For years, the Marvel Studios Hall H panel has been the hottest ticket in town for attendees at the San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel has used the panel to make huge announcements in regards to casting and development of their projects for film and television, and to debut completed footage from eagerly anticipated features. Once the studio treated their audience at the 2007 Comic-Con the world premiere of the first Iron Man trailer, there was no question who was going to rule the convention for years to come. The incredible buzz that emerged from every Marvel Hall H panel helped to increase awareness and anticipation for their upcoming blockbusters and dominate social media and popular culture at large.
But that’s all about to change. When Comic-Con commences with its annual takeover of San Diego next month, Marvel Studios won’t be present.
According to Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr., the studio has decided against holding a panel in Hall H this year, possibly setting the stage for rival DC Comics to seize the opportunity to win Comic-Con with an event spotlighting their own upcoming release slate through home studio Warner Bros. It’s highly likely DC could present new footage from next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and share some surprising news involving the future of their cinematic universe.
The writing was on the wall for the end of Marvel’s love affair with Comic-Con last year when their Hall H panel failed to generate the usual level of Internet-breaking excitement, in spite of premiering the first footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The studio had reportedly hoped to announce the casting of Joaquin Phoenix in the title role for Doctor Strange during the panel, but negotiations were still ongoing at the time and ultimately broke down. Benedict Cumberbatch ultimately snagged the coveted part.
Late last October, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hosted a major event at Los Angeles’ El Capitan Theater to unveil the Phase Three release slate, which includes Thor, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the aforementioned Doctor Strange, and the epic two-part Avengers: Infinity War. The event was greeted with an overwhelmingly positive reception and hinted at the beginning of a revised strategy for how Marvel released their most important official announcements.
The Disney-owned Marvel will be a part of this year’s D23 Expo, which will be held from August 14 through August 16, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.