Skip to main content

Dispatches from day 2 of San Diego Comic-Con 2022

If you’re in town for San Diego Comic-Con, one of the biggest buzzwords is “activation.” That’s studio-speak for the attractions outside of Comic-Con that I mentioned yesterday in my last dispatch. But first, some context: The San Diego Convention Center is essentially across the street from both Petco Park and San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. And there’s so much happening inside the convention center that some fans miss the action outside.

A view from San Diego's Gaslamp District.

Beautiful, isn’t it? As someone who used to live in San Diego, I can say that it wasn’t always that nice. But even before the ballpark was there, work was underway to revitalize the Gaslamp. And for over a decade, studios have used the surrounding Gaslamp neighborhood to expand the reach of Comic-Con itself. With the activations, fans don’t need a badge to have a Comic-Con experience.

Blast from the past

The very first activation I ever went to at Comic-Con was the recreation of Flynn’s Arcade for Disney’s Tron: Legacy. The original Tron happens to be a personal favorite of mine, but I would have gone for the retro arcade alone. It was a set up like a real arcade with both classic games and working versions of the Tron-inspired video games from the movie itself. But it was also so much more.

After about 10 minutes to play the games, Journey’s Separate Ways was played as the walls shifted to reveal a passage to Flynn’s laboratory, the game grid, the End of Line Club, and other locations from the movie. They were such convincing recreations from the film that they gave me a weird sense of déjà vu when I finally saw Tron: Legacy. It felt like I had actually been to those places. Now that’s the power of a successful activation.

SDCC 2010 Flynn's Arcade - Disney's TRON Legacy Offsite Event

The convention outside the convention

This year’s big activation is the Dungeons & Dragons tavern, which I have not been able to get into yet. I’m working on it. In the meantime, here are some of the most memorable sights awaiting fans in the Gaslamp Quarter.

A sandcastle inspired by The Sandman.

This is a real sandcastle that was created to promote The Sandman, an Audible original series from Amazon. It’s not exactly the same as Netflix’s adaptation of Sandman, although both are based on the same DC comic book series written by Neil Gaiman. What I can’t demonstrate for you here is that at certain intervals, audio from the Audible adaptation is played to further set the mood.

House of the Dragon activation from Comic-Con.

That is a recreation of one of the key locations from HBO’s House of the Dragon. I haven’t been inside yet, so I am not sure what to expect from that one. But note the dragon claw marks on the side of the wall.

Run! It's Mecha Cookie Monster!

Behold the glory of Mecha Cookie Monster! He is your new god.

Not pictured, but nearby, is a Bob’s Burger‘s activation which actually gives away free burgers during the day. The lines are probably long for that one. And beyond the ballpark, Nintendo has its own Switch-themed activation for younger fans.

One ring to rule them all…

Let’s move on to some of the biggest news and trailers for the day. Amazon Prime Video’s latest trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power captured more of the grandeur of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth than previous glances at the series. Hopefully, the show itself will live up to all of this when it premieres on September 2.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - SDCC Trailer

Still walking, still dead

The Walking Dead may not be the cultural phenomenon it once was, but it still has plenty of fans at Comic-Con. And they were among the first to see the trailer for the final episodes of the series. This trailer sets up the show’s remaining survivors for what promises to be a bloody showdown with the Commonwealth. But perhaps most alarmingly, it suggests that there are walkers who can now perform more human actions like opening doors. That’s terrifying.

TWD SDCC Trailer: Finish the Fight | Returns October 2nd

AMC won’t resume airing The Walking Dead until October 2. In the meantime, fans will get the chance to watch a new six-episode anthology series, Tales of the Walking Dead, which will premiere on August 16. This series will bring in Terry Crews, Parker Posey, Olivia Munn, Danny Ramirez, Jillian Bell, Poppy Liu, Jessie T. Usher, Daniella Pineda, and Anthony Edwards, as well as Samantha Morton reprising her role as Alpha.

TWD SDCC Trailer: Tales of the Walking Dead | New Series Premieres August 14

Remember that Rick Grimes trilogy of Walking Dead theatrical films that we were supposed to get when Andrew Lincoln left the show? Well, that’s not happening anymore. However, Lincoln and his former co-star, Danai Gurira, dropped by the Walking Dead panel to announce a six-episode Rick and Michonne miniseries that will reunite the former lovers and conclude their storyline. Both Lincoln and Gurira will executive produce the miniseries.

