This year's San Diego Comic-Con has more than 170 TV-related offerings in its July 19-22 lineup, an abundance of choices that may make fans' heads spin. Most interactive options, including meet-and-greets, panels and screenings, are from TV spinoffs of comic books series, from Arrow to The Walking Dead. We've chosen our five must-see TV events at Comic-Con, but you can make your own guide by searching programs under: television.
Arrow Q&A with cast and producers
Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow (played by Stephen Amell) was finally forced to reveal his superhero identity in Arrow's season 6 finale. Now, he'll be living alongside the criminals he put behind bars as he settles into life at Slabside Maximum Security Prison. At the Arrow panel, Comic-Con fans will be the first to learn from the cast and producers what this means for Oliver and the rest of his team. Arrow returns to the CW this fall on Mondays at 9 p.m. Sat., July 21, 4:15-5 p.m., Ballroom 20.
Screening/panel discussion of Doug Liman's Impulse
Impulse, a new YouTube Original drama, is a genre-bending action-thriller that debuted on YouTube Premium on June 6; all 10 episodes now are available via streaming. Doug Liman (Swingers, The Bourne Identity, Jumper) directed and executive produced the series, based on the sci-fi teleporting book and movie Jumper.
“I have always been interested in characters with superpowers. Not superheroes,” Liman tells L.A. Weekly. “Jason Bourne is a superhero of sorts — and I'm very proud of that franchise. But Jumper was my attempt at making a film about an actual supernatural superpower. And I felt that I had lost my way a little bit. It wasn't personal enough. So the Jumper world was one I was eager to jump back into (pun intended) and see if I could get it right. Make something that was both epic in scale and deeply personal.”
According to Liman, Impulse sticks to the spirit of the Jumper books. “But like with Bourne, I invented my own universe and characters.” And course, since Star Trek and before, everyone has been obsessed by teleporting. So how does the show achieve it in a believable way?
“I was told I couldn't copy the teleportation look of Jumper. Limitations actually push me to do my best work. And never has that been more true than with Impulse,” Liman says. “I invented a whole new look and feel — something that feels way more honest to me — where Henry's [aka Henrietta's] initial jumps would be violent and messy. That is way more honest — and it gave us a whole new storyline because she gravely wounds someone the first time she teleports (jumps). If Bourne made car chases messier and more real, I feel like Impulse grounds teleportation in the same way. And that messiness must speak to me personally.”
At the Con, fans can watch scenes from the series with Liman, exec producers Gene Klein and David Bartis (Suits) and showrunner Lauren LeFranc (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), plus stars Maddie Hasson and Missi Pyle. Thu., July 19, noon-12:50 p.m.; Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
TMNT Reboot's Virtual-Reality Experience, Panel and Screening
To promote Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the upcoming TMNT reboot, Nickelodeon is presenting “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live,” a virtual reality experience that immerses users in the iconic Turtles' New York City world and lets them have convos with Mikey or Donnie — voiced live by Brandon Mychal Smith and Josh Brener, respectively. Indeed, Nick's 1,800-square-foot booth will feature a towering NYC cityscape, with lights and billboards of Times Square and a hidden Turtles lair. The booth will also feature merch (collectibles and customizable tees and totes); giveaways; costumed character appearances; and signings with the voice casts and creators from Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
TMNT has become such a part of our pop culture and with this new, reimagined series, the franchise lives on. But is there a difference between fans of the original and fans of the current show, or in the feel of the show?
“TMNT fans are incredible and passionate. One of the great things about the TMNT franchise is that because there's been so many iterations of it throughout the years, there's a version each generation of viewer can identify with as 'their' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and still be able to appreciate the franchise as a whole,” co–executive producer Andy Suriano tells L.A. Weekly. “We are making this for our own kids' generation — Ant [Ward] and I both have two young sons each — and hopefully it speaks to multigenerational fans as well.”
Ward concurs. “We set out to make everything with this iteration as fun as possible. From the stories and character interaction, to the artwork and animation, we are always asking ourselves, 'Is it fun?'? The brothers will be finding their place in the world, and having a blast on each adventure. They rough and tumble, act like siblings and are generally pretty rambunctious. I think fans will love how action-packed, funny and dynamic the show is — it's inherently TMNT with a unique reimagining of many beloved characters.”
The co–executive producers will be part of the TMNT panel, along with the all-star voice cast. Ward says, “Sharing exclusive show details with the fans at SDCC is always fun, and I think fans are going to love seeing our incredible cast in person. They have such a fun dynamic!”
The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel, moderated by Buzzfeed's Keely Flaherty, will screen never-before-seen clips from the upcoming series and feature its cast, including Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raph, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donnie, Brandon Smith (You're the Worst) as Mikey, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012) as Splinter, as well as co–executive producers Suriano and Ward and legendary voice director Rob Paulsen. Thu., July 19, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Room 6A.
