Dispatches from day 3 of San Diego Comic-Con 2022

The third day of San Diego Comic-Con is almost always the busiest day for news, especially when Marvel Studios or Warner Bros.’ DC movies come to Hall H. But this year was one for the ages. There was so much happening that I never even had a chance to get to the convention floor on Saturday. That’s why I have a different agenda in mind for the final day. But first, let’s go over the biggest events of day 3.

Finally the Rock has come back to San Diego!

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam at Comic-Con.
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

When Dwayne Johnson was still wrestling for WWE as The Rock, he would often describe himself as “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.” He’s always had a knack for big entrances, but it might be hard to top this one. Johnson arrived in Hall H wearing his costume from Black Adam and standing on a platform that raised him high as video lightning and some fog effects surrounded him.  You can watch it for yourself below.

Johnson then slipped off stage, changed into a regular outfit, and played it off like he had just missed Black Adam. He and his fellow cast members briefly hyped the film before debuting a special Comic-Con teaser trailer.

While Black Adam was originally going to hit theaters on July 29, fans will have to wait until October 21 to see it for themselves. And contrary to widespread rumors before the show, Henry Cavill did not make a surprise appearance to announce his return as Superman. That may have been wishful thinking, but it left fans walking away disappointed. As a spotlight for Johnson, it was a fantastic event. As a glimpse into the future of DC’s films, it came up short.

The Fury of the Gods

Prior to Johnson’s arrival, the cast of Shazam! Fury of the Gods dropped by Hall H to promote their own film. The story takes place a few years after Shazam!as the titular hero (Zachary Levi) and his alter-ego, Billy Batson (Asher Angel), are feeling pretty inadequate compared to heroes like the Justice League. Even Billy’s foster-siblings in the Shazam family are starting to grow apart.

As for the movie’s title, why are the gods so furious? The newly released trailer reveals that the Shazam family’s might is unknowingly stealing the power of the gods. Atlas’ daughters, Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), want the powers back, and they won’t hesitate to kill the Shazam family to make that happen.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods arrives on December 2021.

The Star Trek Universe

Although overshadowed by the titans of Marvel and DC, the Star Trek Universe panel had a lot to share as well. Perhaps the most enticing teaser was for Star Trek: Picard‘s third and final season, which will reunite Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner with their Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars: Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, and Gates McFadden. The teaser doesn’t put them all together yet, but it’s the first time we’ve seen Worf, Geordi, and Dr. Crusher since Star Trek: Nemesis came out in 2002.

Picard season 3 won’t arrive on Paramount+ until next year, but fans only have to wait until August 25 for a new season of Star Trek: Lower Decks. The animated comedy series will pick from last year’s cliffhanger with the U.S.S. Cerritos impounded and Captain Freeman unjustly imprisoned by Starfleet. But judging by some of these clips, that plot will be resolved in time for a trip to Deep Space Nine.

Are you ready for some truly wild news? There’s going to be a crossover between Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Lower Decks! Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid will appear in live-action as their characters, Mariner and Boimler. Conversely, characters from Strange New Worlds will appear in animated sequences. We’re not sure when this is going to happen, but it will be for an episode of Strange New Worlds.

Enter The Sandman

Netflix had a big Hall H panel of its own, but fittingly, it was for the streamer’s live-action adaptation of DC’s The Sandmanwith series creator Neil Gaiman as the co-showrunner. Most of the footage screened at Comic-Con was not released online. But since the show drops on August 5, you won’t have to wait long to see it.

Fans of Gaiman’s Sandman comic should recognize many of the key players in the new Comic-Con trailer, including Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman). But the focus is on Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the ruler of the Dreaming and the lord of dreams. He’s been locked away for over a century, and he has plenty of enemies who don’t want him to reclaim his lost power.

Perhaps the two deadliest foes in Morpheus’ way are the living nightmare known as The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), and the fallen angel, Lucifer Morningstar (Gwendoline Christie), the ruler of Hell who has her own grudge against the Sandman.

The Marvelverse of Madness

Well. Where to begin? As a lifelong Marvel fan, it is exciting to see all of the new and upcoming Marvel shows and movies. But as a guy whose job depends on his ability to write news stories as quickly as possible, the lightning speed of these announcements made that incredibly difficult. I did not appreciate that, Kevin Fiege.

Before we can talk about the far future of the MCU, the near future is the launch of She-Hulk on Disney+ on August 17. The new trailer firmly establishes that the title character, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), does not want to be a superhero despite the efforts of her famous cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The new trailer also reveals some key guest stars, including a fan favorite at the very end.

