San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition Seems… Weird

San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition Seems… Weird
A pre-covid edition of SDCC. (Photo: Michael Buckner, Getty Images)

San Diego Comic-Con is about to hold its first in-person event since 2019. It’s called Comic-Con Special Edition and it takes place November 26-28 in San Diego, CA — but if you were worried that by not attending you’d be missing on big exciting news, you can breathe easy.

It’s no secret that in the past decade, San Diego Comic-Con has become less about comics and more about Hollywood. What started as a small gathering of like-minded fans has evolved into a mega event filled with studios and networks who spend millions to be there, and fans who spend a whole bunch too. COVID-19 changed that for the foreseeable future, but the existence of Comic-Con Special Edition suggests that SDCC’s organisers are eager to get back to the way things were.

Except for this: the full programming schedule for the event has been released and there’s barely a major movie or TV show on there, at least in an official capacity. The programming is heavy on cosplay, fan discussion, and table top gaming, and the few celebrities who’ll be in attendance (Avatar and Hook’s Dante Basco, Star Trek’s Brent Spiner) are promoting personal work or podcasts, not major shows. Plus, arguably the “biggest” official panel being held, for NBC’s La Brea, is virtual.

There’s more. At a normal Comic-Con, Hall H is that near-mythic space where crowds of over 5,000 people can make or break a movie with their raucous response. Comic-Con Special Edition isn’t even having panels in there, instead using the space for attendee registration. But, as the official site says, this is not the summer event. It’s more of an experiment to see if SDCC can get the summer event back to its former glory.

“Our decision to hold an in-person event in 2021 was driven by several factors,” says the official Comic-Con site. “Our primary hope was to finally be able to gather in person as a community, something we have not been able to do since 2019. Another was to try to determine how best to safely produce events in light of current health concerns with the least negative impact on attendees … Reduced in attendance, shorter in the number of days, and purposefully smaller in scope, this convention is meant to be a more intimate gathering while still evoking the fun community feeling our conventions are known for, including great exhibits, programs, cosplay, gaming, and other event.”

io9 will not be attending Comic-Con Special Edition, but maybe you will be? Sound off in the comments if so and let us know what you’re expecting the vibe to be.