The annual San Diego Comic-Con has returned, and with it a look at some of the biggest media franchises and fan favorites. Though the event will be staged virtually yet again to keep everyone safe, the second year of a YouTube rollout finds the convention still packed with panels throughout its condensed three-day period.
Here are some of the biggest and interesting panels you may want to keep an eye on, starting today Friday, July 23, and running through Sunday, July 25. Keep an eye on all of Polygon’s coverage at our SDCC 2021 hub.
Dragon Ball Z
The anime so many of us grew up with is taking a break from fighting to deliver a panel hyping up the next Dragon Ball Super spinoff movie. Joining the panel will be Goku’s voice actor Masako Nozawa, along with the anime’s executive producer Akio Iyoku and producer Norihiro Hayashida.
Why watch? The last Dragon Ball film was 2018’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which became the highest-grossing film of the franchise, in addition to one of the highest grossing anime films ever. With “tons of exciting news” promised, you can probably expect a trailer, since the film hits Japan in 2022. A musical performance by DBZ musician Hironobu Kageyama likely doesn’t hurt, either.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 10 a.m. PT
Masters of the Universe: Revelation
He-Man’s been out of the spotlight for years, but now that his cousin Adora is resting after five seasons of her own reboot, it’s his time to shine. Netflix and Mattel are holding a panel to hype up Masters of the Universe: Revelation, their limited sequel series to the classic 1980s cartoon.
Why watch? With the cast and crew holding the panel and answering questions, there’s sure to be some fond reminiscing of the series, which drops its first five episodes the same day as the panel. Maybe they’ll even drop some clues about what’s to come in the second half of the series.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 12 p.m PT
Tuca & Bertie
Tuca & Bertie’s sudden save from cancelation by Adult Swim has been more than welcome as the show seamlessly transitioned to network TV. There hasn’t been much time to properly celebrate its reprieve from death, which is primarily what this panel is for. Creator Lisa Hanawalt and voice actor Nicole Byer will call on the cast to reminisce on the funniest parts of the series, and dig into the sci-fi behind the bird people in the show’s cartoon universe.
Why watch? The panel isn’t poised to be anything more than a victory lap, sure, but a well deserved one: Tuca & Bertie’s debut season was strong, and the equally successful season 2 is slightly overlooked on normal TV. If the cast wants to record themselves talking about the gonzo nonsense they’ve experienced on the show, may as well let them.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 11 a.m. PT
The Dragon Prince
The Dragon Prince, Netflix’s CG anime from writers of Avatar: The Last Airbender, has gone quiet since the third season dropped in 2019. Co-creators Justin Richmond and Aaron Ehasz, the latter of whom was accused in 2019 of making Wonderstorm an abusive environment, will host a panel digging into the show’s creative process. Wonderstorm staff will be interviewed by the pair, and small teases of what’s to come will be shown. Though maybe don’t come into it expecting a trailer or release date.
Why watch? Just because there may not be a clip or trailer for season four doesn’t mean there won’t be something worth seeing. (There’s also a video game for the show in development, after all.) For fans, there’s sure to be something to fixate on while waiting for actual footage of the upcoming season. And those who want to get into the industry may learn something from the answers provided by the Wonderstorm staff.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 11 a.m. PT
Usagi Yojimbo is a beloved comic about a rabbit samurai inspired by famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Stan Sakai’s Eisner-award winning comic is finally being adapted in the form of the Netflix series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles. Set in the far future, the series will focus on Usagi’s teenage descendant Yuichi and be animated by 88 Studios, the studio behind Trollhunters. Sakai, plus the cast and artists, will offer an early look at the CG series.
Why watch? It’s a rabbit samurai in the future, what more do you need? Talking animals that love fighting are having a resurgence this year thanks to Biomutant and Ratchet & Clank, and this may just be another fine addition to the collection.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 12 p.m. PT
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms
Last year saw Warner Bros. Animation release Mortal Kombat Legends, an animated film focused on the hellish yellow ninja Scorpion adapted from the original game. A sequel was teased, and now Battle of the Realms is releasing in August. NetherRealm’s Ed Boon joins a panel featuring Battle screenwriter Jeremy Adams and voice actors Joel McHale (Johnny Cage), Jordan Rodrigues (Liu Kang), and Dave B. Adams.
Why watch? Scorpion’s Revenge was unexpectedly awesome and bloody in all the right ways, and Battle of the Realms looks to be more of that. If you’re someone who thought the reboot film from earlier this year wasn’t Mortal Kombat enough, this may be more your speed.
