What to Watch: 2021 SDCC@Home Panel Highlights

SDCC 2021 Panel Highlights

San Diego Comic-Con is virtual for yet another year, and while it looks like we’re not getting the live panels that we hoped for after last year’s event, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some amazing things to look forward to on this year’s schedule! With that in mind, let’s check out some programming highlights for SDCC@Home 2021.

While last year’s event mirrored an in-person event fairly closely (four days of programming, releasing the schedule daily), this year CCI dumped the entire schedule online at one time, presenting it in a new format even (farewell, MySched). The dates should have clued me into the fact that Thursday would be light on the panels, but it didn’t really hit me until I checked the schedule.

I have combed through the schedule and pulled out the panels that I think would be the most interesting, which include SDCC staples, some of my favorite shows, upcoming projects I’m excited about, and panels that highlight other cultures. I will say that despite the fact that there is less programming this year – and a lot of the major players like Marvel are sitting out – I am impressed with the diversity in the schedule. There are some cultures featured that you almost never see discussed in convention settings that I’m very excited to learn about.

As with last year’s event, all of these panel videos will be available for free on YouTube. Make sure you check out the full programming schedule for more great panels as well as video links (eventually)!

All times listed are Pacific (GMT-07:00).

FRIDAY JULY 23

10-11am: Dragon Ball Special Panel

Since 1984, the Dragon Ball series has always brought exciting adventures to fans around the globe. We welcome special guests Masako Nozawa (voice of Son Goku), Akio Iyoku (executive producer of the Dragon Ball series, and editor for Akira Toriyama), and Norihiro Hayashida (producer of TV animation and movies for the Dragon Ball series including Dragon Ball Super: BROLY) as they discuss the behind the scenes of the next Dragon Ball movie! There will be tons of exciting news and don’t miss a special musical performance by Hironobu Kageyama!

11am-12pm: Amazon Panel

Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV have joined forces for a multi-title panel that promises something extraordinary for every Comic-Con@Home attendee. Join showrunners Rafe Judkins (The Wheel of Time), Hideaki Anno (EVANGELION:3.0+1.01 THRICE UPON A TIME), Nico Entel (S.O.Z.), Sara Goodman (I Know What You Did Last Summer), and series stars and directors Beth Riesgraf & Noah Wyle (Leverage: Redemption), as TV host Tim Kash leads each panelist through their own standalone series conversation, filled with illuminating discussion and exclusive asset drops and announcements.

This will probably give us our very first looks at both the new Wheel of Time series and Leverage reboot, so fans of either will definitely not want to miss this panel!

11am-12pm: The Dragon Prince: Inside the Creative Process

The Saga is coming . . . now hear what goes into making the magical next phase of the Emmy Award-winning series The Dragon Prince! Co-creators Aaron Ehasz & Justin Richmond will share exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creative process including early sneak peeks, fan Q&As, plus interviews with writers, artists, and more. While there won’t be news about Season 4, come learn about the exciting areas of Xadia you’ll be able to explore in the near future! #thedragonprince

I’m a little disappointed that there won’t be any news about season 4, especially after the panel last year announced that the series was greenlit through season 7, but this is one of my favorite shows, and I love getting behind-the-scenes looks at things.

12-1pm: HBO Max & Cartoon Network Studios: Adventure Time: Distant Lands

What time is it? It’s time for more adventure in the land of Ooo and beyond with Adventure Time: Distant Lands, based on the Emmy-and Peabody Award-winning Cartoon Network series Adventure Time from creator Pendleton Ward and executive producer Adam Muto. Join moderator Bex Taylor-Klaus (Blaine) as they deep dive into the recent special, Together Again, and preview the upcoming Wizard City along with Adam Muto (executive producer), John DiMaggio (Jake), Mace Montgomery Miskel (Pep), and Toks Olagundoye (Dr. Caledonius). Uncover some secrets, hear behind-the-scenes stories and stick around until the very end for a special sneak peek at the upcoming Adventure Time: Distant Lands – Wizard City. It’s going to be James Baxter good!

12-1pm: Native Americans in Pop Culture with Taboo

Jessica Tseang (international comics book historian, AMC Secret History of Comics) is joined by special guest Taboo (multi-award-winning Black Eyed Peas, writer: Marvel’s Werewolf by Night) as they discuss in-depth Native American representation across all forms of entertainment, how the industry has changed, what is being done right, and the future for Native Americans in Hollywood. Find out how Taboo’s own love for Marvel’s Red Wolf, cultural background, and activism have led to exciting new stories for some of Marvel’s favorite characters, along with invaluable information on how to represent Native Americans in your own projects.

You do not see a lot on Native American representation at conventions, so I am very interested to check out this panel.

12-1pm: Netflix Geeked: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Netflix and Mattel Television present an exclusive sneak peek at the highly-anticipated animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Since its creation in 1982, the Masters of the Universe franchise has become a cultural phenomenon, transcending generations and igniting passion amongst fans around the world. This new action-packed series, which follows He-Man, Skeletor, Teela, and the other classic characters of the Masters of the Universe franchise, picks up where the iconic characters left off decades ago. Now, nearly 40 years later, the new series will delight long-standing fans and introduce a new generation to Eternia and the thrilling, heroic adventures of the Guardians of Grayskull. The cast and creators will discuss all of your questions about reviving this beloved franchise.

