The Winners and Losers of San Diego Comic-Con 2022

The Winners and Losers of San Diego Comic-Con 2022
Photo: Chris Delmas, Getty Images

Comic-Con’s first in-person event since 2019 is over, and we’re had so much news to sift through, trailers to watch, and cosplay to delight in. After all the hype is said and done, who came out the cream of the nerd crop in San Diego this weekend? Who got lost in the crowds and con-crud? Here’s our picks for the great, and not so great, moments of Comic-Con 2022.

Winner: Marvel

Photo: Marvel StudiosPhoto: Marvel Studios

When Marvel Studios announced it was returning to Comic-Con after an absence of several years, people were understandably excited. But those lucky few who managed to get into the con’s famed Hall H had their minds blown with the amazing first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and first footage from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — and MODOK! But the announcements of the studio’s giant slate of movies for Phases 5 and 6 of the Multiverse Saga really sealed the deal. The Marvel Animation panel delivered as well, with first looks from Spider-Man: Freshman Year, X-Men ’97, and more.

Winner: Star Trek

Image: ParamountImage: Paramount

Star Trek came to Hall H in style this year. Even with the fact that it only just recently ended an unprecedented run of new episodes that’s been going on for six months at this point, Paramount gave us big news: our very first look at the return of the Next Generation crew in Picard’s final season, the hilarious trailer for Lower Decks’ third season — we’re still not over the DS9 gag — and, of course, what might just be the thing that proves Trek is one of the most confidently bananas franchise on TV or in general right now: news of a live-action/animated hybrid crossover between Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds.

And hey, celebratory drinks afterwards at the Ten Forward experience? Don’t mind if we do. ‘Qapla!

Winner: Eddie Munson

Screenshot: NetflixScreenshot: Netflix

Every single day, everywhere we looked there was a casual Eddie Munson cosplay. It didn’t quite count as cosplay because for the most part it was an accessible way to represent a sleeper fan fave from Stranger Things but also put in minimal effort. So it was hard to tell who was really cosplaying; if we missed a full-on guitar and shield-wielding Eddie, we are sorry. All in all, it spoke to the impact the character had on people and if you threw a die you’d hit a Hellfire Club member.

Winner: The D&D Movie

Screenshot: ParamountScreenshot: Paramount

No one really knew what to expect from a big-budget D&D movie after previous attempts flopped, but the first look at Honour Among Thieves was a more than pleasant surprise. Classic monsters like the Owlbear, Displacer Beast, and Mimic were in there, but it also looked like stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant were having fun, which D&D should be! Similarly, the movie’s Tavern Experience was a blast… both figuratively and literally, thanks to the dragon stopping by.

Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Screenshot: Amazon StudiosScreenshot: Amazon Studios

It’s not always a guarantee but when a TV show sponsors *all the badges at Comic-Con,* it usually means they’ve got something special in store for fans. And that certainly happened with Prime Video’s upcoming show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. In addition to debuting a brand new, extended trailer, the show’s panel featured over 20 cast members, screens surrounding the entirety of Hall H, and Stephen Colbert as moderator. It was funny, informative, and set the bar high for what the show could bring over the next few seasons.

Winner: Prey

Screenshot: 20th Century StudiosScreenshot: 20th Century Studios

Next month, there’s a new film being released in the Predator franchise and there’s a good chance you will never see it on the big screen. Prey, which features a Native American woman fighting a Predator hundreds of years ago, debuts exclusively on Hulu August 5. But, the film played for fans at Comic-Con in a theatre and everyone who saw it was buzzing about it. It even got a Cannes-esque standing ovation from the crowd. The audience simply could not have been ready for the high-octane, sci-fi action the film features — and seeing it on

a big screen, with a crowd, was the way to go.

Winner: The Unite Here Local 30 Hotel Union

Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty ImagesPhoto: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

A clear winner: the Unite Here Local 30 union, which represents about 600 hotel workers at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego, went on strike the day before Comic-Con started. The hotel was sold out for the event and was set to host many panels and press junkets throughout the convention, making it a high-pressure situation to work with the union to deliver an acceptable contract. Showing that once again, solidary will often produce results, the hotel management delivered a contract that was deemed acceptable by union leaders and started the vote/ratification process in the hours before the convention started. The workers returned to the hotel, and the union won a fair contract for its members. W is for Workers Rights.

Winner: The Masking Policy

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP, Getty ImagesPhoto: Robyn Beck/AFP, Getty Images

These are still worrisome times for travelling and gathering in huge groups, but SDCC’s organisers did as much as they could to keep everyone safe, and they did it really well: requiring vaccinations or covid negative tests (and making sure everyone had a wristband to prove they’d been checked), and ensuring all attendees were wearing masks when they weren’t eating or drinking. It felt like a thorough, organised effort across the board — unlike some recent major conventions — with con-goers also doing their part.

Loser: People at Home

Screenshot: Gizmodo/GizmodoScreenshot: Gizmodo/Gizmodo

In 2020 and 2021, Comic-Con @ Home was a way for people to get those convention feels without leaving their homes, since all of the panels were virtual out of necessity. While there were some technical issues with that format, and nothing can replace the energy of actually being there in person, the fact that the streaming panels were completely gone this year meant that folks who couldn’t make the trip to San Diego — for any reason they might have, though the pandemic is still a big one — missed out on sharing the experience.

Loser: Warner Bros.

Photo: Kevin Winter, Getty ImagesPhoto: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Talk about a bare-bones panel. We love the Rock and are excited for some solid entries into other DC worlds, but it still left us wanting more and wondering why we couldn’t find out which Superman Black Adam would take on. We get why a handful of franchises were missing from the panel, but there’s the MonsterVerse, Dune, and Coyote vs. Acme which could have built more hype for Warner Bros. Heck, it would have been awesome to have HBO Max action with Batgirl and The Penguin first looks, and we wouldn’t have been mad if you threw in John Cena as Peacemaker coming out late for the party to rain on Black Adam’s parade — or even, dare to dream, brought out something for Our Flag Means Death.

Loser: Star Wars

Screenshot: LucasfilmScreenshot: Lucasfilm

Sure, sure, Star Wars just had Celebration, and there was plenty to celebrate there. But even then the galaxy far, far away has rocked Comic-Con before with big reveals or lavish booths, except this time around the galaxy far, far away felt… well, far far away. A highlight of Star Wars’ presence was the ever reliable publishing panel, at least giving us a little taste of books and comics to come — but it was mostly books and comics we already knew about. And all Star Wars had to show on the show floor were a couple of costumes and a droid for Andor, a show out in just over a month… which then played host to the completely subdued confirmation of six-month-old news that The Acolyte would be lead by Amandla Stenberg. A strange, scattershot con for one of the biggest franchises in the world.

Loser: House of the Dragon

Screenshot: HBOScreenshot: HBO

Even though the Game of Thrones prequel is premiering in less than a month, HBO failed to drum up any excitement for House of the Dragon at Comic-Con. Sure, the experience they had for fans around the con looked fun, but inside Hall H an extended trailer with new footage was shown to attendees, but then was kept offline until it debuted Sunday night on Discovery’s “Shark Week.” The most memorable thing about the show’s SDCC presence was that some fan said “It’s Morbin’ time!” to star Matt Smith at the show’s panel, and even that bombed.

Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.