With San Diego Comic Con 2019 having come and gone, we’re still basking in the afterglow left by the year’s single biggest pop culture gathering. But even if you weren’t on hand for the festivities, there was no shortage of incredible pop culture reveals and presentations to sink one’s teeth into.
Here’s our list of this year’s top TV reveals:
HIS DARK MATERIALS
With Game of Thrones having taken its bow, His Dark Materials seems poised to fill the gap. Telling the story of Lyra (Logan’s Dafne Keen), a young girl who stumbles upon a conspiracy involving missing children, shady adults, and (very literal) spirit animals known as daemons. Along the way, Lyra will be aided by an armored polar bear and a hot air balloon pilot played by Lin Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns, Broadway’s Hamilton)
Having been adapted once before (2007’s The Golden Compass), His Dark Materials has long been considered controversial for its indictment of organized religion, depite its status as a beloved young adult series. At any rate, this BBC-HBO co-production appears to be a more faithful take on author Phillip Pullman’s original novels, and one that will (hopefully) last long enough to get us past the first book.
STAR TREK: PICARD
Of all the TV trailers released at SDCC 2019, this was the one that caught people off-guard. What was perceived as a shameless appeal to nostalgia in the wake of Star Trek: Discovery’s mixed reception immediately got a shot of credibility with numerous nod to Treks past, including the appearance of not one, but two fan-favorite characters.
Star Trek: Picard features the return of Patrick Stewart (X-Men) to his iconic role, last seen nearly two decades since the character’s last appearance in 2002’s Star Trek Nemesis. Seeing as he had previously declared himself done with the role, Stewart has gone on the record to say that the showrunners presented him with a concept that he just couldn’t say no to.
With the promise of a return to the more cerebral storytelling the franchise was once known for, and the return of more old faces, Star Trek: Picard’s trailer revel was the perfect example of why we love SDCC.
Given how divisive Zack Snyder’s (Justice League) 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore’s iconic Watchmen was, it’s perhaps for the best that this new show from showrunner Damon Lindel (Prometheus, TV’s Lost) of doesn’t even try.
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof posted on Instagram. “Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.”
Set years after the events of the original comics, the trailer gives tantalizing glimpses of classic characters while shining a light on a new side of the Watchmen universe.
Originally published in 1982, the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, from writers Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, is considered a classic, and rightfully so. The story takes place in a dystopian future where humanity’s last survivors travel across a frozen wasteland in a perpetually-moving train where social status is everything. In 2013, a film version starring Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame) and Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), was produced, garnering positive reviews. Directed by Bong Joon-ho (The Host) in his English-language debut, the film was praised for its stars’ performances and its realization of a world where civilization has fallen.
The series is being promoted as a reboot of the film’s continuity, with Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) and Jennifer Connelly (He’s Just Not That Into You, Top Gun: Maverick) as the leads. While none of the original film’s cast will appear, the series will delve deeper into the issues of social injustice and classicism in a survival situation.
THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE
Often hailed as Jim Henson’s (The Muppets) finest, most-immersive work, The Dark Crystal (1982) is a stone-cold classic, masterfully blending fantasy, darkness, and adventure with the Muppet creator’s trademark puppetry and (then-) cutting-edge effects. Thirty-seven years later, that incredible vision is poised to make its return via a brand-new Netflix prequel series directed by Louis Letterier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk).
Like the film before it, The Age of Resistance is populated entirely by characters realized through traditional and state-of-the-art puppet creations. In an interview with Empire magazine, Letterier said, “Nobody’s fooled by CG any more. We know when something is CG…we’re pushing puppeteering beyond anything anyone has done before.”
Providing their voices for Age Of Resistance is an all-star cast that includes Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Rocketman), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery), Andy Samberg (TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Ghostbusters), Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey and Natalie Dormer.
Since debuting on HBO in 2016, Westworld has proven to be compulsively (if somewhat confusing) viewing. Based on the 1973 film by Michael Crichton (author of Jurassic Park), Westworld delivered a twisted tale of identity, freedom, and humanity, while taking viewers on a mind-bending trip through a Wild West theme park for the uber rich. Season 2 built on the robot revolution established by Season 1, in all its bloody glory.
Since the start, Evan Rachel Wood has been the show’s MVP, going from meek and subservient to full-blown terminator mode, unloading years of frustration through the business end of multiple firearms. Season 3 apparently moves the story beyond the parks, as seen by the appearance of Aaron Paul’s (TV’s Breaking Bad) lunching construction worker and his robot pal. Apprently Dolores enters into a relationship with Paul’s character, while, at the same time, Maeve (Thandie Newton, M:I 2, Solo) seems to be trapped in World War II, or, knowing this show, a theme park made up to look like it.
We honestly have no idea what’s going on, but in the case of this show, that’s just the way we like it.
Defying even the most cynical fan, Witcher has overcome the negativity generated by its first character photos and poster to emerge as what looks to be a worthy adaptation of the popular book and video game series. Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) stars as the titular witcher, Geralt, an adventurer who combats otherworldly creatures and demons. Previosuly adapted into a film and subsequent television series in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s native Poland, this is the first time that a live-action Witcher universe will be presented in English. Reportedly, the series will concentrate on adapting the books, though it seems to have lifted some of its aesthetics from the blockbuster video games that followed.
At SDCC, Cavill shared how, on hearing that the show was to be produced by Netflix, he asked his agents to do everything they could to get him on the show. ““I wasn’t going to let it pass me by without giving it my best shot,” Cavill shared. “It’s an absolute honor to bring this guy to the screen. He’s very close to my heart.”
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS
Ok, we may not have a trailer to show you for this one, but trust us, this is big. While the big screen adventures of Warner Bros’ DC superheroes have been a largely-hit-and-miss affair, the interconnected universe that spun out of Arrow (2012-) has been an enjoyable romp of superhero shenanigans. Now comprising The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, the annual crossover adventure encompassing all ongoing shows has become a showcase for the best comic book action on TV.
The end of last year’s crossover teased that this year’s would be centered around Crisis on Infinite Earths, an epic DC Comics story that saw the death of Barry Allen’s Flash while eliminating alternate universes from existence. Part of the fun of the original story was the appearance of nearly every single version of our favorite heroes across dimensions, a plot point teased in live action last year when John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek) donned his costume from the 90s Flash TV series.
This year’s event looks to be pulling out all the stops, with Brandon Routh (already starring on Legends as The Atom) being announced to return as Superman, a role he hasn’t played since 2006’s Superman Returns. Also announced at SDCC was Burt Ward, though whether or not he would be portraying an aged version of his iconic 1960s Robin is unknown.
For as many reveals were made at SDCC, we can’t wait to see the surprises the showrunners chose to keep from the audience.
What did we miss? Tell us about them below!