The must-see panels at 2016 San Diego Comic-Con

The scene outside the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con 2015.
The scene outside the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con 2015.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Comic-Con is here! More than 100,000 genre entertainment enthusiasts, creators, cosplayers and more will descend on San Diego this week for the annual pop culture expo. But with the jam-packed streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, what panel or booth should be your priority? We’ve got a list of the best-of-the-best at this year’s Comic-Con.

Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures are among the Hollywood heavyweights scheduled to build hype for their upcoming releases with presentations in Hall H. The TV panels include those for “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” “Supergirl” and more, including plenty of pilot premieres.

There are also plenty of comic book panels, including those for DC’s “Rebirth,” Marvel’s “Civil War II” and spotlights on various creators such as Kate Beaton, Matt Fraction and Emily Carroll.


Here is a breakdown of must-see panels from this year’s events. Don’t forget to schedule time to hit the Exhibit Hall!


Special sneak peek pilot screenings. 6-10 p.m. (Ballroom 20)

Comic-Con’s annual preview night screenings of Warner Bros. TV pilots. This year’s slate includes the premieres for “Riverdale,” “Powerless,” “People of Earth,” “Frequency,” “Time After Time” and a new episode of “Teen Titans Go!”



DreamWorks Animation Theatrical. 10-11:30 a.m. (Hall H)

DreamWorks is kicking off Comic-Con’s Hall H slate with a special “Trolls” presentation featuring Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, director Mike Mitchell, co-director Walt Dohrn and producer Gina Shay. We think the trailer speaks for itself.

Happy Happy Joy Joy. 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (Room 6A)

If nostalgia is your favorite animation flavor, this panel brings together classic Nickelodeon creators Craig Bartlett (“Hey Arnold!”), Jhonen Vasquez (“Invader Zim”), Butch Hartman (“Fairly OddParents”, “Danny Phantom”) and Arlene Klasky (“Rugrats,” “Wild Thornberrys,” “Rocket Power”) to discuss their works past and present. This is the place to get a sneak peek at the upcoming “Hey Arnold!: The Movie.”

Moana: Art of story. 12:30-1:30 p.m. (Room 6A)


“Moana” directors Ron Clements and John Musker, whose previous collaborations include “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules,” “Treasure Planet” and “The Princess and the Frog,” and a panel of artists will offer a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s upcoming movie.

Dreamworks’ “Voltron: Legendary Defender.” 3-4 p.m. (Room 7AB)

Executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery and head writer Tim Hedrick are on hand to answer all your burning questions after watching the first season of “Voltron” on Netflix and talk about what’s to come. Plus, all attendees will receive a limited-edition “Voltron” poster. Moderated by The Times’ Jevon Phillips.

Under the Radar. 3:30-4:30 p.m. (Hall H)

A panel bringing light to the best genre fare you might not know about from the festival circuits and the Kickstarter realm, featuring Times Film Editor Marc Bernardin and a myriad of special guests.

“Marvel’s Luke Cage.” 5:45-6:45 p.m. (Ballroom 20)


The cast of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” is headed to the San Diego Convention Center to answer questions and share exclusive footage. If that alone is not a draw, there is also the fact that Marvel and Netflix surprised fans at New York Comic-Con last year with a screening of the full “Jessica Jones” pilot. Can a similar surprise be in the works?

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” 8:15-10:45 p.m. (Room 6DE)

The cast of Fox’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” event is slated to appear at this panel offering a first look at the TV “reimagination” of the cult classic film. Here’s hoping there’s some live performance/audience participation is involved.

Other highlights: “The Good Place,” “Van Helsing,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” “Mr. Robot,” Cartoon Network costume ball and screening.


Keeping It Short: Short Form Comics. 10-11 a.m. (Room 28DE)


“Hark! A Vagrant’s” Kate Beaton, “Through the Woods’” Emily Carroll and “Hot Dog Taste Test’s” Lisa Hanawalt talk short form comics.

Marvel: “Civil War II.” 10-11 a.m. (Room 6DE)

Get the details about the happenings in Marvel’s current major comic book crossover event — a sequel to 2006’s “Civil War” — plus what’s to come in its aftermath, here.

“Steven Universe.” 10:15–11:45 a.m. (Indigo Ballroom)

Special. Live. “Steven Universe.” Musical. Performance. Featuring the “Steven Universe” cast, crew, composers and, of course, creator Rebecca Sugar. Believe it.


AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead.” Noon-1 p.m. (Hall H)

If you can’t wait to find out what’s to come when “Fear the Walking Dead” returns in August, you won’t want to miss this panel featuring the cast, show runner, executive producers (including Robert Kirkman) and more.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” 1-2 p.m. (Hall H)

Same as above, but with the “Walking Dead” cast. If October seems too far away to find out who Negan killed in the cliffhanger season finale, maybe the cast and crew will let something slip that can be deconstructed repeatedly in the intervening months. Or maybe you’ll get to at least see a fun blooper reel.

Modern romance comics. 2-3 p.m. (Room 32AB)

For those looking for more in comics than superheroes fighting each other. Comics creators will discuss both new and classic romance comics as well as some of comics’ most enduring love stories.


