Comic-Con hits: ‘Black Panther,’ Batman
SAN DIEGO — From “Black Panther” to Batman, “Stranger Things” to “Blade Runner 2049,” and “Ready Player One” to Rep. John Lewis, Comic-Con had something for almost every pop-culture appetite.
As the annual fan convention in San Diego wraps Sunday after four days of panels, presentations, screenings and autograph signings, here’s a look at some of the highlights.
BLACK PANTHER: The film won’t be out until 2019, but “Black Panther” swiped the most attention at Marvel’s presentation. Director Ryan Coogler and cast members Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis and Danai Gurira were on hand to debut a clip from the film.
Boseman, who introduced his Black Panther character in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” said the new film finds him returning to his home of Wakanda after his father dies. Nyong’o described her character as a spy who goes undercover to report back to the fictional isolated nation about what is going on in the rest of the world.
Marvel’s presentation also included early looks at the November release “Thor: Ragnarok” and next year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” And studio chief Kevin Feige announced that Michelle Pfeiffer was cast in the “Ant-Man” sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” also due in 2018.
BATMAN: There was a lot of Batman at Comic-Con, from Ben Affleck’s confirmation that he’ll continue to play the character to a star-filled tribute to the original “Batman” actor, Adam West.
Affleck refuted rumors that he would no longer play the character after ceding direction of “The Batman” to “War for the Planet of the Apes” director Matt Reeves. The actor also appeared alongside some of his “Justice League” costars, including Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (The Flash) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) as they showed footage from the film due in November.
West was celebrated by his fans and collaborators at a heartfelt tribute that featured Kevin Smith, producer James Tucker, actor Ralph Garman and “Catwoman” actress Lee Meriwether. Smith said he learned morality from West’s portrayal of Batman in the original TV series, and Meriwether said she was so dazzled by the actor during the making of “Batman: The Movie” that she nearly lost track of her performance — especially during a ballroom scene where they danced together.
“All I could think of was, ‘I’m dancing with Adam West,’ “ she said. “I probably blew one take and then I snapped out of it.”
STRANGER THINGS: The popular Netflix show took over the San Diego Convention Center’s largest exhibition hall to debut a new trailer for its anticipated second season. The show, set in the early 1980s, follows a group of kids trying to figure out how their friend mysteriously disappeared. Along the way, they meet an unusual girl named Eleven, who has telepathic powers.
Show creators the Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and star Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) and the other young actors in the ensemble: Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp.
“Stranger Things” also had a presence in downtown San Diego with an installation that resembled the show’s set and a virtual-reality experience that brought guests into the home of the missing boy and face to face with the monster that haunts him.
BLADE RUNNER 2049: Harrison Ford joked that he was out to reboot all of his iconic roles. The actor was on hand to present footage from “Blade Runner 2049,” in which he reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Ford said he gained a deeper understanding of his character in the sequel, which hits theaters in October.
Ford appeared alongside costar Ryan Gosling as the film’s panel.
“Blade Runner 2049” also hosted a massive installation away from the San Diego Convention Center where fans could experience the Los Angeles of the future through virtual reality and replication of key sets inhabited by actors wearing actual costumes from the film.
READY PLAYER ONE: Steven Spielberg has spent more than two years adapting Ernest Cline’s novel “Ready Player One” for the screen, and the filmmaker said he was proud to debut a new trailer inside Comic-Con’s biggest exhibition hall.
Actor Tye Sheridan stars in the story about a dystopian future where humans take refuge in a virtual-reality world.
For Cline, having Spielberg make a movie based on his book is a full-circle moment. “I learned how to be a storyteller because of this man,” the author said.
REP. JOHN LEWIS: Civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis led about 1,000 people on a march through the crowded San Diego Convention Center following a discussion of his trilogy of graphic novels about his participation in nonviolent protests during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s.
Lewis urged the many students in attendance to recognize that they, too, can make a contribution toward a better world. He said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., inspired him to “get in trouble — what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”
“Now more than ever before, we all need to get in trouble,” he said. “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to stand up, to speak up, to speak out and get in trouble.”
AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .