The Marvel Studios panels at San Diego Comic Con have taken on a life of their own in recent years. Ever since the release of ‘Iron Man’ kick-started Marvel’s cinematic universe in 2008, the now-infamous Hall H crowds have only grown, to say nothing of the lines that form in advance of the panels. In recent years, Marvel has used their SDCC panels to unveil everything from subtitles for future films (such as ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘) to test footage from the long-gestating ‘Ant Man.’ But could those lines now be a thing of the past? ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ director James Gunn conducted an impromptu Q&A on Facebook this weekend, during which he nonchalantly dropped this… well, “bombshell” might be a bit of an understatement:
Perhaps the best summary of the fan reaction to this would be “Wait, what?” For some, this disbelief included speculation that Gunn was mistaken or even outright lying. Gunn ultimately took to Twitter to dispel the latter suggestion:
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 7, 2015
An alarmist might be tempted to imagine that this news, if true, could mean doom and gloom for SDCC, but that is to say the least far-fetched. For one, this is San Diego Comic Con. If you were to describe the event to an outsider, you might describe it as “THE comic convention.” While a smaller con could well be threatened by the withdrawal of a major publisher (or film studio), that’s not likely to be the case here. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that in spite of its name, the focus of San Diego Comic Con has been shifting away from comics for years as the convention has evolved into more of a multimedia event. The fact is, Marvel could forego any sort of representation (comics, film or otherwise) and it’s likely that neither party would suffer too greatly.
If Marvel Studios’ SDCC presence is in fact history, the void their absence would leave in Hall H would almost certainly be filled before anyone noticed it was there. As for Marvel themselves? Disney has its own D23 event at which to make Marvel-related announcements. And more to the point, we learned in dramatic fashion with last year’s Phase 3 announcement that Marvel doesn’t need to wait for SDCC or any other venue if they have a big announcement to make.