The Marvel of animation

On Saturday, all eyes will be on Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation about the future of the MCU’s live-action shows and movies. But on Friday, Ballroom 20 was the place to be for a look at Marvel Studios’ animation slate.

By far the most anticipated animated series on the horizon is X-Men ’97, the animated revival of X-Men: The Animated Series. Unfortunately, the animation for that show is not very far along and we’ll have to wait until fall 2023 to see it on Disney+. Most of the surviving vocal cast are reprising their roles, and the new status quo has Magneto leading the X-Men. A second season is also in the works.

There was also some bad news about Spidey’s new animated show: Spider-Man: Freshman Year. Although Marvel promised it would arrive in 2023 when it was announced last year, the new release window is 2024. That seems like a long time. The show was initially described as the missing year of Spider-Man in the MCU before he appeared in Captain America: Civil War. But the early look at the character designs, including Doctor Strange, Doctor Octopus, and Daredevil, suggest that it is now separate.

It was also announced that the MCU’s Daredevil, Charlie Cox, will reprise his role on the show. And while Freshman Year is two years away, Marvel Studios is already committing to a second season called Spider-Man: Sophomore Year.

Marvel’s What If…? is skipping 2022, but the second season will arrive early next year and a third season was confirmed at the con. The Marvel Zombies animated series was revealed to be TV-MA, a first for Marvel Animation. That show doesn’t have a release window yet.

The only full trailer from the convention that was released online was for I Am Groot, a series of five-animated shorts starring the Guardians of the Galaxy’s cutest member. Bradly Cooper will reprise his role as Rocket in at least one of the shorts when the show premieres on August 10.

I Am Groot | Official Trailer | Disney+

Get ready for day 3

Saturday is the going to be the biggest one of the con. This is the day when Marvel and DC are running their big Hall H panels. If there are announcements to be made, this is where they will come.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
Lord of the Rings series drops stunning trailer at Comic-Con
Galadriel putting a helmet on top of a pile in a scene from Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power.

Ever since Amazon bought the television rights to The Lord of the Rings in 2017, the upcoming series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been the equivalent of a sleeping giant. The massive show is coming soon, but many details around the plot and footage have been scarce, to say the least. That was the case until now, as Prime Video just released a stunning trailer at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con.

The three-minute trailer is the longest look at the series to date as Amazon had only released teaser trailers up until this point. The footage includes jaw-dropping visuals of Middle-earth to go along with familiar creatures from the film series such as elves, orcs, and dwarves. Based on the works of  J. R. R. Tolkien, The Rings of Power is set thousands of years before the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The series covers significant events in Middle-earth during the Second Age, which includes the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron and the forging of the Rings of Power.

Read more
Dispatches from day 1 of San Diego Comic-Con 2022
Chris Pine and Regé-Jean Page in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

After a three-year hiatus, San Diego Comic-Con has returned to the San Diego Convention center. And so far, the hottest item isn't an exclusive action figure or statue. It's the wristband that indicates whether fans have been vaccinated or tested for COVID-19. Even pre-pandemic, the large Comic-Con crowds made it difficult to get into the convention center. But this year, the longest lines are for the COVID wristbands, and it created havoc as fans tried to make their way inside.

There's no way to talk about this year's Comic-Con without addressing COVID. It's the reason why everyone has to wear a mask this year, even if you aren't cosplaying. The pandemic kept Comic-Con dormant in 2020 and 2021, and there are signs that not everyone is ready for the show to go back to what it used to be.

Read more
Disney+ to add R-rated Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan on July 22
Deadpool crosses his arms as he's about to jump out of the back of an airplane.

Disney+ announced Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan will all stream on Disney+ in the U.S. starting July 22. This marks another shift for the streaming service as it slowly allows more R-rated and TV-MA content. Because of the violence and graphic nature, Disney reminds subscribers to revisit their parental control settings to curate their viewing experience.

The move comes at the same time as San Diego Comic-Con, where Marvel Studios will return for the first time in three years. Marvel President Kevin Feige will host a mega-panel in Hall H at 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 23. In years past, Marvel has used this panel to announce and showcase important projects like The Avengers. Many insiders speculate that Feige will give updates and share footage on upcoming MCU projects such as She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Blade. 

Read more