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The Winners And Losers Of Comic-Con 2015

It's good news for fans of superheroes and bad news for fans of Game of Thrones.

Winner: Deadpool

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With Marvel Studios forgoing Comic-Con this year, 20th Century Fox swooped in to claim its prime Saturday afternoon slot in Hall H with an almost two-hour mega-panel showcasing several of the studios’ upcoming movies. And Deadpool — the R-rated adaptation of the profane and irreverent Marvel Comics mutant superhero — was, by far, the movie that won the biggest roars in the crowd. So much so, in fact, that they demanded as one to see the trailer again, and moderator Chris Hardwick was happy to oblige. Later, in the X-Men: Apocalypse panel, star Nicholas Hoult was totally distracted, admitting, "I can’t concentrate, because I’m still psyched about the Deadpool trailer." —Adam B. Vary

Loser: Fantastic Four

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

By stark comparison, the panel that preceded Deadpool was for the reboot about Marvel Comics’ very first superheroes, Fantastic Four, which has been dogged by bad buzz for months — and the panel did very little to dissuade fans from that impression. Director Josh Trank (Chronicle) talked about the film’s focus on the team’s “tragic” origin, and called it a kind of prequel to when the Fantastic Four actually become the Fantastic Four. When it came time to screen a new trailer for the movie, the crowd’s muted applause was all you needed to know about fan enthusiasm for Fantastic Four. —ABV

Winner: Joss Whedon

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

OK, yes, I know saying Joss Whedon is a winner at Comic-Con is a bit like saying the pope is a hit at Christmas, but the reigning lord of San Diego truly walked away from his Dark Horse: An Afternoon with Joss Whedon panel one of the weekend’s biggest winners — literally. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator was presented with the Icon Award, previously won by Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Matt Groening, Stan Lee, George Lucas, and Frank Miller. Additionally, his panel was charming and insightful, resulting in multiple standing ovations. —Jarett Wieselman

Loser: Benedict Cumberbatch

Toby Melville / Getty Images

Because he wasn’t there and we needed him. We always need him.​ —Keely Flaherty

Winners: The Hunger Games Holy Trinity

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

We got to see more of Peeta in the new full-length trailer, and Katniss in a red Mockingjay suit. But more importantly, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth gave us their final Comic-Con appearance and it didn't disappoint. Lawrence called Hemsworth and Hutcherson her best friends and said that on their last night of filming the three "held each other and slept like puppies." She also corrected moderator Conan O'Brien when he mistakenly called her crossbow a longbow. When asked what he'd miss most about filming the franchise, Hutcherson replied, "You're looking at it." —KF

Winner: Halle Berry

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

While her show Extant may not have as many fans as one might expect anything Halle Berry touches to have, her presence — and her words of wisdom — were gold. The Oscar winner, who arguably is the most famous and highest-profile black female actor in Hollywood, dropped a painful gem to the crowd while talking about her current season of the CBS show. A fan asked why she, a successful film actor, wanted to venture into television. Her reply: "I felt like TV is the new frontier. The best writing is on television. There are great characters for women and women like me — my age group. My ethnicity. And I felt like to really do some quality work — which I was finding it hard in the film world — I could go to TV to play great, complicated characters. I hope that I can continue to do both. But for me, television is where it's at right now." In other words, it’s difficult for Berry to find compelling work as a fortysomething black actress. —Kelley L. Carter

Winner: Star Wars fans

Jesse Grant / Getty Images

New behind-the-scenes footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford’s first public appearance since his plane crash, and a surprise outdoor concert for 6,500 people of John Williams’ iconic Star Wars music. Suffice it to say the Force was with Star Wars fans at Comic-Con this year. —ABV

Loser: Justice League

ROBYN BECK / Getty Images

Warner Bros. did tease that the new Green Lantern movie — coming out in 2020, set your calendars! — will be titled Green Lantern Corps. But anyone hoping to see all of the Justice League gathered together in Hall H were left having to be satisfied with Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot representing Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice panel instead. —ABV

Winner: Ben Affleck

Richard Shotwell / AP

Affleck arrived in San Diego for the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice panel just days after officially announcing his divorce from Jennifer Garner, and when he first walked onstage in Hall H, he looked it — his hangdog, downtrodden face had the barest hint of a smile. But once the panel got going, he quickly charmed the crowd with a dubiously accurate story about running into the previous Batman, Christian Bale, while they were both buying their kids Halloween costumes — specifically, for Affleck, a Batman costume. (Bale’s advice to Affleck on playing the Dark Knight: “Make sure you can piss in that suit.”) Affleck continued the charm offensive by playing up the movie’s heady socioeconomic dynamic between Gotham City and Metropolis, and praising director Zack Snyder’s visual acumen. And the actor-director even managed to acknowledge the elephant in the room with a story about how Snyder explained why Affleck was perfect for his conception of Batman: “He’s at the end of his rope. He’s older. He’s like a burnout.” —ABV

