What to Watch: SDCC@Home Edition

SDCC 2020 Panel Highlights

In an effort to keep some semblance of normalcy in a very unusual situation, Comic-Con International stuck to their yearly tradition of releasing the San Diego Comic-Con schedule two weeks in advance, even though this year’s SDCC will be entirely virtual. With the last day of programming being released earlier this afternoon, the full panel schedule is finally available. Let’s take a look at some of the SDCC 2020 panel highlights.

Making my SDCC schedule is one of my favorite preparatory tasks before the convention. The excitement is dulled slightly by the fact this year I won’t be physically attending the convention, but after perusing the schedule, I’m cautiously optimistic about what CCI is bringing to the table for this exploratory venture. My SDCC schedule usually contains a mix of small and large panels from a variety of genres and mediums, and my SDCC 2020 panel highlights are no different.

Note: All times listed are PDT (GMT-07:00). Streaming links provided if available.

WEDNESDAY

4:00 pm – License to Thrill: Graphic Novel Adaptations for Kids

Sabaa Tahir (A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel) is joined by James Otis Smith (Black Heroes of the Wild West), R. Sikoryak (Constitution Illustrated), and David Bowles (Rise of the Halfling King) in this discussion about graphic novel adaptations. Moderated by Adam Kullberg (Pop Culture Classroom) and sponsored by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.

I read mostly YA, and a lot of the graphic novels I have read recently have been targeted at younger audiences, so I’m very interested to check out this panel and see what these authors have to say.

5:00 pm – Conspiracy Theories and Propaganda Throughout Pop Culture

J. D. Lombardi (host/producer, YouTube’s Lombardi Labs and middle-school science teacher, Glendale Unified) along with Justin Montgomery (MentalXhaustion.com), Guadalupe De La O (STEM teacher/science instructional coach, Alliance Schools), and G. L. Lambert (screenwriter, G.L. Lambert Explains It All podcast) will trace conspiracies and propaganda throughout comics, shows, and movies, and how they correlate to the current climate of increased conspiracy theories. Teaching science literacy, in and out of the classroom, is more crucial now than ever in combating misinformation, especially related to our current pandemic.

As the world falls apart around us, I’ve spiraled deeper into conspiracy theories than I was ever expecting. I’m also trying to get better at recognizing when something is propaganda. For example, even though I have long been a fan of crime dramas, it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve started seriously looking at how police are portrayed on screen. I think this will be a great panel to check out, because critical thinking is a skill that you never won’t need.

THURSDAY

10:00 am – Crunchyroll Industry Panel

Hear about all the latest and greatest anime & manga coming out of Crunchyroll straight from the source, panelists Adam Sheehan (director of events, Crunchyroll) and Lauren Stevens (events manager, Crunchyroll). Special prize giveaway and virtual goodies available during the panel. For everything anime, go to crunchyroll.com.

Always a must-see for me at any convention that I go to, the Crunchyroll Industry Panel is the best way to stay up-to-date on new and returning titles.

10:00 am – Star Trek Universe Panel

Star Trek broke barriers when it first premiered more than 50 years ago, inspiring people of all walks of life by championing cultural diversity, scientific advancement, and the exploration of new frontiers. Today, this legacy carries on through the Star Trek series on CBS All Access, where Starfleet and new characters alike take on exciting missions and explore uncharted areas of the universe while keeping true to the ideals of “Star Trek” that society needs now more than ever. Join us as we virtually bring together the casts and producers from Star Trek: Discovery, new animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard.

This one looks like it will be a great one. Most of the cast members are expected to appear, including some old school favorites as guest stars. The cast of Discovery will even do a table read during the panel.

12:00 pm – Amazon Prime Video: Truth Seekers

A new original supernatural horror comedy by Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz), James Serafinowicz (Sick Note), and Nat Saunders (Sick Note). Join as they discuss the making of the hilarious eight-episode series about a team of part-time paranormal investigators who team up to uncover and film ghost sightings across the UK, sharing their adventures on an online channel for all to see. Discussion and Q&A moderated by Empire magazine’s Chris Hewitt.

I’m not a huge fan of horror, but I do love whenever Simon Pegg and Nick Frost get together, and I really like the sound of this show. For me, a good panel can make or break my interest in something, but it’s hard to see how this one could go wrong.

1:00 pm – His Dark Materials Virtual Panel and Q&A Session

Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, HBO/BBC’s His Dark Materials concluded its debut season in December. Join executive producers Jane Tranter and Jack Thorne, as well as cast members Dafne Keen (Lyra), Ruth Wilson (Mrs. Coulter), Ariyon Bakare (Lord Boreal), Amir Wilson (Will Parry), Andrew Scott (John Parry), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Lee Scoresby) in a virtual panel discussion about the hit drama series which will be moderated by award-winning journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt.

I’m a huge fan of the His Dark Materials series, both the books and the new HBO/BBC adaptation, and the panel at last year’s SDCC was a highlight of the convention for me. I’m super excited for season 2, and I can’t wait to hear from the cast members who weren’t at last year’s panel (and hopefully get some news about next season)!

