This final Comic-Con Notepad of 2017 covers the weekend at the San Diego Convention Center, featuring huge panel of hot movies, old TV favorites, and lots more. Included in the festivities were Marvel and presentations from Warner Bros., and TV show panels ranging from old standbys The Simpsons and Family Guy to the new Black Lightning action drama.
BLACK IS IN
As reported by Comic Book Resources, Hall H was packed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe panel, with focused on three upcoming releases: Avengers: Infinity War (discussed earlier at Disney’s D23 expo in Anaheim); Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther. Moderating the panel was Chris Hardwick of Nerdist fame and host of NBC’s The Wall, with an sneak peek at Ant-Man and The Wasp. Next up was Ragnarok, due out this fall. Chris Hemsowrth (Thor) pointed out the movie was different for the entire Cinematic Universe – not just for Thor. Director Taika Waititi noted “As long as the actors know their lines and are saying them convincingly, it doesn’t matter what the budget is, and jokingly threw in “and most of these people did not learn their lines.”
Money well spent, I suppose.
New footage was shown at the gathering, followed by the trailer.
The next presentation was for Black Panther, featuring Chadwick Boseman in the title role and also starring Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, and Lupita Nyong’o. The movie follows the events after Captain America: Civil War: “[Black Panther is] dealing with the death of his father and becoming a ruler (in Wakanda). said Chadwick Boseman, who plays the title character in the film. He’s still mourning his father’s death. It’s a transition period that gets interrupted, and he’s struggling with the type of king he wants to be.”
Boseman added: “I grew up as young black kid in the Bay Area and grew up with comic books and it didn’t matter what color the [superheroes] were; I read X-Men, I read Spider-Man. One day I walked into the comic-book shop and was looking for comic-book character like me, and the first one I saw was Black Panther.”
The actors in the film described their characters to the excited crowd., who then saw new footage and got even more excited. The movie, originally scheduled to be released on November 3, is now set for next February 18. To see the trailer (released before Comic-Con), click here.
Meanwhile, there was another “Black” superhero in the halls of the San Diego Convention Center – just call him “Lightning”.
Down the way in Ballroom 20, The CW held panels for its superhero shows – Flash, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – and one for the highly anticipated Black Lightning, an adaptation of DC Comics’ first black superhero, which published its first issue in 1977. The sizzle reel created by DC welcomed Lightning to The CW’s Arrowverse of fun. Moderated by NPR’s Eric Deggans, the panel touched upon details of the series scheduled to debut in midseason.
Executive producer Sam Akli, whom with wife Mara Brock Akli of Girlfriends fame, touched upon Chicago’s gun violence epidemic as a lack of superheroes to those less fortunate. “Why Black Lightning? Because I think it’s time. I think Jefferson Pierce is the [epitome] of what black men are, Mr. Akli said. He loves his wife. He loves his children. He loves his community. This family is like the Obamas of the superhero world… When we look on the news and we see there are 125 shootings in Chicago… there are no superheroes to go save them… that’s why we need Black Lightning.” (Given yours truly lives here, I can easily tell you there has been far more than 125 shootings in Chicago.)
He added: “The biggest challenge was accepting that this black man was running around in a suit. I mean, that’s the easiest way to get shot by the police. For us, we have been so character-based and we will continue to be character-based. I think it’s about balancing out when this man uses his powers, how he used his powers and why… we really want people to get to know this family. Their powers, like their race, are part of who they are… Yes, there is definitely a problem with police brutality, and we will get into that.”
Christine Adams, who is an actress on the show, pointed out: “Our stories and what we’re going to talk about and what we’re going to explore… they’re beyond color… it’s about universal things that we’re all going to relate.”
In other news, longtime primetime staple Family Guy lost two characters this season with the deaths of Adam West (who voiced an animated version of himself as Quahog’s mayor) and Carrie Fisher, who voiced Angela, Peter’s boss. At Family Guy’s Comic-Con panel, the voice cast paid tribute to both, offering up their memories on working with them.
“[Adam West] had boundless energy and instantly put everyone in a good mood… The man gave 150 percent right up to the end, often times more than people half his age.”, said series creator Seth MacFarlane, who returned to Comic-Con for the first time in years (he’s pushing a new show he created and started in (The Orville) which premieres next month.) Alex Borstein praised both, noting Fisher’s Postcards From The Edge changed her life.
West, best known of course for his role in the 1960’s Batman TV series, is in five episodes this season, recorded before his death. There is no official word on how they’ll write Fisher’s character out of the show, but to fill the void, Family Guy has enlisted Bryan Cranston and Niecy Nash.
Also on tap on the guest star front is Sir Ian McKellan with the entire episode featuring Stewie in a therapist’s office, mirroring a similar plot in a 1976 Maude episode.
Still going strong after being canceled twice, Family Guy will air its 300th episode this upcoming season.
Last but not least, cheers to SyFy for producing a special from Comic-Con…that didn’t suck. The network – which brought a whopping fifteen shows to Comic-Con this year, aired a three-night Live From Comic-Con wrap-up program and was greatly improved from last year’s Will Arnett-hosted crapfest filled with endless Sharknado plugs and NBCUniversal product placement and promotion.
Instead, viewers got Zachary Levi, who did a better job interviewing guests, including cast members from Arrow – a CW show, the stars of Fox’s new comedy Ghosted, and a reunion of the most recent Battlestar Galactica series. A roundtable featuring panelists dissecting the events at Comic-Con and pop-culture issues at the start of the show was a nice touch. The three nightly shows also included several fun segments, including one featuring Futurama’s John DiMaggio.
And best of all – no plugs for SyFy’s Sharknado: Global Swarming, the fifth movie in the very tired franchise. The movie aired August 6.
If SyFy decides to do a Live From Comic-Con program next year, they should bring back Levi. He does a better hosting a talk show than Jimmy Fallon does.
Next up: The Inhumans day at Comic-Con and TCA. Guess what gathering where it didn’t go well.