Hollywood’s home entertainment studios are mostly skipping Comic-Con Special Edition Thanksgiving weekend, but the event will still feature a smattering of movie- and TV-related programming.
The first in-person gathering for San Diego Comic-Con fans since July 2019, Comic-Con Special Edition will take place Nov. 26-28 in and around the San Diego Convention Center. The event was created by the organizers of the annual San Diego Comic-Con International to abate the financial impact of canceling the summer pop culture confab the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The full programming schedule and list of exhibitors is available at Comic-Con.org/ccse.
In accordance with California guidelines for megaevents, attendees will be required show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Attendees must also wear masks at all times regardless of vaccination status.
Comic-Con International is kicking off the festivities with the soft opening of its Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park at noon Nov. 26. The museum, touted as celebrating “the magic of Comic-Con year-round,” features six diverse, entertaining, educational and interactive exhibits. Special programming, screenings and a variety of special nighttime activities will be offered leading up to the summer of 2022 grand opening.
“When Comic-Con began as a tiny gathering of fans in a hotel basement in 1970, no one could have imagined that one day the convention would have its own Museum dedicated to comics, science fiction, movies, cosplay, video games, and other popular arts,” said David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s chief communications and strategy officer. “We are both proud and excited to announce the opening of the museum and its inaugural exhibits.”
The first exhibits will include “Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary,” a tribute to the career of the creator of “Star Trek” during the year of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Featuring historical memorabilia, costumes and props from CBS, rarely seen documents and letters, as well as a few surprises, the exhibit will inform visitors about Roddenberry’s life story and his lasting impact on popular culture.
Among other home entertainment related pop-culture tie-ins during the weekend:
- NBC is promoting the sci-fi series “La Brea” with an activation and panel discussion in advance of the Nov. 30 finale of the show’s first season. NBC’s Outdoor “La Brea” Survival Experience in the Gaslamp District re-creates the world of 10,000 B.C. and the “down below” with iconic elements such as a giant mammoth skull, mountain-like sculptures, and building and car debris from the fictional Los Angeles sinkhole at the center of the show. Guests will be treated to survival-themed giveaways (while supplies last), water refill stations and memorable photo moments for social sharing. An adjoining NCBU Lounge offers rest and recharge opportunities in a forest-themed picnic space with water refill and phone-charging stations hosted by NBC’s “La Brea” and Syfy’s “Resident Alien,” plus a special “Resident Alien” giveaway while supplies last. The experience runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The “La Brea” panel will be held at 2:45 p.m. Saturday in room 6DE, with the cast and executive producers gathering for a virtual discussion. Stars Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Chiké Okonkwo and Nicholas Gonzalez will partake in a Q&A session alongside co-showrunners David Appelbaum, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.
- Fox Entertainment’s free streaming platform Tubi will promote its series “The Freak Brothers” with a road trip experience at San Diego Bayfront Park, in front of the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, beside Hall H. Fans can chill out in the iconic basement from the show, charge their phones, take pictures and collect four different mini-posters of their favorite characters, all in front of a 42-foot “Freak-a-fied” bus. Fans also can become Freak-a-fied themselves through an Instagram AR lens filter. The “Freak Brothers” experience runs form noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
- Full Moon Features will occupy booth 1833 on the show floor. As well as feature films, Full Moon produces original series, toys, collectibles, merchandise, comic books and publishes the popular horror film magazine Delirium.
- The Nacelle Company, best known for producing such hit series as “The Toys That Made Us” and “The Movies That Made Us” on Netflix, “Behind the Attraction” on Disney+, “A Toy Store Near You” on Amazon Prime, and “The Center Seat” on the History channel, provide a look at how the shows came together as well as a preview of what’s ahead including the rebirth of “Robo Force,” “Power Lords,” “Silverhawks,” “Marx Toys” and more. The panel starts at 3:45 p.m. Nov. 26 in room 6DE.
- A panel at 5 p.m. Nov. 26 in room 2 called “Mobile Filmmaking: How to Make a Movie Using a Smartphone” will feature offer tips on best practices to becoming a mobile filmmaker.
- A reunion for Comedy Central’s 2004-07 animated reality show spoof “Drawn Together” is advertised for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 26 in room 5AB.
- The “Future Indies You Must See” panel at 6 p.m. Nov. 26 in room 29AB offers an exclusive preview of independent genre films coming in 2022 and beyond with host Chris Gore (Film Threat), Bobby Schwartz (Dual Animal Studios), Alan Ng (Film Threat), Dante James (Movie Twitter), Walter Areas (Attack of the Doc) and special guest filmmakers. Through trailer premieres and exclusive clips, get a glimpse of movies that can only be seen in a limited release, including the best indie sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
- A 20th anniversary screening of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away will take place at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 26 in room 6DE. Join Hot Topic for Studio Ghibli trivia, prizes and a first look at the new holiday collection.