4:00 pm – Manga Publishing Industry Roundtable

While COVID-19 negatively impacted most book and comics publishers, one of the few bright spots in book sales in Spring 2020 was . . . manga!? What are the factors contributing to manga’s resiliency, and what are its prospects for the future? Get a taste of what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s next from the perspective of top publishing pros, including Ben Applegate (director – publisher services, Penguin Random House), Kevin Hamric (vice president – marketing sales, VIZ Media), Mark de Vera (sales and marketing director, Yen Press), Masaaki Shimizu (general manager and publisher, book publishing division, Square Enix), Ed Chavez (publisher, Denpa Books), Tomo Tran (marketing director, Kodansha USA / Vertical), Erik Ko (chief of operations, Udon Entertainment), Dallas Middaugh (executive editor and co-founder, Mangamo), and Matt Alt (translator and author, Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World). Moderated by Deb Aoki (Publishers Weekly, Anime News Network).

I’m always on the lookout for new titles to get into! There are so many great manga titles available, and panels like these are how I discover new series to read.

FRIDAY

10:00 am – “Crazy” Talk: Mental Health, Pop Culture, and the Pandemic

Can pop culture help promote mental wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic, or is that just “crazy” talk? Heather Antos (senior editor, Valiant and Image), Bryan Edward Hill (DC Comics’ Batman and The Outsiders, Netflix/DC Universe’s Titans), Joseph Illidge (executive editor, Heavy Metal, Humanoids’ MPLS Sound), and Patrick Tatopoulos (production designer, Batman v Superman, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) join forensic psychiatrists Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., and Praveen Kambam, M.D., (Broadcast Thought, freelance contributors to The New York Times, Wired, The Hollywood Reporter) to discuss how pop culture fandom communities can help stave off social isolation and despair during this unprecedented public health crisis. The “‘Crazy’ Talk” crew will also discuss the state of mental health media representation and how a mental health/pop culture partnership can be a “win-win” for both the entertainment industry and people with mental illnesses. Moderated by attorney Jeff Trexler (The Comics Journal, The Beat).

This is something I am very interested in. Because of reasons.

10:00 am – Charlize Theron: Evolution of a Badass – An Action Hero Career Retrospective

Actress and producer Charlize Theron reflects on portraying over two decades of action heroes, from Æon Flux to The Old Guard’s Andromache, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Furiosa to Atomic Blonde’s Lorraine Broughton. In a lengthy retrospective Q&A moderated by IGN’s Terri Schwartz, Theron discusses the evolution of the modern female action hero, the roles that inspired her and what drives her to constantly push her limits with fight training.

We at The Geekiary are big fans of Charlize; she has starred in a lot of movies that we love and played some pretty iconic characters. These spotlight panels can be hit or miss depending on the celebrity, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has to say about things.

1:00 pm – Water, Earth, Fire, Air: Continuing the Avatar Legacy

Dark Horse Comics, Abrams Books, and Nickelodeon are thrilled to treat fans to a panel worthy of the Avatar! Join Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra creators and writers, Michael DiMartino, Faith Erin Hicks, F.C. Yee, and Gene Luen Yang for a further exploration of the beloved world as it has grown and changed since the animated series has ended.

This panel is an annual staple, and I’m really excited to hear what they have to say after the series finally made its way to Netflix.

3:00 pm – Zoom into Xadia: The Dragon Prince

The creators and voice actors of The Dragon Prince celebrate the saga so far, perform some behind-the-scenes skits, give a sneak peek of upcoming books, and answer fans’ burning questions submitted via social media. Participants include Aaron Ehasz (co-creator), Justin Richmond (co-creator), Paula Burrows (Rayla), Jack De Sena (Callum), Sasha Rojen (Ezran), Erik Todd Dellums (Aaravos), Racquel Belmonte (Claudia), Jesse Inocalla (Soren), and Jason Simpson (Viren).

I am a huge fan of The Dragon Prince, and due to extenuating circumstances, I’ve never been able to make it to a panel, so this is one I’m determined not to miss! I’m eager to hear news about the series as well as getting to hear from cast members who haven’t been on the panel before.

6:00 pm – TV Guide Magazine Fan Favorites

The magazine entirely devoted to TV, hosts its 11th annual gathering of stars we adore from across the television galaxy to trade stories of fan encounters, backstage tales and the importance of representation for fans of every walk of life. This year’s don’t-miss lineup, moderated by TVGM senior writer Damian Holbrook, includes Hale Appleman (The Magicians), Lindsey Morgan and Richard Harmon (The 100), Robbie Amell (Upload), Kennedy McMann (Nancy Drew), Alex Newell (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Picard), Harvey Guillen (What We Do in the Shadows), Chris Chalk (Perry Mason), and Ashleigh Murray (Riverdale, Katy Keene).

This panel is yet another yearly staple, and I have never not enjoyed it. They always assemble a great group of celebrities, and it’s always a riot.

