What is Comic-Con at Home 2020, or Comic-Con@Home, as it's officially known?
For the first time since 1970, there will be no Comic-Con in San Diego. Given the ongoing coronavirus situation, it’s no surprise that an event that is traditionally the antithesis of social distancing – hundreds of thousands of people walking, talking and queuing around a Californian convention center – has been cancelled for the only time in its 50-year-history.
But that doesn’t mean that the world’s pop culture fans have to forego their annual hit of exclusive panels and merchandise from the biggest, most famous convention on the planet. While we can’t go to SDCC in person this year, the first-ever Comic-Con at Home is bringing over 350 panels direct to our homes – and the best thing is, it’s totally free to view online wherever you are.
So ahead of the virtual geek jamboree that runs from July 22 until July 26, 2020, we'll explain what you can watch – and how you can watch it – at Comic-Con at Home 2020.
How to watch Comic Con at Home 2020
The good news here is that you can watch Comic-Con at Home 2020 without stumping up for a visitor pass, an airfare to San Diego or the exorbitant cost of a hotel room. All of the content is free to view and can be accessed online wherever you are. We’re hoping that also means you won’t have to negotiate any of Comic-Con’s infamous queues…
The daily schedules for the five days of the event are now available on the official Comic-Con website. Next to each panel listing there’ll be a YouTube link that’ll launch a page featuring the video of the panel – each event will be available from the date and time the panel is scheduled.
The panels will also be available on the official Comic-Con YouTube channel.
There’s no need to worry if you’re not free the weekend of the event – you’ll still be able to view most panels after Comic-Con at Home has finished, though some will only be available for a limited time. We’re assuming a few of the higher profile movie/TV panels will be among the latter.
And if you really want to recreate the SDCC experience, you can create your own Comic-Con badge – it won’t get you past any security guards, but attach it to a lanyard and you’ll almost feel like you’re there.
Comic-Con at Home 2020 date: when it takes place
The online Comic-Con at Home 2020 dates are the same as they would have been for the physical event in San Diego before coronavirus led to its cancellation – that means Wednesday, July 22 until Sunday, July 26, 2020. In keeping with the real thing, there’s programming across all five days of the con, with a slightly lighter Wednesday schedule.
Even the daily timing is broadly similar to the traditional SDCC, with the Thursday, Friday and Saturday panels running from 10am until 6pm (Pacific Daylight Time). Sunday’s programming wraps up at 4pm (PDT).
Comic-Con at Home 2020 schedule: what you can watch
There are over 350 panels taking place as part of Comic-Con at Home. Indeed, there’s so much on offer that, as is the case with the live events, there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy – whatever their niche in pop culture fandom. As a reminder, you can find the full Comic Con at Home 2020 schedule here, though it's a bit tricky to navigate.
In the SDCC tradition, the programming ranges from obscure corners of the comic book world to the biggest TV shows and movies on the planet. Expect star guests, exclusive video content and a few exciting announcements. The annual presentation of comic book Oscars the Eisner Awards will also take place in virtual form.
As for the highlights, we've picked some out below. Note that because panel times are scheduled in PDT, some of these may technically be available the next day depending on where you're watching.
Thursday, 23 July
A Look Inside Marvel's 616 on Disney Plus (9PM BST/1PM PDT) – Disney Plus previews its new documentary series Marvel’s 616, along with directors Gillian Jacobs and Paul Scheer.
His Dark Materials Virtual Panel and Q&A Session (9PM BST/1PM PDT) – The cast and creators of His Dark Materials talk about the BBC/HBO adaptation, and hopefully discuss season 2, too.
The New Mutants (10PM BST/2PM PDT) – The director and the stars of The New Mutants discuss bringing haunted house horror to the X-Men universe (assuming it ever actually comes out).
The Boys season 2 (11PM BST/3PM PDT) – Meet the brains behind the hotly anticipated second season of The Boys in a panel that includes pretty much the entire cast.
Friday, 24 July
The Walking Dead continues its long association with Comic-Con, with panels focusing on the original show (including the announcement of a release date for the season 10 finale), Fear the Walking Dead and new spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
First Look at Marvel's Helstrom (11PM BST/3PM PDT) – Hulu introduces its new Marvel TV series, Helstrom.
Charlize Theron: Evolution of a Badass - An Action Hero Career Retrospective (6PM BST/10AM PDT) – Charlize Theron looks back on her career in action cinema, following the recent release of The Old Guard on Netflix.
Saturday, 25 July
Constantine: 15th Anniversary Reunion (8PM BST/12PM PDT) – Keanu Reeves features in this panel about the not-exactly-faithful but well-liked adaptation of DC's Hellblazer comics, along with director Francis Lawrence.
For All Mankind (10PM BST/2PM PDT) – Get a first look at season 2 of the Apple TV Plus space exploration drama in a panel that features creator Ronald D. Moore of Battlestar Galactica fame, along with stars like Joel Kinnaman.
Blast Off with Disney Plus's The Right Stuff (9PM BST/1PM PDT) – This new Disney Plus scripted drama is about the early days of NASA, and the panel will feature the cast and crew.
Bill and Ted Face the Music (11PM BST/3PM PDT) – Reeves is also the star attraction in one of the biggest movie panels of the weekend, which also features Alex Winter, William Sadler, Samara Weaving and director Dean Parisot,
What We Do in the Shadows (1AM BST/5PM PDT) – Meet the cast and crew of the critically acclaimed vampire-themed comedy series, in this panel hosted by Haley Joel Osment.
Sunday, 26 July
A Conversation with Nathan Fillion (10PM BST/2PM PDT) – Comic-Con regular/legend Nathan Fillion looks back on his career, with special guest appearances from his Firefly crew mates.
Next (11PM BST/3PM PDT) – The new AI-themed sci-fi show coming later this year gets the first-look treatment.
Comic-Con at Home 2020: Marvel Studios and DC won't be there, among other absentees
While the TV offering is truly epic, the Comic-Con at Home 2020 schedule is rather light on major Hollywood movies, with Bill and Ted Face the Music and The New Mutants flying the flag for cinema.
That means some of the biggest new movies of 2020 are absent, including Dune, Bond outing No Time To Die and Free Guy. Particularly conspicuous by their absence are Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow – DC and Marvel are traditionally big hitters at San Diego, so it’s a little unexpected they’ve gone AWOL for this virtual event. Warner Bros is likely holding Wonder Woman back for the DC FanDome event on August 22.
That said, there’s every chance there’ll be some last-minute surprise additions to the schedule. After all, The New Mutants’ presence was only announced a week ahead of its Thursday panel, while Comic-Con has a long tradition of delivering the unexpected. It would be entirely appropriate if Comic-Con at Home stuck to that successful, headline-grabbing blueprint.
Comic-Con at Home 2020: it’s more than just panels
San Diego Comic-Con has never just been about the panels, of course – many visitors never even contemplate standing in line to watch a movie star, opting instead for a long weekend wandering around the convention floor, looking to pick up exciting merchandise from the hundreds of merchants selling their wares.
So even if that’s your preferred version of SDCC, Comic-Con at Home has you covered, with numerous retailers taking part in the first-ever Online Exhibit Hall. This interactive recreation of the San Diego Convention Center’s gargantuan exhibit hall will feature big names like Marvel, Lucasfilm and Hasbro, as well as independent comic book publishers.