In a lot of ways, this year’s San Diego Comic-Con was pretty tame in comparison to previous years. Some of the biggest movies currently in development, including “Star Wars: Episode VII” and Warner Bros. Harry Potter spinoffs, didn’t even make appearances.
There also wasn't much in the way of huge announcements — no Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, no new Marvel franchises and nothing from Sony about “Sinister Six,” etc.
But that doesn’t mean it was a total bust.
Here are the biggest reveals and announcements from this year’s Comic-Con:
A 'King Kong' prequel
Legendary, the studio behind the recent spate of giant monster movies like “Pacific Rim” and “Godzilla,” won this year’s Comic-Con almost by default as the only studio to reveal a major new movie — one which also happens to involve giant monsters — the “King Kong” prequel “Skull Island.”
The title, of course, refers to the mysterious jungle abode where Kong and all sorts of overgrown fauna were found in Universal’s original 1933 movie.
“Previous works have touched on the island, but staying and exploring this mysterious and dangerous place offers Legendary the opportunity to take audiences deeper inside this rich world with a style and scope that parallels other Legendary productions," a press release (via Indie Wire) stated. "The film will be released on November 4, 2016.”
No creative team was in place at the time of the announcement, but Legendary hasn’t been sitting idle. According to Deadline, British writer-director Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) is being courted to take the reins.
To celebrate the success of its big-budget Godzilla reboot, Legendary also officially announced “Godzilla 2” is in the works with Gareth Edwards once again directing after he wraps up work on one of Disney’s as-yet-undisclosed “Star Wars” spinoffs, anyway.
For Godzilla fans, though, the exciting part came during a brief teaser that revealed some of the classic Toho monsters Godzilla will be facing off against next: Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah.
But wait, there’s more. With “Godzilla” and “Skull Island” both being produced by Legendary, this means there could be
a showdown between Godzilla and King Kong?
OK, this wasn’t exactly announced, but it makes total sense given the fact that the King of Skull Island and the King of the Monsters will be under the same roof, so to speak.
With shared universes being all the rage these days, it would be strange if there haven’t been conversations about this at Universal and Legendary.
Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time the two kaiju squared off against each other.
Even though the other studios didn’t drop any huge bombs at Hall H this year, Warner Bros. did trot out the stars of Zack Snyder’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” to unveil the first footage from the movie.
In all of this, fans got their first look ever at Israeli actress Gal Gadot in full Amazonian costume as Wonder Woman.
Surprisingly enough, the look manages to be pretty traditional without being ridiculous.
Outside of “The Lego Movie,” “Batman V. Superman” will mark Wonder Woman’s big screen debut exactly 75 years after she first appeared in comics.
The Dark Knight returns
Along with Wonder Woman, fans also got a few more glimpses of Ben Affleck as Batman, first in a full-color still headshot, showing off the classic Batman profile, and then in the Comic-Con exclusive teaser that featured the Caped Crusader in heavy-duty armor facing off against an angry-looking Superman.
Not only did this give a better idea of the overall tone of the movie, but it also showed just how much Snyder and Co. seem to be drawing on Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns” for inspiration.
Everything from the Bat-Signal to Batman’s costume to the Bat Armor looks like it was pulled straight out of the pages of Miller’s comic.
'Mad Max: Fury Road' trailer
A fourth Mad Max movie has been in active development for more than a decade. Despite some huge setbacks along the way that at times made the whole thing seem like a pipe dream, original “Mad Max” director George Miller made his Comic-Con debut this year to finally reveal a teaser trailer for the new film.
Suffice it to say, it looks incredible, as can be seen from the trailer that hit YouTube shortly after playing at Comic-Con.
Doing his best Aussie accent, Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) takes over in the role that made Mel Gibson famous more than 30 years ago.
Reboots are rarely met with as much excitement as “Fury Road” managed to drum up at this year’s convention. With Miller still in control, fans can hope for a Mad Max movie worth the wait.
New Star Wars comics from Marvel
Comic books at Comic-Con? Crazy. Despite the name comics have taken a backseat to all the higher-profile movie and TV news at the convention in recent years.
But these aren’t just any comics. Marvel made a big move by unveiling three new series set in the official Star Wars universe during the timeframe of the Original Trilogy. The first, set to hit stores in January 2015, is titled “Star Wars” and takes place immediately after “A New Hope,” featuring the main cast of heroes.1 comment on this story
The second ongoing series, “Star Wars: Darth Vader,” follows the Sith Lord as he struggles to regain the Emperor’s trust after the destruction of the first Death Star.
And in March, Princess Leia will get her own five-issue miniseries from master comic writer Mark Waid involving her promotion to leader of the Rebel Forces and the aftermath of the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan.
Unlike the Dark Horse-era Star Wars comics that were part of the Expanded Universe, these new series from Marvel will be considered official Star Wars canon, making them must-reads for diehard fans.
Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website FilmInquiry.com.