10 Biggest Surprises from Comic-Con 2018

In Featured, Industry Insights, Katherine Sanderson by Impact Admin

– By Katherine Sanderson –

After it was announced that neither Marvel or HBO would be promoting their upcoming films and series at Comic-Con this year (aside from Marvel’s one effort… #9), there was a question of who would pick up the slack in their absence? Warner Bros / DC has certainly made their mark, as well as Amazon and amazingly… Taco Bell!

Check out the top ten biggest surprises from Comic Con below.


As is customary, at many of the star-studded panels, studios revealed their new trailers for the first time. Here are some of the most buzzed about trailers.

    1. ‘Glass’ (Universal Pictures / M. Night Shyamalan)
    2. ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ (Warner Bros)
    3. ‘Aquaman’ (Warner Bros / DC)
    4. ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ (Warner Bros)
    5. Shazam! (Warner Bros / DC)
2. Amazon’s upcoming ‘Jack Ryan’ series hosted a location-based VR experience

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Set to premiere August 31, the new Jack Ryan series got a major promotional push with a giant VR experience at Comic Con this year. It Is a location-based VR (you can read more about location-based VR in my previous article) that took up 60,000 sq ft, an entire city block. Jonathan Nafarrete at VR Scout said of the experience “it was most extravagant attempts at an end-to-end warehouse-scale VR experience I’ve ever seen.” Complete with ziplines and other players running around, attendees got a treat with this VR promotion!

3. ‘Lego Movie 2’ will include an alter-ego character that is all of Chris Pratt’s actual famous parts

Warner Bros Animation hosted Lego Movie stars Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks to reveal more details about the upcoming sequel. In a clip only shown to attendees of the panel, they revealed a character called Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt) who is a “galaxy-defending archaeologist, cowboy, and raptor trainer” (which all sound curiously similar to Pratt’s roles in Guardians of the Galaxy, The Magnificent Seven, and Jurassic World!)

4. Johnny Depp arrived in full character for ‘Fantastic Beasts’ panel

A true method actor, Johnny Depp did not partake in the Fantastic Beasts; Crimes of Grindelwald panel, but did speak to the crowd in a one-minute speech, where he was in his complete Grindelwald costume. During the speech, where he remained completely in character, he thanked them for being there, telling them to ‘applaud themselves for being there’ and explained his intentions in going after ‘muggles’, saying that for all those who live “for freedom, for truth… the moment has come…”

It was also quite controversial that Warner Bros chose to have the Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald panel and the Aquaman panel back-to-back in the same hall, given the domestic abuse history between Depp and his ex-wife and Aquaman female lead Amber Heard.

5. Andrew Lincoln from ‘The Walking Dead’ officially announced he will be leaving show

In Season 9 of the series, we can expect to see the death of lead character Rick Grimes. Andrew Lincoln confirmed this at the panel, after the story broke a month ago that this would be his last season.  Following his confirmation, Lincoln commented that “There is a certain sense of relief this morning…But I still regret that the story broke, because I believe in story and I think it would have been… it’s gonna be a great season but it would have been greater if it was not spoiled to a degree.” The ninth season with premiere February 2019.

6. Transformers spin-off ‘Bumblebee’  will have very 80s vibe

We can look forward to an origin story set in the 80s when Transformers spin-off Bumblebee is released later this year. At the panel, along with a video presentation set to live musical stylings of Stan Bush singing “The Touch” (the song was prominently featured in the 1986 animated film The Transformers: The Movie) there were also laser lights and a smoke machine, all in true 80s style. According to panel attendees, the new footage revealed that Optimus Prime will be in his G1 version, which was released in 1985, and fits with the 1987 setting of the film. Expect the film in theaters December 21 this year.

7. Taco Bell’s ‘Demolition Man’ pop-up was a HUGE hit

If you have been following Taco Bell’s marketing campaign this year, it’s been absolutely fantastic. What began as promotions for their Nacho Fries (check out the fake trailers Web of Fries and the sequel Web of Fries II) has turned into an entire futuristic dystopia campaign. The Taco Bell pop-up dining experience at Comic-Con was no exception.

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Based on the 1993 sci-fi action film Demolition Man, where Sandra Bullock’s character tells Sylvester Stallone’s character that Taco Bell won the “franchise wars” and in their current day of 2032, all restaurants are Taco Bell. At the location, fans were treated to a sit-down dinner, with four courses, all inspired by Taco Bell’s menu. Fans were impressed by the attention to detail, in relation to the 1993 film, including the piano player’s repertoire, and even the hostesses knowing that high-fives are how to greet guests.

8. A Harry Potter panel brought together illustrators from the book series

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter in the United States, Scholastic brought together the original editor and art director, as well as three illustrators who’ve created covers for anniversary editions. They pointed out easter eggs and explaining their overall creative process. Brian Selznick, who drew black and white covers for Scholastic’s 20th anniversary editions, was asked if the films and theme parks influenced his iterations, to which he answered “Going to [Universal’s] Harry Potter world and seeing the movies, the work is so profoundly beautiful and complete, so when it was time for me to sit down, I tried to put all of that aside and go back to J.K. Rowling’s words, and what’s there in the language is there in the drawings.”

9. Marvel offered ‘grief counseling’ for distraught Marvel fans over ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Although Marvel didn’t have any panels, they were not completely absent from the convention. There was an installation offering grief counseling for fans upset by the ‘death’ of half of the Marvel universe in Avengers: Infinity War. With posters with statements of encouragement such as “We are Groot” and “You are stronger vibranium.” Inside, there were actors portraying grief counselors who led participants through group discussions about their feelings regarding the latest Marvel installment. They all received t-shirts that said “Spared by Thanos”. Their hashtag #GroupHug inspired a giant Hulk installation, in which participants could all gather in his large arms for a group hug.

10. Ryan Reynolds expressed his hope for a Deadpool ride at Disney parks.

As Disney’s acquisition of Fox seems imminent, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds is already making plans for his now iconic character in their theme park family. At his Deadpool panel, he said  “I look forward to being a ride, personally. You have to be 35 to enter…Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut.” An R-rated theme park ride? It may be only a dream, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!

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About the Author

Katherine Sanderson currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from Colorado, she graduated with a BA in English from Santa Clara University in 2014, and is an alumna of the JPCatholic MBA program (Class of 2016). Her professional aspirations are in children/family entertainment, especially animation.

For more articles by Katherine, click here.