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Comic-Con: Eight Topics That Everyone Will Be Talking About

Photo: 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Columbia Pictures releases the first image of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man.
Photo: 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Last year’s Comic-Con couldn’t have been bigger … and this year, it’s like the Con is still in hangover mode. 2010 brought a glut of geek properties to San Diego, including The Avengers, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Tron Legacy, and Green Lantern, but many of those movies hit the skids in wide release, and there’s a definite sense that this year, Comic-Con’s influence will be more scrutinized than ever. With several big movies missing from the convention schedule and studios wary of sinking too much money into San Diego, what will this year’s big stories be? Here are eight topics that we expect everyone will be buzzing about on Thursday, when Vulture heads to Comic-Con for its official first day.

The Spider-Man reboot was always going to be a hot ticket at Comic-Con, but ​with other massive comic book properties like Superman and The Avengers sitting out San Diego this time, Spidey has become the biggest must-see of the convention by default. Fanboys are even more pumped for this panel because unlike many of the other movies here this year, The Amazing Spider-Man has yet to release a teaser trailer or even a single frame of footage — in fact, there weren’t even any scene stills from the movie available until this week, when Sony made them available for an Entertainment Weekly cover story. Suffice it to say, all eyes will be on director Marc Webb and star Andrew Garfield to deliver. Photo: 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Scoff if you must, but last time Twilight hit Comic-Con (in 2009, to promote New Moon), it was the weekend’s biggest panel by far. That year, it angered many geeks who were shut out of Hall H by Twilight fans who’d queued up early, meaning that hundred of fans missed that morning’s first Tron Legacy panel (only at Comic-Con will fans of one awkwardly acted sequel look down their nose at the fans of another sometimes-clumsy franchise). This time around, geek wrath will probably reach a less fevered pitch since the Breaking Dawn panel will open Hall H Thursday morning and Twi-hards will be gone by noon. Photo: Andrew Cooper/? 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.
Countless TV shows are headed to Comic-Con this year to drum up geek support, but few will compare to the victory lap taken by Game of Thrones in the wake of its acclaimed first season. With plenty of the show’s actors on hand and a panel moderated by George R.R. Martin, this property could probably dominate the cavernous Hall H. So the fact that it’s consigned to the slightly smaller Ballroom 20 is a sign that fans should be getting in line, like, yesterday. Photo: Nick Briggs/ +447778646602/nick@
The trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Tintin has its doubters, so Spielberg himself will make the trek to San Diego for the first time to sell the motion-captured movie in the flesh. Still, with his geek standing lowered by the poorly-received Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, can Spielberg himself convince fans that this very European property is worth getting excited about?
Though some are newly skeptical about the power and influence of Comic-Con, the convention will always have one true believer in Jon Favreau. The director has brought his Iron Man movies here in the past to great effect, and he even structured the shooting schedule of Cowboys and Aliens so that he’d have a segment of the movie done in time to present at last year’s Con. This year, he’s bringing the finished product, which will make its world premiere in San Diego. Photo: Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC
Though Rodriguez will probably present some footage from the latest Spy Kids sequel, Comic-Con press materials promise that “he will also show exclusive material from his latest top-secret project.” Since Rodriguez owns his own studio and works fast and in secret, this secret movie could be anything — though fans are speculating that it might be the long-rumored Sin City 2. Whatever it is, curiosity is high. Photo: Gareth Cattermole/2010 Getty Images
Last year, studios came to Comic-Con and spent lavishly, whether it was the enormous presence for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which later fizzled at the box office) or the parties for Tron Legacy, which Disney held in a massive set reconstruction of the movie’s End of Line Club. This year, the purse strings have been tightened. Events are smaller and less costly, while some studios are skipping Comic-Con altogether, which brings us to the last thing everyone will be buzzing about … Photo: Frazer Harrison/2010 Getty Images
Last year, Marvel dominated Comic-Con weekend by assembling The Avengers in public for the first time, but this year, their 2012 summer tentpole will be virtually absent from the convention. That’s because Disney, which now owns the rights to Marvel properties, is saving new announcements, footage, and reveals from Marvel for its own D23 Expo in August. Aside from the Paramount-distributed Captain America, which will screen at the Con, that means that Comic-Con is losing its most reliable attention-getter at a tricky time when comic book movies are bigger than ever, yet the Con’s influence is in doubt. Can Comic-Con weather the blow?
Comic-Con: Eight Topics That Everyone Will Be Talking About