The biggest news from San Diego Comic-Con 2018July 24, 2018
Any given year at San Diego Comic-Con, there is — to put it lightly — a lot going on. There were lots of new movie and TV trailers to see and very special experiences for our Verge writers. But there was also no shortage of news for the worlds of film, television, and actual comic books. Here are some of the biggest announcements you might have missed over the weekend.
James Gunn Got Fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
After a right-wing troll and conspiracy theorist with a history of smearing progressive voices pointed out some offensive tweets made years ago by James Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy director was abruptly fired from the third installment of the Marvel film series. The reaction from fans was strong and firmly in opposition. Currently, there is a fan petition with more than 200,000 signatures asking for his reinstatement. His co-workers have spoken up as well, including Dave Bautista (aka Drax) who expressed his support for Gunn and actor Michael Rooker (aka Yondu) who quit Twitter in protest.
Gunn was supposed to have made an appearance at the Sony Pictures panel in Hall H on Friday evening, but a reporter from The Hollywood Reporter tweeted that that invitation was reportedly revoked upon his firing. (Alleged abuser Johnny Depp, meanwhile, still got to make his own surprise appearance at the Warner Bros. panel for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.)
The Reboot of Buffy
Nobody asked for it, but that doesn’t mean we won’t end up wanting it. Fifteen years after the television debut of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 20th Century Fox Television announced on Friday evening that it was in the process of bringing the beloved, monster-hunting heroine created by Joss Whedon back to the small screen for another series.
Instead of a reunion with Sarah Michelle Gellar and company, the planned series (which hasn’t yet found a home) will be a reboot of the original series with an all-new cast. Whedon will executive produce, writer Monica Owusu-Breen (Midnight, Texas, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will showrun, and — in the biggest twist — the titular slayer will be played by a black actress, who has yet to be named. (Why we didn’t just get a Kendra-centric series instead remains unknown.)
George Takei is Making a Graphic Novel about Childhood in Internment Camps
When he was about five years old, Star Trek (and social media) star George Takei was imprisoned, along with his family, in a WWII-era internment camp for Japanese-Americans. Now, he’s making a graphic novel about his experience, titled They Called Us Enemy. The book will be scripted with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, illustrated by artist Harmony Becker, and released by IDW Publishing.
For Takei, it’s more than just a look back at the past. It’s also a warning to us all about where the growing xenophobia in America might take us. “It has always been my mission in life to raise the awareness of the unjust imprisonment of Japanese Americans in barbed-wire prison camps during World War II,” Takei tells The Hollywood Reporter about the book. “But I had no idea how chillingly relevant that dark chapter of American history would be to our times today.”
Supergirl casts activist Nicole Maines as the first trans superhero
If any studio dominated Saturday at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, it was Warner Bros. At its two-hour Hall H panel, the studio’s cinematic arm debuted trailers for Aquaman, Shazam, Fantastic Beasts, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Less touted, however, was Warner Bros.’ television arm’s announcement at the CW’s Supergirl panel on Saturday, when it announced it had cast Nicole Maines — the young trans activist who won a lawsuit against her school district in 2014 after they barred her from using the proper restroom — as the first on-screen trans superhero.
Maines will play Nia Nal, aka Dreamer, a twist on Nura Nal / Dream Girl, a superhero from DC’s 1960s Adventure Comics whose precognitive abilities allow her to predict (and prevent) the deaths of her teammates. According to what came out of the panel, Maines’ Dreamer will be explicitly trans and will follow a similar hero’s journey to the one Kara Zor-El faced in assuming the Supergirl mantle at the beginning of the series.
Spock, Number One, and Digital Shorts Coming to Star Trek: Discovery
On Friday afternoon, the cast of Star Trek: Discovery — along with co-creator and showrunner Alex Kurtzman, executive producer Heather Kadin, and upcoming guest-star Tig Notaro — hit the stage at Hall H to preview some of what’s to come in the second season of the newest Star Trek property. There was a trailer, which was mostly hype coupled with the revelation that Captain Christopher Pike would indeed be waltzing in and taking control of the Discovery from Interim Captain Saru. We also learned that CBS All Access will be adding Short Treks, a series of short-form episodes that debut monthly alongside the main show and expand the backstories of characters like Saru and Tilly as well as the Trek universe at large.
But perhaps the most anticipated news came in between those two major drops: one was Kurtzman’s confirmation that Spock would indeed be showing up in season 2, as many fans had wondered. And the other was a totally unexpected spoiler from new cast member Anson Mount, who plays Pike: the new season would also do a bit of necessary retconning and bring back Number One, the female second-in-command from the original Star Trek pilot whose role was scrapped by the studios in favor of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock because 1960s Hollywood was sexist as hell. The character was originally played by Majel Barrett, who was both creator Gene Roddenberry’s wife and the actress who would go on to play Deanna Troi’s mother Lwaxanna Troi, as well as voice the ship’s computer, on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mount also spilled that the new Number One would be played by none other than genre icon Rebecca Romijn.
Marvel Digital Original Comics: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist
After noticing that digital comics about character that appear in its Netflix series sell particularly well, Marvel is launching a line of original digital comics focusing on precisely that. The first series to launch will be Jessica Jones, followed by Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daughters of the Dragon (aka Misty Knight and Colleen Wing). Rather than the typical print comics model of releasing one 20-page issue each month, the original digital comics series will release three 40-page issues every three months. The ongoing digital Cloak and Dagger series will also become a part of the line.
Magic Leap Signs a Deal With Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison, the enigmatic writer behind The Invisibles and All-Star Superman (who is also an actual chaos magick practitioner), has signed a deal with Magic Leap to create experiences for the company’s virtual reality headset. This follows the news that Magic Leap is partnering with Madefire for mixed reality comics. Over at DC Comics, Morrison will also head up a new Hal Jordan series, The Green Lantern, with artist Liam Sharp.
DC’s Streaming Platform Will Cost $7.99 a Month
Everybody seems to want their own streaming platform these days, and DC Entertainment is no exception. We already knew that the company plans launch DC Universe, a subscription-based hub for its shows that will also feature a comics library and original live-action and animated series, but now we know what it will cost: $7.99 a month — the same amount as a basic Netflix plan or a Hulu limited commercials plan — or $74.99 a year. Will fans be willing to shell out as much for DC’s service as they are for the more established streaming giants? We’ll find out this fall.
Assorted Comics News
As you’d expect, there were also some big announcements for traditional print comics, including some big changes or new series for some of its most prominent creators. Longtime DC Comics writer Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Batgirl) is moving to a new superhero world, the Catalyst Prime Universe of Lion Forge Comics, where she will serve as fhief architect of its stories, while writer Kelly-Sue Deconnick (Bitch Planet, Captain Marvel) joins Aquaman. There’s also a lot coming for Star Wars fans, including a spooky Halloween special (from IDW Publishing) and an upcoming crossover epic (at Marvel) that runs through 24 issues and three eras: Age of Republic (the prequels); Age of Rebellion (the original trilogy; and Age of Resistance (the future).