Marvel Madness: Panels, Signings and First-Look Screenings
Marvel Television and Marvel Animation are returning to (OK, basically taking over) Comic-Con with a huge lineup of panels, signings and footage previews for shows including Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, Marvel's Iron Fist, Legion, The Gifted, Marvel's Avengers: Black Panther's Quest and new project Marvel Rising. Plus, Marvel's doing a livestream at marvel.com/SDCC2018, starting Thursday, July 19, and live-tweeting at #MarvelSDCC.
The Marvel Rising panel will showcase the first look at animated shorts, news and cast members Chloe Bennet (Quake), Milana Vayntrub (Squirrel Girl), Kathreen Khavari (Ms. Marvel) and Kamil McFadden (Patriot), as well as Mairghread Scott (writer, Marvel Rising), Cort Lane (senior VP, animation and family entertainment), Marsha Griffin (VP, animation current series and development) and Sana Amanat (VP, content and character development) and surprise guests. Thu., July 19, 3:15–4:15 p.m., Room 6DE.
Fans get to learn what's ahead for Season 2 of Marvel's Iron Fist as Danny Rand and Colleen Wing set off on a new adventure as protectors of lower NYC, in a panel featuring executive producer and Marvel's head of television Jeph Loeb and surprise guests. Thu., July 19, 6-7 p.m., Ballroom 20.
The panel for hit summer series Marvel's Cloak & Dagger will feature stars Olivia Holt, Aubrey Joseph, Emma Lahana, Ally Maki and executive producer/showrunner Joe Pokaski in a Q&A moderated by executive producer and head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb, along with a look at never-before-been-seen footage. New episodes air Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Freeform. Fri., July 20, 5:45–6:45 p.m., Ballroom 20.
In addition, Freeform is bringing Marvel's Cloak & Dagger to “The Experience” at Petco Park. Starting Thursday, July 19, at 10 a.m., fans can engage with two interactive activities, including re-creating the symbolic moment between leads Tyrone and Tandy when their powers interact; participants are harnessed to a bungee that will propel them backward from the force of their “powers.” A slow-motion recording will capture the moment with an overlay effect that shows both the light and dark energy emitting from the participants, and fans can share all the coolness on social media. At the ROXXON Corp. station, attendees can create their customized ROXXON Corp. badge and lanyard; each badge includes a code connected to a range of prizes from Sony PlayStation Vue and Freeform. After getting their customized badge, fans can pose for a photo at the ROXXON Corp. sign.
Season 2 of The Gifted picks up after the explosion of the Atlanta Station as the Mutant Underground is left searching for their friends and family who left with The Inner Circle. In The Gifted panel, fans mix it up with executive producers Matt Nix and Marvel's Jeph Loeb and stars Stephen Moyer, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung, Emma Dumont, Blair Redford, Natalie Alyn Lind and Skyler Samuels for a first look at the upcoming second season, returning Tuesdays this fall on Fox. Sat., July 21, 2:30-3:15 p.m., Ballroom 20.
Legion, based on the Marvel comic by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, is the story of David Haller, a man who thought he was schizophrenic only to discover that he may actually be the most powerful mutant ever. Along with a team of other extra-gifted people, he learns to accept his true self and sets out to defeat the Shadow King, on a path to attaining infinite and world-ending power. Season 2 called into question who was the hero and who was the villain. In the Legion panel, fans will hear from executive producers John Cameron and Marvel's Jeph Loeb, with co–executive producer Nathaniel Halpern and cast members on what to look forward to in Season 3. Sun., July 22, 2:15-3:15 p.m., Hall H.
The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead … Live at Comic-Con
The cast and producers of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead will participate in back-to-back panels in Hall H on Friday morning. The Fear panel, at 11:15, will feature stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Lennie James, Danay Garcia, Jenna Elfman, Maggie Grace and Garret Dillahunt, with executive producers and showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, executive producers Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and exec producer Greg Nicotero. They'll talk about the midseason finale and what to look for when the show returns to AMC on Aug. 12 for the second half of Season 4. The Walking Dead panel, at 12:15, will feature stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, with executive producer and showrunner Angela Kang, plus the aforementioned Gimple, Kirkman, Hurd, Alpert and Nicotero. The panelists will ponder the next chapter and give a sneak peek into Season 9, debuting in October on AMC.
The shows also feature the interactive Dead Quarters, an immersive experience that features a curated walk through settings from both series, including the Sanctuary; a 22-foot zombie slide; and photo opps with the walker composter and Negan's “Flaming Lucille.”
Fans can also check out The Walking Dead: Our World, AMC and Next Games' new location-based, augmented-reality mobile game, which launches July 12, and can play it in a unique Walking Dead–themed setting, fighting walkers with Rick, Daryl, Michonne and other characters from the series. In celebration of Comic-Con, The Walking Dead: Our World will give players an exclusive, limited-time Comic-Con Special Encounter in-game activation, which will reward them with guaranteed “Rare” or “Epic” characters from The Walking Dead series to add to their collections in the game.
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