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San Diego Comic-Con 2023 lacking many fandom panels

By Justin Bonner

Remember the good old days when our beloved Comic-Con International was an annual festival of joy and geekdom? Yeah, COVID-19 stole that from us for a couple of years, didn’t it? But hey, SDCC made a remarkable comeback last year! Who can forget those fantastic Hall H panels for “Star Trek,” “House of the Dragon,” “The Walking Dead,” and of course, Marvel Studios?

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this year’s Comic-Con might be a little… let’s say, underwhelming.

Rumor has it that many of our favorite studios won’t be gracing us with their presence. Why? Well, it seems like we might have an actors’ strike on our hands. SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have until June 30 to negotiate their contract. If they don’t, we might have a problem. No actors mean no panels, which leaves us, the fans, waiting for a show that might not come.

Word on the street is that some studios have already jumped ship. Disney, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm – yeah, that’s right, all our favorite “The Marvels,” “Loki” Season 2, “Ahsoka,” and “Haunted Mansion” updates might not happen. HBO, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Netflix have also bowed out. And honestly, that stings, my friends.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some studios holding on, refusing to give in to the uncertainty. Warner Bros. still might give us some juicy tidbits on “Blue Beetle” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” And the folks over at Paramount Pictures still plan on showing us something cool for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” Even NBC and Amazon are on standby, waiting to see what happens next. But what this means for our most-awaited series like “The Wheel of Time” and “The Boys: Gen V” is still anyone’s guess.

With the lack of panels, there’s talk of studios turning to outdoor promotional stunts to drum up the excitement. It’s not the same as seeing our beloved stars up-close, but it’s something, right? And let’s not forget that SDCC isn’t just about the panels, it’s also about the community. The real-life superheroes running the show haven’t given up. Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer says they’re hoping for a speedy resolution and are working hard to make this year’s event as fun and memorable as ever.

So, as we wait for the final schedule to roll out on July 5, let’s keep our fingers crossed. Who knows? We might still get the show we’re hoping for, even if it’s a little different than expected. After all, in the words of a certain favorite Vulcan of ours, “Change is the essential process of all existence.”

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