Streaming on on Saturday, July 24 at 4 p.m. PT
Gen:LOCK season 2
Gen:LOCK, the 2019 cartoon from Rooster Teeth, saw Michael B. Jordan playing a mostly dead pilot named Julian Chase who could upload his brain into a giant mech. It didn’t take long for a second season to be greenlit, though with the caveat that it’s now an HBO Max original. (It’ll later go to RT’s website after three months on Max.) Jordan and co-star Dakota Fanning, along with lead writer Daniel Dominguez, are going to talk up the new season and show a first look at the premiere episode.
Why watch? You may not have seen it when it was briefly on Toonami, but gen:LOCK had a solid first season. Equal parts Gundam and Power Rangers (Chase’s fellow pilots have their own color-coded mechs), it had fun mecha action and also some neat character work done. HBO’s animated efforts have all been solid thus far, and this could be another entry in their lineup.
Streaming on on Saturday, July 24 at 6 p.m. PT
Adventure Time: Distant Lands
Adventure Time may have ended in 2018, but the series has been steadily chugging along thanks to the four-part Distant Lands miniseries. The next special, Wizard City, will be previewed at the panel, which features series producer Adam Muto along with voice actors from the special, including John DiMaggio (Jake).
Why watch?: “Wizard City” is the final installment of Distant Lands, and its story has been kept under wraps while the prior specials were released. Is it the end of Adventure Time altogether? Who knows, but if it is, the panel for Wizard City will be worth seeing how it all wraps up.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 at 12 p.m. PT
Rick and Morty
With season 5 of Rick and Morty currently underway on Adult Swim, series co-creator Dan Harmon is coming back with voice actors Spencer Grammer (Summer), Sarah Chalke (Beth) and Chris Parnell (Jerry) to do another panel on the animated sci-fi comedy.
Why watch? By the time its panel airs, Rick and Morty’s fifth season will be halfway over. Even though it’s mainly a fan Q&A featuring most of the cast, it wouldn’t be out of the question if there were some teases for what’s to come in future episodes, or even some light information on season 6.
Streaming on Friday, July 23 at 4 p.m. PT
Two of Disney Channel’s strongest animated series right now are Amphibia, from animator Matt Braly, and The Owl House by Dana Terrace. Both shows are pairing up for a panel where cast members from their respective series will do a table read of a crossover episode and talk about what’s next for each of their shows.
Why watch? Amphibia and Owl House are both very charming and fun shows that should appeal to fans of the isekai genre. If you’re not sure if either show is right for you, the crossover table read should pique your interest. Owl House will just show more of its in-progress second season, but Amphibia fans are sure to come out of this with a stronger look at season 3.
Streaming on Saturday, July 24 at 12 p.m. PT
Blade Runner: Black Lotus
Originally announced in 2018, Adult Swim and Crunchyroll’s anime set in the Blade Runner universe will finally be revealed in full at Comic-Con. The panel will actor Jessica Henwick, who voices the lead replicant Elle in the English dub, along with co-directors Shinji Arakami and Kenji Kamiyama.
Why watch? Black Lotus is the first anime series for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi franchise and comes from Sola Digital Arts, the team behind 2019’s Ultraman series, and creative producer Shinichiro Watanabe, best known for Cowboy Bebop. Lotus will be set 13 years after the original film and “take inspiration” from 2017’s Blade Runner 2049. What does that mean? You’ll have to watch the panel to find out.
Streaming on Friday, July 23 at 5 p.m. PT
The X-Men have gone through a lot since they relaunched with 2019’s House of X. Mutants are now in a higher place of prominence than ever, and now four of the writers behind its books — Ben Percy (Wolverine, X-Force), Vita Ayala (Children of the Atom, New Mutants), Gerry Duggan (Marauders, X-Men), and Leah Williams (X-Factor, Trial of Magneto) — will reveal more about what’s to come during the Reign of X.
Why watch?: While the mutants have been making moves, it looks like things are about to catch up with them. The next X-event, Inferno, will see Mystique take her revenge on the island of Krakoa for refusing to resurrect her wife, Destiny. Whatever follows from that will certainly ripple through the X-books, and likely set the stage for mutantkind to ascend further, or be taken down a peg, through 2022.
