All the best bits from Comic-Con - and a couple of the worst

This past weekend has seen one of the biggest events on the nerd calendar transpire in San Diego: Comic Con International, one of the biggest - if not the biggest - pop culture conventions in the world.

In its 49th year, the four-day event attracted thousands of fans to celebrate all things film, television and comic book. The event has grown in recent years as Hollywood studios use it as a launch pad for their big blockbusters, movie and cast announcements and to premiere footage and trailers.

And this year was no different. With so much happening throughout the convention, here are just some of the biggest stories to emerge from San Diego.

Brie Larson is Marvel's first female lead

Though it was first reported last month, Marvel Studios made it official in the final seconds of their two-hour panel yesterday.

Brie Larson, best known for her Oscar-winning performance in Room, will take on the role of Captain Marvel as the studio's first female-led superhero flick.


Larson will be playing Carol Danvers, who first appeared in comic books back in 1968. A US Air Force officer, Danvers gains the abilities of flight, strength and energy projection after an alien device explodes near her. Captain Marvel is set for release in 2019, but Larson may show up beforehand in Avengers 3.

Other newbies to the Marvel world include fellow Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan and The Walking Dead's Danai Guttria, who will be filling up the cast of Black Panther alongside Chadwick Boseman.

Marvel TV continues to dominate

While they may have the biggest film franchise in the world, Marvel is not content with conquering the silver screen. The comic company continues to expand their television properties.

The first trailer was shown for Luke Cage, the third series in the company's deal with Netflix. Mike Colter stars as Cage, who gained unbreakable skin after being experimented on in prison, and is now using his powers to clean up crime in Harlem.

Brief teasers were also shown for Iron Fist and The Defenders, the next series in the deal.

Separate from any of the Marvel cinematic worlds, the first trailer for Legion was also shown. Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, Charles Xavier's mutant son who suffers from multiple personality disorder that makes his powers uncontrollable. The series is from Noah Hawley, creator of the Fargo TV adaptation, and the first trailer promises it will be just as quirky and philosophical as his previous show.

DC's making a strong comeback...

After the critical savaging of Batman v Superman, many wondered how Warner Bros and DC would salvage their burgeoning franchise. As a sign they are not giving up just yet, the company made a strong showing at Comic Con, premiering the first trailers for Wonder Woman and Justice League. The former stars Gal Gadot as Amazonian warrior Diana Prince, and focuses on her first journey to Earth during World War Two.

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The latter was made up mostly of Ben Affleck's Batman recruiting Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) to the Justice League, a trailer that was light on plot but attempted to make up for it with Avengers-style humour, showing that the studio won't be producing the same dark, gritty, brooding movie that made BvS such a boring downer.

While it's too soon to judge Justice League, Wonder Woman and the upcoming Suicide Squad are making a strong case for the continued growth of DC's cinematic empire.

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... while Marvel is still riding the wave of success

Yet there is still no stopping the juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Across two hours, the studio brought as much footage and news as possible to showcase for their fans.

The big draw was the new trailer for Doctor Strange, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer that focuses on the mystical side of the Marvel world.

There was also new footage from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, focusing on fan favs Rocket and Groot as they break out of a cell, and confirmed that Kurt Russel will be playing the father of Chris Pratt's Star Lord.

Spider-Man: Homecoming showed new footage that highlighted it will be firmly set within high school and focus on Peter Parker growing up.

As they just started filming, Taika Waititi wasn't on hand to premiere new footage from Thor Ragnarok, but instead sent in a mockumentary about why Thor wasn't in Captain America: Civil War.

Apparently he's been living in Australia with non-superhero roommate Darryl, annoying his flattie by leaving Mjolnir on the floor while vacuuming and not cleaning up. The trailer was one of the best received parts of the panel, with many critics expressing their desire to see more of it in the final film.

Modern fantasy epic finally gets adapted

While author Neil Gaiman is known for a wide range of fantasy and sci-fi series, the closest he has come to a non-comic franchise would be American Gods. The original epic picked up most of the biggest awards in fantasy literature when it was first published fifteen years ago, and has produced two sequel novellas and a spinoff novel.

And now, it is finally being adapted. Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller is behind the television adaptation. The series focuses on convict Shadow Moon, who, after being released, is brought into the service of the mysterious Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane) and finds himself in the middle of a burgeoning war between the Old Gods from centuries past and the New Gods, such as Media and the Technical Boy. The first trailer was screened at Comic Con and will air in America next year.

Blair Witch getting a surprise sequel

The convention managed to produce one big surprise for horror fans. After JJ Abrams saw great success earlier this year with his surprise Cloverfield sequel, studio Lionsgate is hoping for similar fortune with their upcoming Blair Witch. First announced under the name The Woods, the new film from the collaborators behind You're Next and The Guest is now officially a sequel to the 1999 found footage box office hit. Continuing the found footage theme, it sees a new group of teenagers venture into the Black Hills looking for a missing sister.

Sherlock to return in the darkest season yet

It's taken a while to reach the fourth season, but once again Tumblr's favourite show is coming back to our screens.

The show that made Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman mega-stars returns next year, three years after the last series ended with the surprise comeback of main villain Moriarty.

The cast teased during their panel it would be the darkest season yet, while in typical fashion dropped three clues hinting at what will make up the season's three episodes: Fature, Smith and Sherrinford. We'll leave it to all the fan boys and girls to work that one out.


Trailers upon trailers upon trailers

If there's one thing you're guaranteed to get from Comic Con, it's plenty of trailers for the next years' worth of sci-fi and fantasy epics. With 20th Century Fox and Universal sitting out this year and a rise in big budget blockbusters bombing at the box office, there were perhaps fewer glitzy films on offer than usual, but that only means the ones that did screen can sap up the attention.

The two biggest non-superhero trailer premiers were both new takes on old classics. We got our first look at Guy Ritchie's new King Arthur, a glossy origin story with Charlie Hunnam as the titular king and Jude Law as the villainous Vortigern.

Former Marvel adversaries Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Hiddleston are on the same side in Kong: Skull Island, which comes 11 years after Peter Jackson last retold the King Kong story.

This entry, which co-stars Brie Larson and John Goodman, will expand Warner Bros' new "monster universe" that started with Godzilla in 2014. Should this prove successful, the two will face-off in 2020.

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Warner Bros also shared a new trailer for the new Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, revealing more of the titular beasts that Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander unleashes on 1920s New York.

Big love for local star KJ Apa

He may have only left Shortland Street last year, but the Kiwi actor is already making waves in Hollywood with a leading role on the new Archie Comics inspired drama Riverdale. While we have to wait 'til next year for it to air, the first episode screened on a special preview night last week and it is earning a lot of early buzz as one of the best pilots of the season.

Both Entertainment Weekly and Nerdist have come out in favour of it, with both sites commenting on Apa's role, specifically how hot he has made Archie.

The show, which co-stars Luke Perry and Cole Sprouse, reportedly has Twin Peaks vibes with a murder mystery and a lot of small town intrigue. Look out for it to air here after it's American premiere in January, where you can judge for yourself just how sexy this new take is.

First tease at new season of Thrones

And finally, what convention would exist without a little touch of Game of Thrones? While fans were distraught last week at the news the show won't return until possibly June next year, the show did unleash a brief look at where the new season will go, with some behind the scenes footage of the production, ending with the briefest of teases as to how it will end up.

If that doesn't satisfy your Thrones needs, a blooper reel from the last season highlights some of the lighter moments in-between all the deaths.

- NZ Herald

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