Each year there are countless new shows, movies, books, and other items featured at New York Comic Con. While I can’t enumerate each and every one, here’s a shortlist of my picks for forthcoming things to keep an eye out for, based on the panels and screenings and booths I peeked this year.
The Neil Gaiman Library (May 27, 2020)
As a Neil Gaiman fan, I’m definitely biased on this one. Sandman has been done and over with for years now (with the release of Sandman: Overture a few years ago, Gaiman officially took a graceful bow out of the universe of Dream and the rest of the Endless). The recent TV adaptation of American Gods started off thrilling but suffered some bumps along the road to a much less impressive second season, and the recent Amazon adaptation of Good Omens was fun but flawed. What’s a Gaiman fan to do now? Volume 1 of The Neil Gaiman Library, which will hit comic shops next May, will feature four Gaiman stories, along with work by such artists as P. Craig Russell, Rafael Albuquerque, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Shane Oakley, Lovern Kindzierski, Dave Stewart and Nick Filardi.
Think Wreck-It Ralph, but with Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Villanelle from Killing Eve (Jodie Comer) and Steve from Stranger Things (Joe Keery). Sound like fun? Well, sure seems like it. In a panel on Thursday, October 3, some of the cast and creators behind Free Guy, coming next summer, introduced the new film. Reynolds plays up his good-guy charm and humor as Guy, a bank teller who discovers he’s a non-playable character inside a violent game and learns how to play the game to his advantage. This one’s also directed by Shawn Levy, the executive producer and frequent director of Stranger Things — so hopefully we’ll have another comedic hit with this one.
The King’s Man (February 14, 2020)
A prequel to the other Kingsman movies, this film stars Tom Hollander, Ralph Fiennes, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew Goode, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Gemma Arterton and takes place during World War II, but the threat isn’t just the war but various villains throughout history who team up for a nefarious plan of mass destruction. From the looks of the trailer, we can expect beautiful cinematography and stylized fight scenes — at least one of which will feature a particularly graceful fight featuring the great Rasputin himself.
Watchmen (October 20, 2019)
Chances are that you’ve already heard about this one. Writer and executive producer Damon Lindelof, (famously known as the creator of Lost and The Leftovers) turned down the chance to tackle Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel more than once, unable to fathom how anyone could even attempt to retell or improve on such a seminal text. We all remember how Zack Snyder fared in 2009. (To be fair to Zack, it wasn’t terrible, and was certainly faithful, but was ultimately a bit too garish and soulless, more spectacle than heart, unlike the original.) So Lindelof has decided to leave the old story behind and instead steer us thirty years in the future, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a new set of characters and new set of concerns. Regina King heads up the cast, and, judging by the first episode, which was screened at Comic Con on Saturday, will have no dearth of badass action scenes and drama. Some familiar characters will return as well, along with some old themes, but this take is notably racialized in a way that feels urgent and contemporary while still motioning toward our nation’s history. And there’s plenty for fans of the graphic novel to grasp on to: Easter eggs and other nods to Moore’s text abound.
The fandoms most represented in this year’s cosplay at Comic Con were Stranger Things (Scoops Ahoy employees seemed to take over the Javits Center, blue and white stripes, red ascots, and all) and My Hero Academia, with good reason. Despite its basic shonen DNA, full of the usual themes and tropes, MHA stands out with an irrepressible sense of wholesomeness and innocence that makes it a delight to watch, especially in our current age of outsized superhero fandoms.
The show, about a sensitive, nerdy and unbearably earnest young boy without a superpower in a world where almost everyone has some kind of special ability (called a “quirk”) who is granted a great power that he aims to use to become the greatest hero, is back for season four. In a panel packed with thousands of fans in Madison Square Garden on Friday, Funimation presented a sneak preview of the new season, during which our protagonist, Midoriya, tries to secure a vital work-study with a powerful hero, and a new villain, Overhaul, challenges the antagonist Shigaraki for his throne in the criminal underground.
Batman Beyond (October 29, 2019)
To be fair, Batman Beyond isn’t exactly new. In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the show’s premiere (yes, it’s been that long), some of the creators and voice cast met for a panel on Sunday. During the panel, they previewed a new box set of the series in its entirety, remastered in sharp, vibrant colors for your viewing pleasure. For all the Batmans that we’ve had and for all the Batmans that are to come (looking at you, Pattinson), Kevin Conroy’s remains an icon. When his grizzled old caped crusader passed the batwings on to Terri McGuinness in 1999, in the edgy, super sleek, futuristic series, the cool nephew, of sorts, to Batman: The Animated Series, one of the best Batman series was born.
Big Mouth/Human Resources (Out now/TBA)
If you haven’t already been watching this amazing show, full of gross-out gags, musical numbers, and incredibly smart humor related to gender, sexuality, and puberty, then you need to get onboard yesterday. The voice cast alone — Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele and a smorgasburg of featured and guest talents like Gina Rodriguez, Chelsea Peretti, David Thewlis, Nathan Fillion, Craig Robinson, Kristen Bell, Natasha Lyonne and countless others — should be enough to convince you. The new season promises new characters, new adventures (including a hilarious road trip to Florida), new sexual awakenings, and more of the same irreverent brand of humor that has made the show a hit. Though season three has only just hit this week, there’s already a season four slated for 2020, as well as a spinoff series, called Human Resources, that will take place in the world of the hormone monsters.
Star Trek: Picard (January 23, 2020)
Fans have already had plenty to enjoy in the Star Trek universe with Discovery, but now Patrick Stewart is back as Jean-Luc Picard, from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It looks like Picard has the captain looking to come back out of retirement (farming? With a cute dog companion?) to take care of some business.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (May 19, 2020)
Nowadays, it’s pretty standard for popular properties to seem to continue — via prequels, sequels, spinoffs, comic adaptations, movie adaptations, etc., etc., etc., — ad infinitum. Nothing, not even the most definitive of series, is ever done. In fact, the more profitable it is, the better the chance you’ll get more. This fall we’ve already gotten Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, released more than three decades after the original. Now, nine years after Katniss successfully led the revolution in Panem, Suzanne Collins is bringing us back to the world of the Hunger Games with this prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. There’s no worry of her cracking open Katniss’ story again, thank goodness, after the conclusive ending of the trilogy; Ballad will take place 64 years before the start of the first Hunger Games novel. At the very least, Ballad will be a treat for those who want to learn more about Panem and the past that led to the events of the original series.
This one already came out in Japan but will be heading to theaters for a limited release in the States in early 2020. The movie is about a high school student who runs away from home only to find himself broke and alone — until he meets a girl with the power to change the weather. If the fantastical love story and absolutely stunning visuals of the trailer didn’t clue you in, this is director Makoto Shinkai’s follow up to the hit movie Your Name, which was the highest grossing anime film in history. It’s a high bar to live up to, but even if Weathering with You has just a fraction of the beauty and ingenuity of Your Name, then this film will definitely be worth a watch.