Another major annual milestone has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its 50 year history, San Diego Comic-Con International will not happen in any form this year. While some other events have tried to transition to virtual versions, the organizers of Comic-Con have opted to cancel the event altogether.
Well, it finally happened: Comic-Con is cancelled. The decision to cancel the in-person gathering of thousands in San Diego has been inevitable for a long time, but we were wondering if the organizers would try to mount some sort of virtual version of the convention, with video-conferenced panels featuring film & TV stars and comic book luminaries, but that’s not in the cards. Instead, Comic-Con will return from July 22-25, 2021.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”
If you purchased a badge to attend this year’s convention, or if you are an exhibitor who had a pass to attend, you’ll have the option to either request a refund or transfer your badge to Comic-Con 2021. An official email will be sent out within the next week with instructions on how to do this. All hotel reservations made through onPeak, SDCC’s official hotel affiliate, will be automatically cancelled and refunded over the next few days, and if you are affected, you’ll be notified when your refund has gone through.
“Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, [organizers] had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer,” says a statement on Comic-Con’s official website. “Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year. Similarly, WonderCon Anaheim, which was to have been held April 10-12, 2020 will return to the Anaheim Convention Center from March 26-28, 2021.”
How will this impact the opening of the Comic-Con Museum, which was slated to open in 2021? According to an e-mail from the museum:
The development and opening of the Comic-Con Museum will act as a catalyst to reopen one of the world’s best urban parks and a destination city known world-wide. Some of the proposed Phase I renovations will shift, but this will not scale back the visitor experience. Our 2021 grand opening is still on track and you will soon see building plans that illustrate this transformation. To ensure we stay connected in this new reality, the Museum will introduce new and creative digital ways to bring the magic of Comic-Con to you all year-round.
The big question now is: does this mark the beginning of the end for Comic-Con in its current form? With events like D23 and Star Wars Celebration gaining popularity, and studios cutting back on spending during this pandemic, will this be the moment that studios reassess how they’re spending their money and decide that it’s no longer worth it to advertise their films in this way? Don’t get me wrong: the convention will be around for years to come, and TV shows might even complete a total takeover of Hall H. But I do wonder if the era of every major studio rolling into San Diego to debut footage might be forced into early retirement because of this whole situation.
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