Losers: The other Warner Bros. movies

Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

The Warner Bros. presentation started with panels for director Guy Ritchie’s stylish spy thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer) and director Joe Wright’s visually lush Peter Pan prequel Pan (with Hugh Jackman and Garrett Hedlund). But with the crowd anxious to see footage from DC Comics movies, these panels felt rushed — and after the Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman footage, it’s likely most people in Hall H barely remember what happened before anyway. —ABV

Winner: The Outlander panel

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

This was the thirstiest panel I’ve ever witnessed. For starters, an actual bottle of Laphroaig was being passed around so that Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Ronald D. Moore, and Diana Gabaldon could drink while talking. Then there was a "Is this line from Fifty Shades of Grey?" game going down. But to add further thirst to an already parched situation, the trailer for next season featured some very sexy Claire and Jamie sex scenes. Sexy sex times. —Erin La Rosa

Winner: Nerd HQ

#JossWhedon and @MiracleLaurie at #NerdHQ. No big deal. (Big deal.) Photobomb: @NathanFillion @thenerdmachine

Once again, Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ was the best alternate space to see and hear from your favorite film and television stars. With panels for Sherlock, Orphan Black, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Joss Whedon, Stephen Amell, and much, much more, the weekend was almost entirely sold out! And that fact is even sweeter because the proceeds go to Operation Smile! —JW

Winner: Bill Murray

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The mercurial and beloved actor helped to jump-start Comic-Con on Thursday with his first appearance at the fan convention ever, and he did not disappoint. “We started the morning with some bagels, and some tequila,” Murray said while promoting his upcoming comedy Rock the Kasbah. He went on to talk about having a party bus in Morocco during Ramadan (“There’s no traffic!”), praising Miley Cyrus (“I thought she was a knucklehead crazy girl, but she can really sing!”), and answering a question about his favorite role from a fan wearing a Ghostbusters shirt like so: “Well, once upon a time, I did save the city of New York.” —ABV

Winner: Warner Bros. superhero Saturday night


By eschewing last year’s mega-sized panel in favor of individual show panels, fans of Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham were able to hear from all the actors, get the scoop on the upcoming seasons, and revel in the chemistry these colleagues share. Additionally, Hall H — which was standing room only — got its first good looks at the upcoming Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow series, guaranteeing that next year’s panel will be even bigger! —JW

Losers: Studios that care about leaked footage

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Before every panel, the audience at Comic-Con is warned not to videotape the special exclusive footage that is about to be screened for them. This year, those warnings went especially unheeded, with the trailers for Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad and 20th Century Fox's Deadpool hitting the internet soon after they premiered in San Diego — and in the case of Suicide Squad, it forced the studio to release a high quality version meant only for Hall H. There has been some handwringing that these leaks could mean that studios will stop bringing footage to Comic-Con — but the leaks are also strong barometers of fan enthusiasm for each project, and they only help to build buzz for the movies outside of San Diego. To wit: One of the first things Ryan Reynolds told Hall H during the Deadpool panel was that whoever leaked the Deadpool test footage last year helped to convince Fox to greenlight the movie. Mixed messages, Reynolds! —ABV

Winner: #WeAreAllHeroes panel

.#WeAreAllHeroes #sdcc @JamieBroadnax @Latinoreview @TylerJamesWill @Misskatrinalaw @fordryan Ryan Coogler, @MURS

This was a conversation that Comic-Con certainly needed. The panel, which was presented by the multicultural Cashmere Agency, was designed to address the changing landscape of comics, geekdom, and fanboy culture, and to talk about where women, people of color, and queer fans fit in. "The Asian community falls into a different type of stereotype," said panelist and Arrow star Katrina Law. “Asian women either get cast as the massage girl, the happy-ending chick — something stereotypical. But Lucy Liu has been a huge influence. Look at what she's been able to do now in TV and in film. That shows me the progress that Asian-Americans have been making." Of course, finding solutions isn't something that can happen in a panel, but it proved to be a meeting place for fans and creators (The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder was in the audience to take it all in, too) to connect, exchange information, and possibly narrow the gap a bit in the near future. —KLC

Winner: Victor Frankenstein’s Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy

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Before Comic-Con, it’s safe to say not many people were talking about the umpteenth reimagining of Mary Shelley’s enduring story of a mad scientist’s drive to reanimate the flesh of the dead. But after director Paul McGuigan (Sherlock, Push) said that the movie was really a love story between Dr. Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his assistant Igor (Radcliffe), that was all the actors needed to launch one of the most warmly homoerotic panels in memory, capping off with McAvoy and Radcliffe unforgettably recreating a scene from the movie that, well, just see for yourself… —ABV

