Without Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Westworld, is Comic-Con losing steam?

Game of Thrones

San Diego Comic-Con is happening next month, and we’ll be the first to say that we could live in the Gaslamp Quarter if we could. We love the environment, the people, and pretty much everything about the convention, but this year, it seems to be missing something — or, quite a few things, actually.

To be specific, we’re starting to wonder if SDCC still has the same sort of must-attend feel to it that it did in the past for studios and networks. Game of Thrones is holding out while the final season is finished; meanwhile, Outlander is going to New York instead later in the year and Westworld isn’t turning up. Whether or not shows like Agents of SHIELD have a presence remains to be seen. Doctor Who has missed some years in the past.

So what’s happening here? It may seem like there is a crisis with Comic-Con, and in some ways there could be, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

With all shows, there is merit in going to Comic-Con, mostly in that it’s a tremendous promotional platform. There are tons of major media outlets there, fans willing to tweet about everything under the fun, and really a place where you can tons of people cheering for you in auditoriums of various sizes. Yet, there are also some drawbacks. For starters, it comes with a pretty high cost, especially for shows filming in other parts of the country / the world. Not only do you need to pay for travel/accommodations for the cast and publicists, but there are also security costs and whatever you want to spend on some of your displays. It’s also a tough thing to schedule around if you are in production — shows on The CW often do it, but many others choose not to. Game of Thrones has picked certain cast members to come in the past depending on filming dates.

Another drawback is simply content — if you’re spending the money to have people attend, corporations want there to be something for people to show off. If Game of Thrones doesn’t have anything to really highlight, they don’t see the value in going. In the of Outlander, it’s really a matter of timing to bring the cast to New York closer to the actual premiere.

Do we think, in the age of social media, YouTube, and more global conventions, that Comic-Con holds the same value it once did? Probably not, but we see this year more as just a series of unfortunate coincidences for SDCC than anything else. Next year, the lineup may be a little more robust — and rest assured, there are plenty of great shows going like the entire Arrowverse, Wynonna Earp, and many more.

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