With Most Major Studios Skipping, Will there be a Comic-Con 2023?  

Jul 3, 2023

Comic Con logo

For two consecutive years Comic-Con, North America’s largest annual fan convention, dealt with the events cancellation due to COVID-19. The SDCC non-profit organization faced unprecedented financial strain as the much-anticipated five-day gathering was called off. Last year, however, saw a glimmer of hope with a masked and vaccinated SDCC returning with resounding success. Blockbuster panels featuring The Walking Dead, House of Dragons as well as Star Trek’s expanding universe and Marvel Studios delighed fans. While bringing life back into the event.

Now, with under a month until July 19th, uncertainty looms about the presence of these star-studded panels at Comic-Con 2023. Industry insiders and studios are bracing themselves for a notable absence of these highly anticipated panels. If there is no contract agreement by June 30th between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) a strike will ensue. This would lead to actors joining writers and showrunners in boycotting promotional events like Comic-Con. As a result, studios will face talent to populate their panels, leaving thousands of expectant fans disappointed.

Given this uncertainty, several major studios have already decided to scale back their presence at SDCC this year. Disney, including its subsidiaries Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, has opted not to hold panels. This removes the opportunity to witness casts of upcoming projects like The Marvels, Loki Season 2, Ahsoka and Haunted Mansion. HBO, known for hit series like House of the Dragon and True Detective, will also be absent from the convention. Also not attending are Sony Pictures, with projects Gran Turismo and Kraven the Hunter in the pipeline and Universal Pictures with Last Voyage of the Demeter, Strays, and The Exorcist. After hosting the massive Tudun event in Brazil, where fans got a glimpse of its One Piece adaptation, Netflix too has decided to sit out Comic-Con 2023.

Comic-Con floor

With the absence of major studios, fans wonder what surprises might be in store as the event draws near. Marvel Studios, for instance, will not hold a panel in Hall H, a space synonymous with exciting announcements. However, the studio assures it will maintain a a presence on the show floor. Although specific details remain undisclosed, fans can expect exclusive merchandise, interactive experiences, and other forms of engagement from Marvel.

Throughout its history Comic-Con shows resilience by adapting to challenging times. In spite of the limitations a lack of major studios and star-studded panels might cause, to fans Comic-Con remains an adored institution worldwide. SDCC serves as a vital platform for fans to connect and celebrate their shared passions. As the convention draws closer, studio participation still hangs in the balance. While some continue to wait-and-see, others are carefully considering their involvement.

Warner Bros., recognizes the events potential PR boost for upcoming DC features Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. We know the company wont be skipping Comic-Con entirely as its streaming service, HBOMax, will be present with some its animation titles.

Similarly, Paramount Pictures is preparing a panel for the computer animated feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The studios’ streaming service, Paramount+, has not confirmed specific panels featuring Star Trek. The possibility remains that fans of the sci-fi franchise will have something to look forward to at Comic-Con.

The fact any studios is contemplating attending demonstrates the delicate act of balancing the promotional benefits of Comic-Con while navigating real world events. While fans eagerly await announcements there is still hope for some surprises, regardless of which studios ultimately choose to attend. As with every year, Comic-Con 2023 promises to be an unforgettable celebration of fandom. Regardless of unknowns Comic-Con 2023 is certain to provide an engaging space to connect with the creative forces behind your favorite franchises.