Citing some recent tweets by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Marvel Studios may not be attending San Diego Comic Con this July.
This is only a rumor for now, as Disney hasn’t confirmed or denied anything.
Again, I can see why some would be upset, and a few of my close friends may be heartbroken to get this news. Marvel has played an integral role in shaping the modern perception of Comic-Con. Seeing people line up days in advance for a the chance to see some new footage before the rest of the world is truly a sight to behold. Hell, I’ve made some really amazing friends waiting in those lines. But Marvel leaving isn’t the end of the world, and it might even be a good thing.
Marvel Studios Didn’t Build Comic-Con
First things first, to all those who say, “Well now SDCC is sunk, it’ll die” etc., I say, shut up.
Marvel has been a huge presence at Comic-Con over the last few years; bringing rabid fans in droves for the next morsel of news or footage. But Marvel didn’t build Comic-Con, and it’s not the only thing bringing fans. As a longtime fan of Comic-con, Marvel Studios may be the biggest thing at SDCC, but it is by no means the only big thing, not by a long shot.
Lines, Crowds, and Over-crowding
I’ve been to SDCC for the last 5 years or so, and every year the lines for Hall H, which Marvel Studios dominates, gets bigger and crazier every year. It’s gone from “Get in line by 5AM and you’re definitely getting into Hall H”, to “If you want in for Saturday, get in line Friday morning”.
To some, that’s fine, that weeds out those who really want it, and I can see that. But at what point do we say enough is enough. Maybe if Marvel studios releases their dominant hold, people at Comic Con will start enjoying everything else SDCC has to offer.
Changing of the Guard
As stated before, Marvel Studios has arguably dominated SDCC for the past few years. Before their dynasty began, they fought hard with other mega franchises, that brought in (for better or worse) diverse fans. Any SDCC veteran will tell you Twilight and Harry Potter were as big as Marvel, and back in 2009, Twilight took over Hall H.
The diversity of years past made forced Marvel to step their game up. Marvel had to fight for their fans, and they brought out the big guns: directors, stars in costume, secret footage, etc. As with anything, when the leader steps down, there’s going to be a fight for that spot, and the fans always benefit from competition.
So Who’s Next?
There’s no easy answer for who will take the mantle if Marvel Studios is indeed leaving. The smart money is on either DC/Warner Bros… or Star Wars. Warner Bros. is probably hoping that Marvel steps out of the lime light so that they can get some of that focus on their upcoming slate of movies.
Disney may choose to use SDCC as their Star Wars platform. Disney has their Disney Expo in Anaheim, which is logically where Marvel Studios will focus. Marvel properties have become staples of mainstream pop culture, which fits perfect with what the Disney Expo is.
Star Wars on the other hand, hasn’t had a major release in 10 years, and is desperately trying to shed the perception of the prequels. Disney could easily do what they’ve did with Marvel, feverishly promoting at SDCC, winning trend-setters and the absolutely hardcore audience, and letting them drive the mainstream growth.
Sure, one can ask why would Disney leave Star Wars at SDCC and not take that property to the Disney Expo, where they have a larger audience. Simply put: strategic marketing. Disney Expo focuses on a wide array of properties, everything from Radio Disney to the Disney Channel to their upcoming movies. Arguably, it’s more of a mainstream event, which, thanks to Disney (for better or worse) Marvel is. They’ll focus on the shows, the cartoons, the toys and the movies. But Star Wars and Marvel share a very similar audience, and Disney may not want to sacrifice one for the other, and keeping Star Wars at with the hardcore fans while bringing Marvel further into the mainstream may be the smart move for now.
Still Sucks Though
Yeah, possibly saying farewell to a friend you’ve gotten to know really well does suck. There are a plethora of people that bought their badges just to see what the new Marvel Studios stuff would be. To them, I’m sorry if it’s true. This isn’t the end of SDCC, just a change.
Whatever happens, #NerdSwag will be here for you. Also, be sure to check us out when we go to SDCC 2015!