“Game of Thrones” panel and Q&A session. 2:15-3:15 p.m. (Hall H)

Are you really going to miss the “Game of Thrones” panel that lists Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor, among the panelists? Plus with no new book to gleam hints about the show’s upcoming storyline, where else can you go for hints about what’s to come?

STARZ original series “American Gods.” 3:15-4:15 p.m. (Room 6BCF)

The cast and executive producers of the upcoming series adapted from Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name are on hand to preview and discuss the first season.

“Orphan Black”: BBC America. 4-5:30 p.m. (Room 6BCF)

With next season of “Orphan Black” announced as its last, fans wont want to miss this panel featuring Tatiana Maslany (Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Rachel, Beth and more), Jordan Gavaris (Felix), Kristian Bruun (Donnie), Kevin Hanchard (Art) and Kathryn Alexandree (Leda clone double actress), plus co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson. Clone Club assemble.


Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary. 4:30-5:30 p.m. (Room 5AB)

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this tale as old as time with “Beauty and the Beast” directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, producer Don Hahn and more as they discuss the making of Disney’s animated classic.

Other highlights: “Bob’s Burgers,” “Archer,” “South Park: Season 20,” “Rick and Morty,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Exorcist,” “Preacher,” “Scream Queens.”


Warner Bros. Pictures. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Hall H)

A panel where Warner Bros. will showcase its most anticipated upcoming titles including “Wonder Woman,” “Suicide Squad,” “The Lego Batman Movie,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”


The Kids Comics Revolution. 1-2 p.m. (Room 29AB)

Comics creators Emily Carroll, John Patrick Green, Noelle Stevenson, G. Willow Wilson and Gene Luen Yang explore what’s behind the growth in comics readership by kids and the kids’ comics industry. Moderated by The Times’ Tracy Brown.

“Star Trek.” 2-3 p.m. (Hall H)

Stars from various quadrants of the “Star Trek” universe including William Shatner, Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, and Brent Spiner join Bryan Fuller (executive producer of the new “Star Trek” TV series) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” and everything the franchise has come to represent.

Women Rocking Hollywood. 2-3 p.m. (Room 25ABC)

That Hollywood is a predominantly white, male-dominated industry has been under scrutiny since the #OscarsSoWhite backlash to the 2015 Academy Awards. This panel of Hollywood creatives is on hand to discuss how women are challenging the status quo from within the industry.


DC 75 Years of Wonder Woman: 3-4 p.m. (Room 6DE)

Celebrate 75 glorious years of Amazonian action, in a panel that looks back on the very best of Wonder Woman. And (hopefully) gives a glimpse into the future for the superhero in the gladiator sandals.

Aliens: 30th Anniversary. 3:15-4:15 p.m. (Hall H)

“Aliens” stars Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn and Paul Reiser join writer and director James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd to mark the film’s 30th anniversary.

Marvel Studios. 5:30-6:45 p.m. (Hall H)


After taking 2015 off, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is back at SDCC to discuss Marvel’s film slate along with “special guests.” While no official word is out on who exactly will show up, “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson has indicated he will be there, and James Gunn has hinted that fans might see a teaser of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.”

The CW block. 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Ballroom 20)

CW’s superhero TV shows will take to the stage to discuss their upcoming seasons (and likely tease any crossovers). Here’s the lineup: “Supergirl,” 3:30-4:15 p.m.; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” 4:15-5 p.m.; “The Flash,” 5-5:45 p.m.; “Arrow,” 5:45-6:30 p.m.

DC Rebirth: Behind the Scenes. 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Room 6DE)

DC is in the midst of “Rebirth” — or a relaunch of its entire comic book line. Get all the news here.

“Riverdale” pilot screening and Q&A. 6:30-7:25 p.m. (Room 6BCF)


The last couple of years has seen Archie and the residents of Riverdale confront the undead, undergo a full reboot and now they’re headed to a TV near you.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back. 8:30-9:30 p.m. (Room 24ABC)

MST3K’s Joel Hodgson, Felicia Day, Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount discuss the show’s successful crowdfunding campaign and upcoming season.

Other highlights: “Gotham,” “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” Women Who Kick Ass panel, “Son of Zorn,” “The Last Man on Earth,” “Time After Time.”



Sherlock. 10-11 a.m. (Hall H)

“Sherlock” co-creators, cast and producer discuss Sherlock and Watson’s latest adventures and those slated for the 2016-17 TV season.

Camp out with Lumberjanes. 10-11 a.m. (Room 25ABC)

Fan favorite comic series “Lumberjanes” creators gather to discuss the series, upcoming adventures and the current crossover with “Gotham Academy.”

Re-imagining Reality: Bringing Games Into the Real World With Ingress and Pokemon Go. 1:45-2:45 p.m. (Hall H)

Addicted to “Pokemon Go”? Here’s a chance to catch the founder of Niantic, the company behind “Pokemon Go” and Ingress, discuss the past, present and future of real world gaming. Hall H is a PokeStop, right?


Animaniacs Live! 3-4 p.m. (Room 6DE)

Sit back and relax while the “Animaniacs” cast and series songwriter perform the zany tunes from the show, live. Beware: You might laugh until you collapse.

Other highlights: YA? Why Not? The Importance of Teen and Young Adult Comics panel, last chance to hit the floor.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

Twitter: @tracycbrown



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