WBD no booth non-shocker; giant Jim Lee bags; MCU in Hall H

The first San Diego Comic-Con in three years is actually happening in 2022 – and it’s happening in just three weeks. Normally we’d be neck deep in planning but because everything is kind of cautiously chugging up to speed, everyone is still a little behind.

But some of the big news is coming out, and I can tell you already: the show floor is going to look very very different this year.

One big difference, as revealed by THR: No big Warner Bros. booth. And that means no DC Comics floor presence at all.

DC will be at the show with guests and panels, and announcements, they will just not have a little spot in the middle of the WB booth to hang up their jackets and stow some snacks.

As THR reports, it’s all part of the new Warner Bros. Discovery (accent on the Discovery) plan to cut $3 billion in costs. It is estimated that between the actual booth costs, flying in guests, getting them hotel rooms, security, and tech bells and whistles, WB formerly spent around $25 million at Comic-Con.

That is a .8% saving right there, but you gotta start somewhere.

WBD WILL be promoting their shows at the con: Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, The Sandman and Harley Quinn are all mentioned.

But other stuff may be missing. THR doesn’t get as granular as we like to here about con stuff, so unmentioned in the article is whether WBD will still sponsor the roomy bags, room keys and so on – stuff that was the very fabric of con in years past. But according to the official PR for the show DC will be sponsoring the bags – so that’s good news!

For the 11th year, Warner Bros. will once again serve as the sponsor of the official Comic-Con 2022 bag. Jim Lee, Publisher and Chief Creative Officer of DC, has created two designs for this year’s must-have collectible swag holder, featuring more than 50 characters from across the DC Multiverse. Each bag will also feature two QR codes which will unlock special surprises for fans beginning Thursday, July 21. More than 160,000 bags have been produced for Comic-Con, and fans can claim theirs when checking in at the convention, while supplies last. ID Me Promotions handled physical production of the bags for the Studio.

But another big cost is still up in the air: The vast screen WB used at their traditional Saturday morning panels that actually goes halfway around Hall H. I can’t remember the exact figure, but it was somewhere 6 figures just to turn that thing on – and who knows how much to format footage to fit on it. That said, I’ll never forget the first time i saw clips from Max Fury Road on that screen. Lifetime memories are made in Hall H. Will it be back? Ask again later.

According to THR, WBD is aware that NOT showing up at all at SDCC would be a very bad look so they will be back in Hall H in some fashion. The CW-verse has already been trimmed quite a bit by WBD, but Riverdale is winding up its’ final season and will take a curtain call in Hall H. Other highlights:

House of the Dragon is one of HBO’s biggest bets and seeks to extend and reset the Game of Thrones franchise, which was the biggest show in HBO’s history. It will have a Hall H panel ahead of the series launch on Aug. 21.

Netflix’s Sandman is the most expensive DC show that Warner Bros. Television has ever made, and it’s getting the Hall H treatment with a special video presentation followed by a Q&A with series stars and producers.

DC publisher and CCO Jim Lee will headline a showcase of upcoming DC books, with sneak peaks and creators. There will be a panel stacked with Batman-centric comics writers and artists, while superstar writers Tom Taylor and Tom King will have a conversation about their work, past, present and future. Also in the line-up is a panel on DC’s current event mini-series, Dark Crisisamong others.

Adult Swim and Cartoon Network will have their traditional showcases, and Rick & Morty and Tuca and Bertie will be represented – along with a premiere screening of animated feature Green Lantern: Beware My Power, followed by a Q&A.

That leaves the biggest question of all: the DCEU. THR says plans are still up being “hashed out,” with DC League of Super-Pets, Black Adam, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods all coming out this year and in possible position for a Hall H boost.

One word that we can pretty much guarantee will not be uttered anywhere near an audience “The Flash.” That’s two words, but you get my drift.

Besides WBD, who and what else will be returning to the grandest comic-con stage of all? According to THR, Paramount and Universal are NOT coming this time out.

Marvel Phase 4 movies: Endgame was really just the beginning |  British GQ

We do know Marvel Comics will be attending with their traditional booth. And Kevin Feige revealed that the MCU would be returning to Hall H for the first time since the bombshell “Phase Four” panel back in 2019. Indeed, we’ve been mostly riding the wave of that panel the whole pandemic. (Here’s the Beat’s then-staff reacting to the panel moments after it let out.) In that 2019 video I make a big deal of how I predicted that Marvel Studios would bring EVERYTHING to SDCC and not wait for the D23 Expo, even though lots of people thought they wouldn’t.

For ’22, once again, people kept doubting whether the MCU would show up! D23 is coming again, there’s a pandemic, yadda yadda. A few weeks ago the rumor swept over Scoopland saying that Feige and Co. was sitting this one out, based on a report from a site no one ever heard of before. So credible! So reliable!

I never gave up hope. If there’s one thing Kevin Feige understands it’s building excitement in the fanbase. And what would be more exciting than RETURNING TO HALL H! What would be a clearer way of saying “The Pandemic is [someday going to be] Over!” than, say, 6000 fans hollering about the return of the Fantastic Four?

So yes, Marvel IS returning to Hall H!

“We’ll be at Comic-Con next month, which we’re excited about,” said Feige, according to multiple reports. “So yes, we’re excited to go and talk about the future.”

Upcoming Marvel projects:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023), The Marvels (July 28, 2023) and Mahershala Ali starrer Blade. Upcoming TV projects include the animated I Am Groot (August 10), She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (August 17), The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Echo, Secret Invasion, Agatha: House of Darkness, Armor Wars, Ironheart and X-Men ’97.

Heck yeah!

As for the WBD booth sitting this one out: I can’t really be sad because that booth absolutely sucked.

wb booth sdcc 2019

It was a horrible place to interact with a comics company, a horrible place to have signings, and it just needs to be totally rethought. Way back in 2019, the WB and DC were just adapting to being purchased by AT&T – this time out new owner, new rules. Given all the financial issues at WBD, no booth makes sense, even if it’s inconvenient, especially for DC Comics, the company that was once the king of the floor. Given how awful that booth was, having giant Jim Lee bags everywhere is honestly a better use of that marketing budget.

And if having no booth this time out means they can plan for something better in 2023? I’m all for it.

We’re just getting started on our SDCC ’23 coverage at the Beat so get ready!

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