Have you seen the voice cast for this upcoming reboot? They don’t list which cast will be participating, but no matter who is there, it should be a great time. This is one of the Netflix shows that I’m most excited about, and I have been since it was announced.

12-1pm: The Incredible Impact of Dungeons & Dragons on Culture and Entertainment

Actress and game master Deborah Ann Woll (Daredevil, True Blood, Relics and Rarities), writer Andrew Cosby (Hellboy, Eureka), and Luke Gygax, adventure game author and son of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax as they take you on a tour of how ground-breaking RPG Dungeons & Dragons has had an outsized impact on culture and entertainment. Moderated by Legion M’s David Baxter.

This has the potential to be a very interesting panel! I’ll admit that I’m not very knowledgeable about D&D (I’d love to get started but am overwhelmed at the process) but I acknowledge that it has influenced a lot of pop culture so I would love to dive into that.

2-3pm: Motherland: Fort Salem – A Look Into Season Two

Creator Eliot Laurence and the cast of Motherland: Fort Salem gather to discuss Freeform’s addictive series set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for their country. The cast and creator discuss the empowering series and what’s to come in season 2. Panelists from the fan-favorite series include Eliot Laurence, Taylor Hickson, Ashley Nicole Williams, Jessica Sutton, Demetria McKinney, Amalia Holm, and Lyne Renee. TV Guide Magazine’s Damian Holbrook will moderate the conversation.

2-3pm: Video Games, Art, and Mexican Culture

Mexico is rich in cultural heritage and worthy of having stories told about its heroes, romance, villains, and betrayals. Take a trip with moderator Hugo Castro (founder and CEO of Gamacon), Guillermo Vizcaino (head of PR & Marketing at Lienzo video-game development studio), Alexis Colin (co-founder & game designer at Seashell Studio), and Kevin Kleinrock (president of Masked Republic) and find out how they are using the art of video games to make a mark on the world for Mexico’s rich history, culture, traditions, lucha libre, indigenous peoples, and landmarks.

I love learning about other cultures, and I’ll be eagerly anticipating this panel.

SATURDAY JULY 24

11am-12pm: Women Rocking Hollywood 2021: Supporting Female Filmmakers in a Post-Covid World

Now in our 6th year at the San Diego Comic-Con, the Women Rocking Hollywood panel continues to provide a platform for women navigating the challenges of working behind the camera in film and TV. The industry that has historically been out of balance and skewed toward what director Catherine Hardwicke calls “pale and male” is now grappling with how the major studios, independent productions, and streaming media will proceed in a post-pandemic world. How can we keep the momentum moving forward, and keep the importance of hiring and amplifying the work of more female filmmakers top of mind with gatekeepers that can help bring about parity? One way is to celebrate the work of women creating great content. Kate Herron (director: sex education, exec producer/director: Loki), Sian Heder (producer/writer/director: Orange is the New Black, writer/director: CODA), Christina M. Kim (exec producer/writer: Blindspot, exec producer/showrunner: Kung Fu), Shaz Bennett (writer/director: Alaska is a Drag, director: Queen Sugar), and Ebony Adams (manager of public programs: Women in Film: LA) discuss their current and upcoming projects, as well as the state of the industry. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (senior contributor: Alliance of Women Film Journalists, producer/creator: Women Rocking Hollywood).

This panel was a big hit last year, and this year’s panelists contain women behind some of our new favorite shows!

12-1pm: TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fan Favorites

The publication that loves TV—and fandoms—brings together another epic group of talent for its annual celebration of stars we can’t get enough of! Shawn Ashmore (The Rookie, The Boys), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer), Leah Lewis (Nancy Drew), Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny), Brec Bassinger (Stargirl), Jesse Lee Soffer (Chicago PD), Mädchen Amick (Riverdale), Camrus Johnson (Batwoman), Roselyn Sanchez (Fantasy Island), and Nicole Maines (Supergirl) swap stories of fan encounters, reflect on representation and share a ton of laughs in this lively chat moderated by TV Guide Magazine senior writer, Damian Holbrook.

This panel is an SDCC staple and is always a good time. Trust me, even if you’re unfamiliar with a lot of the panelists, this panel usually ends up being a highlight of the convention for me every year.

2-3pm: Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda

Editor Jesse J. Holland (C-SPAN host) and some of the all-star authors of Titan Books’ groundbreaking fiction anthology Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, a spectacular study of one of Marvel’s most-beloved characters seen through the eyes of Jesse’s hand-picked line-up of writers, all of whom share African heritage. Tune in as Jesse talks to authors Tananarive Due, Sheree Renee Thomas, and Cadwell Turnbull about their contributions to this fantastic anthology.