The comedic tone of She-Hulk contrasts to the genuinely moving trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Because Chadwick Boseman passed away, it carries real emotional weight to see the nation of Wakanda mourning for his character, T’Challa. But there won’t be a lot of time for sorrow on November 11, as Wakanda faces a threat from the underwater kingdom led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta). For that reason alone, someone must succeed the late T’Challa and become the new Black Panther.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks the end of Marvel’s Phase 4 films, but only the beginning of The Multiverse Saga. The Infinity Saga was comprised of three phases of Marvel movies, and the same is true for this one as well. That’s where things went off the rails as Feige revealed all of Marvel’s Phase 5 projects within the first ten minutes of the panel!

In order, Phase 5 has Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, 2023, Secret Invasion in spring 2023 on Disney+, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, 2023, Echo in summer 2023 on Disney+, The Marvels on July 28, 2023, Loki season 2 in summer 2023 on Disney+, Ironheart in fall 2023 on Disney+, Blade on November 3, 2023, Agatha: Coven of Chaos in winter 2023 on Disney+, Daredevil: Born Again in spring 2024 on Disney+, Captain America: New World Order on May 3, 2024, and Thunderbolts on July 26, 2024.

Seriously, Feige, save something D-23! Or perhaps he has. There are several open slots in Phase 6, but the projects that Feige revealed in Hall H were seismic. The Fantastic Four reboot will kick off Phase 6 on November 8, 2024. And Phase 6 will conclude with two Avengers movies: Avengers: The Kang Dynasty on May 2, 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars on November 7, 2025. Considering that the Russo brothers have described Secret Wars as their dream movie, don’t be too shocked if they sign on to direct those films.

The Masquerade

Dealing with all of that Marvel news took me three hours, and it almost made me late to Comic-Con’s annual cosplay Masquerade. And that would have been unforgivable, Kevin Feige. Most of the comic book news or entertainment sites don’t really cover the Masquerade because they simply don’t care about it. What they’re missing is one of the top cosplay events in the country, with some of the most impressive costumes you’ll see outside of a movie. Skill levels do vary, but many of these contestants rank among the very best.

One of the major reasons that Comic-Con’s Masquerade is so enjoyable is that longtime hosts, Phil and Kaja Foglio (the creators of the Girl Genius comic), have a very entertaining stage presence. It’s also become an audience tradition to visibly annoy Phil by shouting the numbers of the contestants in the voice of Sesame Street‘s The Count, before performing his signature laugh: “Ah ah ah!” And then adding a lot of random sounds beyond that.

Because of this year’s COVID mandates, every cosplay contestant had to wear a mask even though many of their characters don’t have masks on their costumes. Some contestants solved this annoyance by incorporating their masks into their act.

A cosplay contestant uses her mask to complete her Ursula cosplay.

For full body costumes, additional masks weren’t needed. For example, this impressive recreation of The Mandalorian‘s Kuil.

A fan dressed as Kuiil from The Mandalorian.

Another distinguishing aspect of the Masquerade is that many of the contestants will incorporate comedic skits into their presentation. This year, Shrek‘s Farquaad Squad and a genderbent version of Hocus Pocus‘ Sanderson sisters won over the audience with great musical numbers. I also greatly enjoyed this recreation of The Princess Bride‘s duel between Inigo Montoya and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Cosplay fans recreate a scene from The Princess Bride.

An amazing take on Cosmic Ghost Rider was briefly seen before he unfortunately fell off the stage and was unable to continue. Despite the audience outcry, Cosmic Ghost Rider didn’t get another opportunity. The good news is that he appears to be fine, and he accepted multiple awards at the end of the show.

I was also impressed by this take on the Hydra Stomper from the first episode of Marvel’s What If…?which premiered last year. It’s proto-Iron Man armor that was worn by Steve Rogers in the world where Peggy Carter became Captain Carter.

A fan in costume as The Hydra Stomper.

That doesn’t fully convey just how tall the costume was. And the attention to detail merits a closer look.

A close up of the Hydra Stomper cosplay.

The King of the Monsters, Godzilla, was also represented on stage by a fan who demonstrated a very convincing recreation of that classic monster suit.

A Godzilla cosplay at Comic-Con.

He even monster stomped around on stage while the iconic Godzilla music was playing.

A close up of the Godzilla cosplay.

The best in show award went to a creative blend of The Mandalorian and another property whose name escapes me. I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the creature cosplay, but the way it was performed on stage displayed a lot of talent and skill.

A creative Mandalorian cosplay at Comic-Con.

One of the cosplay judges came in her own cosplay as Marvel’s Elektra. I appreciate that.

A cosplay judge in cosplay of her own.

Unfortunately, I can’t find her name. But I’m happy to credit her if someone passes the info along.

The Final Day

Look, nothing is going to top the panels from day 3. The last day of the con is traditionally a slow news day. That’s why my agenda for day 4 is to finally work my way across the dealer’s room and see what I’ve been missing. I’ll be taking pictures, of course. And readers will be able to see what I find in my final Comic-Con dispatch.

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