Streaming on Friday, July 23 at 12 p.m. PT
Batman: Fear State
It wouldn’t be a year in DC Comics without some type of Batman event, and this year’s line-wide epic will be Fear State, featuring everyone’s favorite college professor, Scarecrow. The panel will feature the writers of current books under the Batman line: James Tynion IV (Batman, Joker), Mariko Tamaki (Detective Comics), Tom Taylor (Nightwing), Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn), and John Ridley (Future State: Next Batman, I Am Batman).
Why watch?: Fear State isn’t just Scarecrow’s first time headlining a Batman event, it’s also bringing in threads previously introduced in Future State from earlier this year, such as the Magistrate forces that’ll eventually turn Gotham into a cyberpunk dystopia, and Jace Fox, the eventual Next Batman. The panel will also be a look towards the near future: DC’s said the event will help launch new stories and series for the Batfamily through 2022.
Streaming on July 23 at 1 p.m. PT
Truth, Justice, a Better DC Universe: A New Future for the Man of Steel
Much like Batman, Superman’s gone through a change in his status quo recently, now that his son Jonathan Kent has taken the mantle in the pages of the upcoming Superman: Son of Kal-El ongoing. The panel will feature SoKE writer Tom Taylor, along with Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Action Comics) and Grant Morrison (Superman & the Authority).
Why watch?: Though Jon is the new Man of Steel in the pages of Son, his dad is otherwise occupied in both Action and Authority. The latter is a four-issue miniseries meant to expand on an Action Comics arc about Clark on the gladiatorial planet Warworld that kicks off later this month. But what awaits the Men of Steel and the Kent family as they go into 2022? That’s what this panel will reveal.
Streaming on on Saturday, July 24 at 11 a.m. PT
Wonder Woman Across the Multiverse
The third part of DC’s trinity is also getting a panel to discuss her present and future in the comics. Current Wonder Woman writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad will be there to discuss Diana’s future, along with artist Alitha Martinez (Immortal Wonder Woman) and writer Stephanie Williams (Living Heroes, Wonder Woman: Black & Gold).
Why watch?: For the longest time, Diana was the only Wonder Woman that DC would acknowledge, but things have recently changed. Future State introduced Yara Flor, who recently became Wonder Girl and could potentially become Wonder Woman in the future, and Nubia (the first character of color to be Wonder Woman) became the queen of Themyscira. DC’s already gone ahead and announced a dozen new and republished Wonder Woman titles for the character’s upcoming 80th anniversary, including a Nubia miniseries, but there’s surely more to be discussed at the panel itself.
Streaming on Sunday, July 25 at 11 a.m. PT
Image Comics’ newest series about an ordinary guy who gains cosmic superpowers gets a panel all for itself. Joined by co-artist Eduardo Ferigato and editor Michael Busuttil, series creators Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa will break down where the book has been and where it’s going now that it’s first arc has wrapped.
Why watch?: Radiant Black wears its affection for Power Rangers on its sleeve, and it recently opened up its universe in a big way after being a mostly self contained journey. For fans of the comic, the panel will be worth seeing what comes next for our titular hero and his fellow color-coded Radiants as they become embroiled in a cosmic war. Y’know, just like in Power Rangers!
Streaming on Sunday, July 25 at 3 p.m. PT
Star Wars: The High Republic
In January, Star Wars began the new multimedia project The High Republic. Set long before the Skywalker Saga, this new era shows the Jedi at their strongest and during their growing conflict with the Nihil. High Republic writers Charles Soule, Cavan Scott, Daniel Jose Older, Justina Ireland, and Claudia Gray are assembling in a panel that looks back at the first six months of the new initiative.
Why watch? Since High Republic began, we’ve been in the first of its three phases, dubbed “Light of the Jedi,” after Soule’s novel that began the whole enterprise. It’s expected that there’ll be new books and comics revealed that will be a part of this first phase, but there’s a good chance there’ll be some new information on “Quest of the Jedi,” the second phase of this whole affair.
Streaming on Friday, July 23 at 2 p.m. PT
Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow is both the weirdest show in the CW’s Arrowverse and also the best. Currently underway on season 6, the stars and crew of the show will come together to talk about what’s to come for the time traveling screwups on the Waverider.
Why watch? After a dodgy first season, Legends found itself properly in its second season and has become the best, goofiest version of itself. It’s an easy show to love, whether it’s because of the lovable cast or how often it just gets weird, like suddenly turning an episode into a 2D Disney cartoon. Their Comic-Con panels are consistently a delight, and this one is sure to continue that trend.
