The nation’s largest media festival is shut down over continuing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and social distancing, another casualty of the season that has everyone scrambling indoors and staying at home!
For a minute perhaps, many eager cosplayers were wondering just how they might get away with incorporating their protective face masks into their outfits as they added the final details to their crafty ensemble in anticipating this year’s comic conventions. Unfortunately for those many eager fans, the word has finally come down that this year’s San Diego Comic-Con the annual gathering and celebration of genre fandom would be canceled due to the unset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The writing was on the wall as similarly styled events like SXSW were also closed down, and the organizers behind SDCC had to do something they’ve never had to do in the event’s 50-year history, and that was postponed 2020 to July 22-25, 2021. The San Diego Convention Center and the adjacent Gaslamp Quarter in the downtown area that gets taken over by more than 130,000 attendees are going to have to bide their time, and hope that the COVID-19 crisis will soon be over. Organizers had certainly hope that the event might be able to carry on.
Flashback! The cast of The CW hit "The Flash" attending SDCC in 2015 in preparation for the Second Season of their show. John Wesley Shipp who guest-starred as "Henry Allen" in that season, would return to show since as the Golden Age Flash "Jay Garrick" and reprise this role as "The Flash" from his 1990 CBS series in this past season's crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths".
It became all-too evident that wouldn’t be the case, and the decision was made to forgo the con in 2020, which was expected to bring in an estimated $88 million in revenue for the City of San Diego. With most of Hollywood’s productions shut down or their much-anticipated premieres pushed, as in the case of blockbusters like the Top Gun sequel which stars Tom Cruise, SDCC organizers were also betting it would be very difficult to guarantee any talent will be in attendance. Instead, organizers have promised that pre-purchased badges will be transferred.
SDCC is considered by many the official start to the comic-convention season, and many studios and networks have become dependent on the exposure that a captive audience of influencers attending the con is able to provide. Many of The CW’s hit primetime shows based on DC Comics characters have succeeded in the seismic introduction and impact they’ve made at SDCC in the past. With many of The CW shows currently halted due to the pandemic, the reality of how they’ll wrap their current seasons is in the air, certainly postponing any plans to promote the fall.
With so many creative minds dedicated to producing the event, perhaps there is some intermediate opportunity on the horizon and alternate engagement that can help to keep everyone optimistically open to waving their Geek Flag loud and proud! #StayTuned
San Diego Comic-Con will return in 2021. The festival is set for July 22-25. For more details go to www.comic-con.org.