- The “Everyone’s a Critic: Being a Pop-Culture Journalist in an Online Age” panel at 10 a.m. Nov. 27 in room 9 focuses on the rise of citizen journalism to blogging to vloggers, podcasters, and online-only news sources in the past decade. Critics, journalists and reaction hosts will talk about the role of new media for their followers, and the industries and communities they serve. Topics will include varying levels of informality versus classic ideas of professionalism, show-specific outlets versus general news sites, and more.
- The “Set Secrets With Film and TV Creatives” panel at 11 a.m. Nov. 27 in room 7AB will feature directors, editors, composers, and others providing insights on the process of developing and producing films and TV shows, Panelists include Ernesto Matamoros Cox and Lawrence Gan (editors of Netflix’s “Arcane: League of Legends”), Spencer Creaghan (composer of Hulu’s “SurrealEstate”), Jennifer Smith (music supervisor for Paramount+ series “Why Women Kill”), and Doug Rockwell and Tova Livtin (songwriters/composers for Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms, and “High School Musical: The Musical — The Series” for Disney+.
- The “Pitches, Pilots, and Beyond! A Look Into the Visual Storytelling Process” panel at noon Nov. 27 in room 7AB features film and television showrunners, producers, and directors discussing their careers and bringing new stories to the screen, taking fans behind the process to learn more about how films and television shows get made, from writing the pitch to shooting the film or pilot episode, as well as building out a story world in both linear and interactive stories. Panelists include Michael Price (co-creator, showrunner, “F Is for Family”; co-executive producer, “The Simpsons”), Steve Anderson (supervising director, writer, director, “Monsters at Work,” Meet the Robinsons, Winnie the Pooh), Jon Gosier (CEO, FilmHedge and Southbox Entertainment; executive producer, Witch Hunt), Ben Simms (director and executive producer, “You vs Wild,” “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” WWE’s Escape the Undertaker), Katherine Waddell (actress and producer, First Bloom Films, Balloon Animal), Allissoon Lockhart (creator and showrunner, “Battle of the Bands”), and George Salinas (CEO, Bridge Works Entertainment; executive producer, Julie and the Phantoms).
- A panel at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 3 celebrates “100 Years of Visual Effects.” Geoffrey Mark (Serenity, “The Orville”) takes fans through the visual language of film and the minds who created mind-blowing effects to tell fantastic stories after the past 115 years of film history.
- A panel at 2 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 7AB delves into “The ABC’s of NFTs,” educating artists, producers, and managers on NFTs, from the creative to the financial. During the panel, international pop artist and NFT master Rob Prior will create and mint a 1/1 NFT.
- The Travel Channel/Discovery+ series “Destination Fear” will hold a panel discussion at 4 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 6DE. The fear-seeking friends from Destination Fear — Dakota Laden, his sister Chelsea Laden, Tanner Wiseman and Alex Schroeder — are back from the latest leg of their tour de terror and will be live and in person to share firsthand the terrifying tales from their fright-fueled road trip to America’s most haunted locations. The panel will be followed by an autograph session.
- Larry Nemecek, host of “The Trek Files” podcast, will hold “The State of the Trek” fan forum at 4 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 26AB, serving as referee to allow fans to share their thoughts on the state of “Star Trek,” from shows “Discovery,” “Lower Decks,” “Prodigy,” “Picard” and the upcoming “Strange New Worlds,” plus elusive attempts to make another feature film.
- Just in time for Disney’s Nov. 30 Blu-ray and DVD release of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings comes a panel devoted to the film’s action sequences. “Shang-Chi: Cultural Impact and Celebration of Fight Choreography” will take place at 4 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 29AB. Jessica Tseang (international comics historian) and special guests from the stunt team will discuss the process of bringing to life Marvel’s first-ever Asian superhero.
- A panel devoted to “The Enduring Appeal of the ‘Alien’ Franchise” will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 26AB. Gareth Von Kallenbach, owner and editor of Skewed & Reviewed, along with Skewed & Reviewed writers Victor and Juliette Calderon, explore the enduring appeal of the “Alien” franchise from films to games, comics, and the pending television series.
- A panel called “You Are My Childhood: Stars of TV Shows from a Bygone Era” is scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 23ABC.
- An all-star panel of fandom and sci-fi experts in the industry will explore the impact fandoms have in sustaining and reviving franchises during the “Fandom Has Saved SciFi Franchises!” panel at 6 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 7AB.