Streaming on Sunday, July 25 at 12 p.m. PT
Fear Street trilogy
Netflix’s adaptation of R.L. Stine’s young adult horror books have been released on a staggered weekly period throughout July. Now Stine, director Leigh Janiak, and the trilogy’s principal actors — Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, and Benjamin Flores Jr. — are holding a panel to talk about creating the trilogy and adapting the books.
Why watch? It’s always interesting when creatives talk about how their films get made, and Fear Street has a colorful production history: Janiak originally set the films up at the now-defunct 20th Centruy Fox, and shot the films back to back with the intention of releasing them a month apart, further blurring the line between TV and film. That had to have come with some challenges, which she and the other panelists will likely dive into.
Streaming on Friday, July 23 at 4 p.m. PT
Let’s stick with horror and talk about Shudder’s anthology series Creepshow. Once again, showrunner Greg Nicotero will hold a panel featuring actors Michael Rooker and James Remar to talk about the upcoming third season with writer Mattie Do and director Rusty Cundieff.
Why watch? Nicotero is the man responsible for the makeup effects on the Walking Dead franchise, which you may have heard of. Creepshow is his love letter to the horror genre, homaging or possibly adapting short story fiction you may have heard of. Even original work gets thrown in, some from Nicotero himself. You can tell from his panels that he loves his work, and sometimes you just need to hear someone heap praise onto their coworkers.
Streaming on Saturday, July 24 at 6 p.m. PT
Horror Noire was a 2019 documentary inspired by the 2011 book of the same name from Robin R. Means Coleman explored the relationship between the horror film genre and African-Americans. Set for release later this year, the new series from AMC and Shudder wants to showcase original work from new and emergent talent in the horror space. The panel will feature writers Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Shernold Edwards, and Victor LaValle as they discuss their work for the show.
Why watch? Black horror has been fruitful in recent years thanks to films like The First Purge and Nia DaCosta’s upcoming Candyman sequel. (And yes, also Jordan Peele’s recent work, but that goes without saying.) Horror’s a booming genre that has endless potential, and like any good anthology, the series may turn you on to someone’s work you may want to follow.
Streaming on Saturday, July 24 at 4 p.m. PT
The Walking Dead
The three shows of AMC’s Walking Dead franchise — Fear the, World Beyond, and the original — are each getting their own individual panels, all on July 24. Cast and crew from each show will talk up their respective seasons and provide footage that’ll no doubt feature plenty of zombie slaying and ruminating on the evils of mankind.
Why watch? Both the original flagship series and the new spinoff World Beyond are ending their respective runs with their upcoming seasons. Fear will continue, but the universe isn’t over quite yet: fan favorites Daryl and Carol (Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride) are getting a spinoff of their own, and there’s an anthology series that’ll explore the backstories of new or already established characters. And of course, there’s the previously announced trilogy of theatrical films centered on Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes.
Streaming on on Friday, July 23 from 3 p.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT
Army of Thieves
Army of the Dead was the first film Zack Snyder made after leaving Warner Bros.’ DC characters behind, and it was a dumb, fun mess of a thing. Netflix is going all in on this zombie-infested world that he’s birthed, hence the prequel film, Army of Thieves. Billed as a rom-com heist flick, the film focuses on Army’s goofy German safecracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer, who also directs) as he’s hired to pull off a heist with a group of wannabe thieves.
Why watch? Dieter was a delightful goof in the original Army of the Dead, and a romcom heist movie sounds silly enough to watch. Joined by producers Deborah and Zack Snyder, and co-star Nathalie Emmanuel, it’ll be worth seeing what Schweighöfer’s previous experience directing himself in romcoms brings to this new universe Netflix wants to create.
Streaming on Sunday, July 25 at 2 p.m. PT
The Doctor took off for most of 2020, but now BBC is ready to reveal what’s next in store for her. Jodie Whitaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall, along with Mandip Gill (Yasmin) and John Bishop (Dan), will host the panel and finally reveal what’s in store for season 13. And they’ll be joined by a special guest, but they’re keeping tight-lipped about who it is.
Why watch? Chibnall’s era as the showrunner of Doctor Who has always been willing to experiment, even if it doesn’t always work out. And with last season revealing some big connections between the Doctor and her fellow Time Lords, that’s sure to be a big topic of conversation at the panel.
Streaming on Sunday, July 25 at 10 a.m. PT