Universal and HBO Reportedly Sitting Out Comic-Con 2023

Marvel isn't the only studio sitting out San Diego Comic-Con 2023. After Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios hosted its first in-person panel since 2019 at last summer's confab, TheWrap reports Disney will skip presenting its upcoming Marvel slate at Comic-Con's Hall H when the annual convention returns to the San Diego Convention Center July 20th—July 23rd. (Marvel isn't taking the stage but will have a presence on the convention floor, according to TheWrap.) The outlet adds that Comcast's Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Discovery's HBO are also weighing decisions to sit out this year's gathering as Hollywood braces for a potential SAG-AFTRA strike amid a labor stoppage as part of the ongoing writers' strike.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios and ABC are sponsors of this year's Comic-Con, as are NBCUniversal's NBC network and WBD's DC and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Universal, which has never been a stalwart of the convention, previously sat out Comic-Con 2019 and brought its Peacock original series Brave New World and SYFY's Van Helsing to SDCC when the con went virtual in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. NBCUniversal had more of a presence in 2022, launching its first-ever NBCU Corner in Gaslamp Plaza to highlight shows from Syfy, USA Network, and Peacock, including Chucky, the Quantum Leap reboot, La Brea, and Vampire Academy.

HBO presented Comic-Con panels for His Dark MaterialsWestworld, and the final season of Game of Thrones in 2019, and advertised its Watchmen series with an augmented reality experience around the Gaslamp Quarter. The network also took advantage of 2020's online-only convention to advertise its programming slate with virtual panels for Cartoon Network Studios and HBO Max's Close Enough, the Adventure Time: Distant Lands special, Infinity Train, and Lovecraft Country.

More recently, HBO brought the world of Westeros to Comic-Con '22 with a star-studded panel and an immersive experience promoting its Game of Thrones prequel spinoff House of the Dragon. Warner Bros. Discovery also touted more family-friendly fare, including its Looney Tunes slate, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Cartoon Networks' Craig of the Creek, Teen Titans Go! and We Baby Bears, and Batwheels.

It's not known what Universal and HBO might bring to Comic-Con 2023, but Universal's film slate includes Dracula movie The Last Voyage of the Demeter, Blumhouse's The Exorcist: Believer and Five Nights at Freddy's, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 4, and Illumination's Despicable Me 4. HBO is developing second seasons of hits House of the Dragon and The Last of Us, as well as the first season of its Game of Thrones prequel series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight.

House of the Dragon season 2 hasn't been impacted by the WGA writers' strike, but filming would halt if the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists fails to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers before their contract expires on June 30. The Hedge Knight has already temporarily shuttered its writers' room for the duration of the writers' strike, and The Last of Us season 2 was targeting a 2025 release window when writers hit the picket lines.

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