SATURDAY

12:00 pm – Constantine: 15th Anniversary Reunion

Keanu Reeves, director Francis Lawrence, and producer Akiva Goldsman reunite to reflect on the making of the 2005 DC Comics adaptation. Moderated by Collider’s editor-in-chief Steven Weintraub.

I’ve never actually seen the movie, but…Keanu Reeves.

1:00 pm – Blast Off with Disney+’s “The Right Stuff”

From Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, The Right Stuff is the first scripted Disney+ original series from National Geographic. The series takes a clear-eyed look at the early days of the US space program. The series follows seven of the military’s best pilots become astronauts for the newly-formed NASA at the height of the Cold War. Competing to be the first in space, these ordinary men achieve the extraordinary, inspiring America to turn towards a new horizon of ambition and hope. In this 45-minute panel moderated by former NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, you will hear from the cast and crew about making this compelling and cinematically extraordinary series, PLUS an exclusive first look will be revealed!

I’m a huge space nerd and have always been particularly interested in the early days of the space program. I didn’t even know that this was going to be a thing, but now that I do, it needs to exist right this second.

5:00 pm – SYFY: Wynonna Earp

After a long wait, a lot of Earping, and a ton of Times Square billboards, Wynonna Earp is finally returning to SYFY. Join showrunner Emily Andras alongside cast members Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Katherine Barrell, and Varun Saranga as they talk about the highly anticipated 4th season, show off their best impressions, challenge each other with a round of trivia, and share a sneak peek of the season 4 premiere episode! Fan-at-home with our exclusive Wynonna Earp bingo cards and play along throughout the panel.

SYFY’s Wynonna Earp Season 4 premiere is Sunday, July 26th at 10/9c. Be sure to check out new episodes every Sunday at 10/9c on SYFY.

Wynonna Earp is finally back, and we at The Geekiary couldn’t be happier. With season 4 premiering the Sunday of the convention, there are sure to be lots of teases at this long-awaited panel.

6:00 pm – Farscape… To Be Continued

Farscape is now on Amazon Prime and there has been talk of its return. Join Farscape cast members in celebration of this epic sci-fi series! Panelists include Gigi Edgley (Chiana, Farscape), Ricky Manning (writer, Farscape), Rebecca Riggs (Commandant Grayza, Farscape), David Franklin (Lieutenant Braca, Farscape), Lani Tupu (Captain Crais, Farscape), and Paul Goddard (Stark, Farscape). Moderated by Kirk Thatcher (Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge).

All the yes about this panel. I love Farscape and while I’ve been rolling my eyes at the number of reboots recently, this is a series that I always thought had more to say and do.

SUNDAY

10:00 am – First TMNT Film 30th Anniversary

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie presents a bit of history of the making of this iconic film with panel guests producer Kim Dawson, writer and ex-offico producer Bobby Herbeck, and moderated by The Old Turtle Den’s creator Chris Castaneda.

My friends and I were literally just talking about this movie the other day. The first Turtles film was such a huge part of my childhood, and I’m excited for the trip down memory lane.

10:00 am – Motherland: Fort Salem: A World of Magic, Action, and Intrigue

Creator Eliot Laurence and the cast of Motherland: Fort Salem gather to discuss the epic first season and a look forward to season two, which expands the rich world we’ve come to know. Panelists from the fan-favorite series include Taylor Hickson, Ashley Nicole Williams, Jessica Sutton, Demetria McKinney, Amalia Holm, and Lyne Renee. The conversation will be moderated by TVGuide.com’s Lindsay MacDonald.

We love Motherland: Fort Salem here at The Geekiary and are very excited about this panel.

3:00 pm – The Art of Film and TV Posters

ASIFA-Hollywood and famed illustrators who have worked on entertainment art for the last 50 years will discuss their craft and what inspired them to pick up the baton and follow in the footsteps of their mentors. Join moderator Paul Shipper (Avengers: Infinity War), and panelists Steve Chorney (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Robert Rodriguez (The Jewel of the Nile), James Goodridge (Deadpool), Greg Hildebrandt (Star Wars), William Stout (Wizards, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Akiko Stehrenberger (Kiss of the Damned), Rory Kurtz (Baby Driver), and Drew Struzan (Back to the Future).

Once upon a time, I was the personal assistant to a man who sold movie posters online, and I’ve been a lot of great artwork because of it, so when I saw this panel, I got very excited. I can’t wait to hear about everything that goes into crafting those iconic images.

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My SDCC 2020 panel highlights are just a small sampling of the great panels (this isn’t even everything on my own list), so I recommend checking out the full schedule for yourself.

Also, Admin Angel has put together a list of the LGBTQ+ panels, which is why you didn’t see any on this list.

I am actually very impressed with the quality and variety of the panels that CCI has put together for this first-ever virtual SDCC. There are some big names on here, and I suspect that since most of the celebrities were able to appear remotely, we’ll be seeing a higher turnout than we’re used to. (Plus, it’s hard to have scheduling conflicts when no one is filming!) I’m obviously disappointed to not be there in person, but under the circumstances, this is a pretty good trade-off. 

What are your SDCC 2020 panel highlights?

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.


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About the author

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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