Winner: Matt Smith

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Does he ever not win Comic-Con? This year he promoted his roles in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Patient Zero, and as always, he was charming and hilarious. Playing Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, he joked that he would fight the undead by "making poisonous muffins and inviting them for tea." We finally got to see a trailer, and it looks as if he’ll do the bumbling Mr. Collins real comedic justice. Even though we didn't get to see a trailer for Patient Zero, we did get to see Matt Smith on stage with Natalie Dormer, so... He also gave everyone exactly they wanted to hear and said he missed filming Doctor Who. —KF

Winners: Nick Carter, AJ McLean, and Joey Fatone

Keely Flaherty / BuzzFeed

The former Backstreet Boys and NSYNC boy banders are teaming up to make a zombie horror Western movie together, with Nick Carter at the helm. And the three just seem to be having so much fun with it — their excitement is contagious. They were all for talking about their rumored rivalry back in the '90s, awkwardly saying hi to one another at the MTV Movie Awards, and proving they can still nail those harmonies. "Think about it," Nick said. "Boy banders, people from the late '90s who you love, fighting zombies in a postapocalyptic world. Pretty crazy, right?" Definitely, but also really fun. —KF

Losers: Barack Obama and the millions of people who don't actually believe Jon Snow is dead

Getty Images
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

In the month since Game of Thrones aired “Mother’s Mercy,” the Season 5 finale where Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is repeatedly stabbed, every interview with producers has revolved around the ambiguity of that final moment.

Once in every GOT interview: “Is Jon Snow REALLY dead?”

Producers: “Yes! How many times do we have to tell you? YES!”

And yet fans still don’t believe them — including President Barack Obama! David Nutter, who directed “Mother’s Mercy,” was on the Games of Thrones Comic-Con panel and revealed that when he recently met the commander in chief, Obama’s first question after their introduction was, “Is Jon Snow really dead?” To which Nutter replied, “Yes.”

But I’m guessing he's just cool with lying to the president. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ —JW

Winner: The Hannibal panel

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

If you’re a fan of the show, or Bryan Fuller, this panel was everything you’d hope it to be and more. The room was packed with Fannibals wearing anything from a simple flower crown (the symbol of the Fuller fandom) to full-on antlers, and at one point there were “Fannibals Forever” signs being passed throughout the audience. The trailer for the rest of the season revealed that Francis Dolarhyde will be making an appearance on the show and that there will be a lot of butt scenes. Fuller also addressed questions about whether or not we’ll be seeing the show on another network, in light of its cancellation. The answer, for now, is that Amazon and Netflix have passed, but a movie version to wrap up the series is a possibility. The panel was bittersweet, but an incredibly emotional and satisfying experience for fans. —ELR

Winner: Quentin Tarantino

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

At his highly anticipated panel for The Hateful Eight, the director kept things going as the solo panelist for quite a while before much of his cast came out and joined him. Fans wanted to know a little bit of everything from the director: details about this upcoming Christmas Day release, his favorite thing he's ever written or said in a movie, and whether we’ll ever see the Bride again in a third Kill Bill movie. The answer to that last bit is that he and Uma Thurman talk about it often, and he’s waiting for Vernita Green’s (Vivica A. Fox) daughter to grow up to come back to kill her. As for The Hateful Eight, the Western looked amazing and was pretty much on par for what we’ve come to expect from QT: violent, bloody, and plenty of spicy language. The crowd at Hall H went nuts when seven minutes of footage played. —KLC

Winner: Suicide Squad fans

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Director David Ayer and the cast of Suicide Squad (minus Jared Leto) surprised Hall H with a brief, unannounced appearance, and Ayer whipped up the crowd’s enthusiasm by proclaiming that DC Comics has the best villains ever. “I’m not trying to start no East Coast, West Coast feud with Marvel now," he added with a wry smile. The actors didn’t take any questions, but the dark and sinister footage from the movie — which the studio released on Monday after it leaked profusely on the internet — had the impact Ayer was hoping for. —ABV

Winner: The couple that got engaged at the Con Man panel

At the end of the panel for Alan Tudyk's crowdfunded, Firefly-tribute-y web series Con Man, Tudyk brought the show's makeup artist Barry Bishop and his partner Billy Brooks up on the stage. The pair had sat through the entire panel and not said a word, and Tudyk was seemingly taking the opportunity to thank them for working on his show. But it turned out that Bishop had other plans.

I'm not crying, you're crying. (OK, I'm crying too.) —ABV