighbor and their SNL kin The Lonely Island (which produced the movie) will be on hand to present footage and provide presumably hilarious answers to audience questions. (Thursday, July 20, 12:45pm-1:45pm, Hall H)

STAR WARS

Carrie Fisher in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Princess Leia Star Wars Fan Club Tribute Presentation
The dearly departed Carrie Fisher officially achieved Disney Legend status at D23. Now, the SDCC Star Wars faithful pay their respects to the fallen General with a sure-to-be-emotional farewell hosted by nationally recognized fan clubs such as Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, R2 Builders, and the 501st Legion. Show up to raise your lightsaber in salute. (Sunday, July 23, 10:00am-11:00am, Room 6DE)

An early ‘Star Wars’ Comic Con presentation (Photo: geektyrant.com)

Star Wars and Fandom: The Early Years
Rewind the clock to 1976 when visitors to SDCC got their first glimpses of a sci-fi adventure called Star Wars, directed by the guy best known for American Graffiti. Former Lucasfilm fan relations director Craig Miller recounts those early close encounters between fandom and that galaxy far, far away with rare photos and press materials. (Friday, July 21, 4:00pm-5:00pm, Room 7AB)

HORROR AND MONSTERS

Reinventing Horror: What’s Next in Film and Comics!
With the passing of scary movie masters like George Romero and Herschell Gordon Lewis, it’s important to continue cultivating a new generation of frightfully great horror directors. Several of the newest, and most talented, kids on the block will be at this panel, including Oz Perkins, whose chilling debut film, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, made Yahoo Movies’ list of 2017’s best movies so far; Roxanne Benjamin, part of the quartet that directed the Sundance-approved anthology feature, XX; and the Spierig Brothers, who will be re-launching the Saw franchise with Jigsaw, due in theaters on Oct. 27. (Friday, July, 21, 5:00pm-6:00pm, Room 23ABC)

Warner Archives Monsters From Hell
It’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the irony! Come celebrate cheesy monster movies from Hollywood’s B-movie golden age with other like-minded creature feature fans. When Dinosaurs Ruled the EarthDemon Seed, and From Hell It Came are only some of the classically campy titles on the menu. (Saturday, July 22, 11:30am-12:30pm, Room 5AB)

Troma Entertainment
If you love Guardians of the Galaxy, you have Troma to thank. This proud purveyor of silly schlock like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High was the first studio to recognize the demented genius of writer/director James Gunn, setting him on the long and winding road that led to Marvel Studios. Troma’s flamboyant founder, Lloyd Kaufman (who had a cameo in the first Guardians) brings fans up to speed on the studio’s upcoming productions, including Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High at the Cannes Film Festival and an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. (Saturday, July 22, 9:00pm-10:00pm, Room 23ABC)

BEST OF THE REST

Ghostbusters 101: A Ghostbusters Panel of Biblical Proportions!
One year after Paul Feig’s underappreciated Ghostbusters reboot, Ivan Reitman is ready to talk about the franchise’s past, present, and future, with the help of the comic book license holders at IDW Publishing, Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, and Tom Waltz. Expect Dan Aykroyd’s since-retracted criticisms to come up, as well as questions about whether Kate McKinnon will ever be able to reprise her scene-stealing role as Dr. Jillian Holtzmann. Memo to Reitman: cross whatever streams you have to in order to make a Holtzmann/Venkman meet-up a reality. (Thursday, July, 20, 10:15am-11:15am, Room 6DE)

1987: Greatest Geek Year Ever
At Yahoo Movies, we have celebrated the Summer of ’86. Allow folks like Thor screenwriter Ashley E. Miller and Agent Carter co-EP Jose Molina to argue that 1987 is actually the greatest year ever for geeky movies. Considering that the ’87 release calendar includes The Princess BridePredatorand RoboCop, they have a very, very strong case. (Thursday, July 20, 3:00pm-4:00pm, Room 5AB)

The Genius of Animation: Cartoon Legends and Game Changers Speak
Here’s a rare chance to hear about some of the pivotal moments in contemporary animation history from the men and women that experienced them firsthand. The line-up of panelists includes a healthy mix of veterans like legendary Disney journeyman, Floyd Norman — the first African-American animator hired at the studio when its founder, Walt Disney was still alive — as well as more recently discovered artists like Victoria Ying. (Friday, July, 21, 2:00pm-3:00pm, Room 23ABC)

Hollywood Location Scouts
If you love to travel and have an eye for picking the perfect setting, you might want to consider “location scout” as your ideal career path. SDCC brings together six of the industry’s top scouts, among them Justice League‘s Scott Trimble and Logan‘s Shani Ornoa, who should have some fascinating stories to share about finding the best possible location for, say, a superhero brawl. (Friday, July 21, 1:00pm-2:00pm, Room 9)

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