Comic-Con, the renowned gathering of fans showcasing their favourite entertainment franchises, is facing trouble as major studios will not be attending this year’s event. Universal Pictures, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures, and Netflix have all backed out of making appearances at Comic-Con 2023 due to the ongoing labour issues in Hollywood.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is currently on strike after failing to reach an agreement with the AMPTP, and SAG-AFTRA is still in negotiations with studios. The actors’ contract is set to expire on 30 June, contributing to the uncertainty surrounding this year’s Comic-Con. Consequently, these major studios have made the decision not to plan any substantial presence at the event.
This withdrawal comes as another blow for Comic-Con, which had to cancel its main event in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent times, other film and TV-focused events have also felt the impact of industry disruptions, such as the cancellation of the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour and doubts surrounding whether or not the Emmys will proceed in September.
As a result of these absences from the big studios, attendees at this year’s Comic-Con will miss out on hearing updates about high-profile projects such as Disney’s Haunted Mansion, Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels, and Lucasfilm productions like Ahsoka. Universal Pictures’ The Exorcist and The Last Voyage of The Demeter would typically attract attention at such an event. On Sony’s side, fans will miss out on the news about Kraven The Hunter.
Netflix recently held its fan event called Tudum in Brazil, where it discussed updates on shows like Stranger Things and upcoming adaptations like The Three-Body Problem by Game of Thrones creators.
HBO will not have a significant presence at Comic-Con this year, but its sister streamer, HBO Max, may appear to discuss some unannounced animated projects.
In light of these developments, it is clear that Comic-Con faces unprecedented challenges. Fans and industry observers alike are undoubtedly disappointed by the absence of the big studios at one of the biggest fan fests worldwide. The ongoing labour unrest continues to create ripples in the entertainment world, and how long it will take for the industry to recover from this turbulence remains to be seen.