4-5pm: First You March—Then You Run-Celebrating Congressman John Lewis’ Legacy

All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning. Run: Book One, a new graphic memoir from Abrams ComicArts, shares an overlooked chapter in civil rights history, following the career of civil rights leader John Lewis after the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Join the Run team including co-author Andrew Aydin and co-illustrator L. Fury as they discuss creating the follow-up to the #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy March with the late Congressman John Lewis, and the importance of sharing his legacy with future generations. Also joining the panel is Congressman Lewis’s nephew, Anthony Dixon, a firefighter with the Los Angeles County Fire Department for over 30 years. Moderated by Professor Qiana Whitted.

5-6pm: Black Excellence in Film & TV

Hear from Black film and TV creatives at the top of their game as they discuss personal definitions of Black excellence, overcoming barriers in their careers, and how they are uplifting the next generation. A conversation moderated by Jazz Tangcay (Variety artisans editor) featuring Anthony Sparks (Queen Sugar showrunner and executive producer), Araxi Lindsey (Emmy Award-winning hair department head of Black-ish and personal hairstylist to Tracee Ellis Ross), Dawn Porter (Award-winning director and producer of The Me They Don’t See and John Lewis: Good Trouble), Ekwa Msangi (Indie Spirit Awards’ “Someone to Watch” and director of Farewell Amor), Erika L. Johnson (NAACP Image Award-nominated writer and producer of The Good Lord Bird), Jihan Crowther (The Underground Railroad writer), and Pierce Austin (founder of Red Rhino Trailers and personal hairstylist to Will Smith). Produced by Lumos PR.

5-6pm: Netflix Geeked: Lucifer

Speaking of the devil, Lucifer himself, Tom Ellis will join executive producers, Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich, to share inside scoop on what is to be expected from the 6th and final season of Lucifer.

6-7pm: Stargate Atlantis Cast Reunion

It has been eleven years since Stargate Atlantis left the airwaves with the valiant Pegasus expedition returning to Earth. Now we take a look back on that momentous journey with a majority of the principal cast. Join David Hewlett (Rodney McKay), Torri Higginson (Elizabeth Weir), Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan), Paul McGillion (Carson Beckett), Rainbow Sun Francks (Aiden Ford), David Nykl (Radek Zelenka), and Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey) in a discussion which may leave new fans wanting to discover the show, and old fans taking up the journey once again. Moderated by David Read of the Dial the Gate YouTube channel. For more information, please visit dialthegate.com

SUNDAY JULY 25

10-11am: Doctor Who

Showrunner Chris Chibnall, the Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, new Doctor Who cast member John Bishop and a very special surprise guest as they share exclusive content from Doctor Who. Moderated by Salon.com’s Melanie McFarland. Pre-recorded panel produced by the BBC and BBC AMERICA.

Come on, you think I’m not going to recommend this panel?

12-1pm: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Cast Conversation and Sneak Peek

So far, in season six, DC’s Legends not only saved the world with a singing competition, stopped the Cuban Missile crisis with a football game, and fought off an alien Amelia Earhart, but also recovered Sara Lance who was abducted, cloned, and turned into a human-alien hybrid by evil genius, Bishop. With #Avalance officially engaged, it’s high time for the Legends to plan a wedding and mess up the timeline for the better. Join series stars Caity Lotz, Tala Ashe, Jes Macallan, Olivia Swann, Adam Tsekhman, Shayan Sobhian, and Lisseth Chavez, with Nick Zano and Matt Ryan, along with executive producers Phil Klemmer and Keto Shimizu for an at-home conversation about how this season was created along with a sneak peek at what is to come for the rest of the season and beyond. 

12-1pm: Legacy of Aztec Culture: 500 Years After the Fall

Five hundred years ago this year (1521-2021), the Aztec Empire fell to Spanish invaders. But “Aztec” culture still exists and has a huge impact on the world we live in. Our panelists are all creating Aztec-themed projects in comics, video games, animation, and other media: Sofia Alexander, animation creator/producer (Onyx Equinox); David Bowles, writer and linguist (Clockwork Curandera); Guillermo Vizcaino, video game writer/producer (Aztech: Forgotten Gods); Henry Barajas, comics creator (Helm Greycastle); and Paul Guinan, comics creator (Aztec Empire). We’ll talk about how indigenous history and culture influence their stories, and how our understanding of Mesoamerican cultures has evolved. Moderated by writer/editor/educator Anina Bennett (Boilerplate). Join us for a live stream discussion with Q&A after the panel! Details at https://linktr.ee/bigredhair

3-4pm: The Science of Star Wars

Real-life science is everywhere in the galaxy far, far away. Astronomer Lisa Will, Ph.D., astrobiologist Angela Zoumplis, and geologist and paleontologist Jim Lehane, Ph.D. answer questions like, What do tauntauns eat? How would Death Star debris affect the worlds below? Why does the surface of Crait taste salty? Concept designer Jake Lunt Davies (Star Wars episodes 7-9, Rogue One, and Solo) shares the directions the creative team was given when designing creatures, aliens, and droids as well as some of his amazing artwork. Hear how science influences Star Wars and how the fantasy epic continues to inspire scientists. The panel is produced by Andrea Decker of The Fleet Science Center in San Diego and moderated by the hosts of the podcast Star Warsologies, Melissa Miller and James Floyd, both freelance writers for Star Wars Insider magazine.

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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