- Shout! Factory has announced a Jan. 25 release date for Kamen Rider Zero-One: The Complete Series, an eight-disc Blu-ray Disc collection featuring all 46 episodes of the popular Japanese anime TV series. The collection also includes the movie RealxTime and five special episodes. Team Kamen Rider members (David Clarke, A. J. Velasco) and representatives from Shout! Factory will discuss upcoming toy releases and information about the Blu-ray release at the “Kamen Rider 50th Anniversary and Beyond” panel at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 5AB. The panel will lead into a screening of the U.S. premiere of Kamen Rider Zero-One: RealxTime.
- A panel on “The Science of Star Wars” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 24ABC. Join the Fleet Science Center for this discussion of how science influences Star Wars and how the fantasy epic continues to inspire scientists. Fon Davis (creative director, Fonco Studios) will share behind-the-scenes knowledge from working on over 40 feature films, including the “Star Wars” series. Scientists include Lisa M. Will, Ph.D. (astrophysics professor, San Diego City College), Frank Santana (herpetologist, San Diego Natural History Museum), Amit K. Patel, Ph.D. (ophthalmologist, University of California San Diego) and Melissa Miller (science writer, Star Wars Insider magazine, Nerdist).
- Documentaries covering pop culture subjects such as comic books and movies are more popular than ever, topping the charts on iTunes and streaming services. The “Docs that Rock” panel at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 29AB will feature Chris Gore (Film Threat, Attack of the Doc), April Wright (Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story), Anthony Desiato (My Comic Shop Country), Malcolm Ingram (Clerk.), Taylor Morden (The Last Blockbuster) and Jesse Suchmann (Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie) for a conversation about what it takes to get an indie doc made, how to promote it at a film festival, and tips for selling the film to a major streaming service such as Netflix.
- The “Space Command: Epic Adventures!” panel at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in room 8 looks into the “Space Command” film series created by “Star Trek” writer Marc Scott Zicree. Space Command’s cast is a Who’s Who of TV and film genre stars, including Doug Jones (“Star Trek: Discovery,” The Shape of Water), Ethan McDowell (“The Walking Dead,” “Doom Patrol”), Mike Harney (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Project Blue Book”), Bruce Boxleitner (“Babylon 5,” Tron), Bill Mumy (“Lost In Space,” “Babylon 5”), James Hong (Blade Runner), Victor Manso (“Tesla Adventures”), John Hennigan (“Glow,” WWE) and the late Mira Furlan (“Babylon 5”). The panel includes an extended HD preview of a new episode.
- A panel called “The VFX of Doctor Who: You Can Do This!” takes place at 11 a.m. Nov. 28 in room 7AB. Geoffrey Mark (Serenity, “The Orville”) moderates a panel of effects luminaries Ian Hunter (Interstellar, Inception), Tom Griep (Independence Day, Armageddon), Chris Simmons (iRobot, Independence Day) and Dragon Dronet (Star Trek: First Contact, Total Recall). They will be shown clips from classic “Doctor Who” episodes and challenged to re-create those effects with household materials.
- A “TMNT from Comic Book to Big Screen: Looking Back and Looking Forward” panel takes place at 2 p.m. Nov. 28 in room 23 ABC. From a comic book to a TV series in the ’80s to the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in 1990, the panel celebrates more than 30 years of TMNT pop culture success, looking back at the first two films and ahead to the next three. Producer Kim Dawson, writer Bobby Herbeck, and a few surprise guests will share the saga of barely getting the first “TMNT” film to the big screen.
- Filmmakers including Eve McCarney (production designer, “American Horror Stories,” “Into the Dark”), Avery Plewes (costume designer, The Craft: Legacy, Ready or Not), Ruth Ammon (production designer,Solos, Station Eleven), and Helen Huang (costume designer, Station Eleven) share insights into their craft and creative processes behind capturing the essence of fan-favorite sci-fi and horror cinema in the “Bringing Sci-Fi & Horror from Script to Screen” Q&A session at 4 p.m. Nov. 28 in room 7AB.
- A couple of Comic-Con traditions continue with screenings of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 27, and the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” musical episode “Once More With Feeling” at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 28, both in room 6DE.
Comic-Con Special Edition will also be screening films throughout the weekend in room 4. Movies are shown in high-definition on a big screen with stereo sound. The selection includes a mix of older and newer films such as The Polar Express, Elf, Gremlins, Die Hard, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and Free Guy. The full screening schedule is available at Comic-Con.org/ccse/films.
In addition to the in-person schedule of films, the Films Department has expanded into the virtual world with Watch Parties @Home through the Scener Google Chrome extension, running concurrently with Comic-Con Special Edition.