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San Diego Comic-Con 2019: The Biggest Sci-Fi Reveals

Several well-known faces from "Star Trek" will return for the new Jean-Luc Picard spin-off series.
Several well-known faces from "Star Trek" will return for the new Jean-Luc Picard spin-off series.
(Image: © CBS)

"Star Trek: Discovery," "The Orville," "The Expanse" and many more beloved sci-fi franchises took center stage at Comic-Con International: San Diego this past weekend, unveiling a treasure trove of new footage and long-awaited announcements for fans.

But if you missed any of the action, here's our helpful guide to the best bits of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019.

"Star Trek"

"Star Trek" went big at this year's Comic-Con with a panel at the legendary Hall H, a brand-new look at the spin-off series "Star Trek: Picard," and a first look at the new "Star Trek: Shorts" and "Lower Decks" series.

First up at the "Enter the Star Trek Universe" panel was "Discovery." Sadly, not all of the cast members were able to attend, but star Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham) was joined by executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who said that in season 3, there would be things we recognize and things we won't recognize. But, he reassured the crowd that despite being set far into the future, the new season episodes would adhere to canon. 

(Image credit: Lilja J/CBS)

It was also announced that season 3 will introduce a new character named Book, played by David Ajala of "Supergirl." Ajala, who was also on stage,said that his character is mischievous, breaks the rules a little bit, and appears at the beginning of the season. Martin-Green did say that at the start of the season, they do not arrive safely at Terralysium as was intended and are somewhere totally different. Ajala added, "There are big problems on the other side of that wormhole."

Because of its shooting schedule, there has historically been more information on "Discovery" available at New York Comic Con in October, so look out for that in a few month's time.

During the panel, it was also revealed that, just like last year, there will be another round of "Star Trek: Short Treks" accompanying "Discovery." However, unlike last year, there will be six shorts instead of four.Ethan Peck (Lt. Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (Number One) took the stage to announce that they will be appearing in upcoming episodes alongside Anson Mount (Cpt. Christopher Pike). 

These six shorts will be titled "Ask Not," "Children of Mars," "The Girl Who Made the Stars," "The Trouble with Edward," "Ephaim and Dot" and "Q&A." 

Moreover, two of these shorts will be animated, one will feature tribbles, one will include a trapped-in-an-elevator scene between Spock and Number One, and the last will be linked to "Picard" and provide some background information on the life of Jean-Luc Picard between the events of this series and "The Next Generation."

Star Trek: Lower Decks will introduce some comedy into the “Star Trek” universe. (Image credit: CBS)

There was still more to come; details about "Lower Decks" were revealed. The half-hour long animated show from Mike McMahan is about a group of four Ensigns on what he described as "a not important ship in Starfleet." The craft, the U.S.S. Cerritos, is a California-class ship, a new type of starship created for the show. The main characters are Ensign Beckett Mariner (voiced by Tawny Newsome), Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid), Ensign Tendi (Noël Wells) and Ensign Rutherford (Eugene Cordero).

Finally, the panel moved to "Star Trek: Picard"; many members of the cast of the new "Next Generation" spin-off series were in attendance, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd and Evan Evagora.

In a surprise reveal that no one was expecting, it was announced that Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Martina Sirtis will appear in the new series as Data, William Riker and Deanna Troi, respectively. Joining them are Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Del Arco; Ryan played Seven of Nine on "Star Trek: Voyager" and Del Arco played the memorable Borg drone Third of Five/Hugh in "The Next Generation" episodes "I Borg" (S05, E23) and "Decent" (S07, E01). Spiner, Ryan and Del Arco were brought out as surprise guests during the event, much to the delight of the fans packed into Hall H.

These announcements raise a few questions. Namely, since Data was destroyed in "Star Trek: Nemesis," is this the Data prototype B4? We shall see.

The 10-episode "Star Trek: Picard" series will premiere in late 2019 on CBS All Access in the U.S., on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories, and in Canada on Bell Media's Space and OTT service Crave.

"The Orville"

Principal photography doesn't start on season 3 of "The Orville" until later in the year, so sadly, there was no new trailer at SDCC. 

Season 2 gave us some memorable highlights; The premiere episode "Ja'loja," was arguably the best of the entire season, and the thrilling two-parter "Identity" gave us one of the best space battles ever seen on the small screen.

Both seasons of the series also had an impressive list of directors behind the camera, including Jon Favreau (director of "Iron Man"), Robert Duncan McNeill (actor in "Star Trek Voyager"), Brannon Braga (writer and director of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") and Jonathan Frakes (director of "Star Trek: First Contact").

There was, however, some news that no one was expecting. The third season wasn't officially green-lit until May of this year — relatively late in the process. Many fans were concerned that after Disney bought Fox, "The Orville" might not survive the transition. 

The entire crew of the U.S.S. Orville attended the panel and it was announced that season 3 of "The Orville" will no longer be on Fox, but exclusively on Hulu instead. This makes some sense, since Disney owns Hulu, but it will mean that a subscription to that streaming service will now be required to watch the show. 

However, there is an upside to this news: In a tweet earlier this week, the show's creator Seth MacFarlane said, "For me, episode length is really the one and only thing that makes the traditional broadcast model frustrating at times. It forces you to cut every story to exactly 42 minutes. With all the work we put in, I like having the option to let #TheOrville breathe a bit for season 3."

So, we may be looking at "The Orville 2.0" as a result of the different structure between network and streaming television. It's not yet clear when season 3 will premiere, but it's looking more and more like it will be mid-season next year.

"The Expanse"

It's been some time since we heard anything about this epic sci-fi series since it was cancelled on Syfy and picked up by Amazon Prime Video following a massive effort from fans to save it.

Guests at "The Expanse" panel included Steven Strait (Holden), Wes Chatham (Amos), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Cas Anvar (Alex), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata) and writers Naren Shankar, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham.

But more importantly, there was a brand new trailer.

Season 4 of "The Expanse" premieres on Amazon Prime Video starting December 13.

Marvel

A number of announcements were made at the big Hall H Marvel event. The studio announced 10 new movies and TV shows that will make up Phase 4 over the next two-and-a-half years, the first of which is"Black Widow" on May 1, 2020. The assembled crowd was treated to a trailer for that, but it is not yet available online.

In the upcoming film, Scarlett Johansson will return as Black Widow and joining her will be David Harbour as Alanovich Shostakov (a.k.a Red Guardian), Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova (the second Black Widow), O-T Fagbenle as Mason and Rachel Weisz as Melina.

A new Thor movie,"Thor: Love and Thunder," was among the announced new line-up, and this time Natalie Portman will play the superhero, a hammer-wielding goddess of thunder. During the 2014 "Original Sin" comic storyline, Nick Fury whispers an unrevealed secret to Thor that causes him to lose the ability to wield Mjolnir. Unbeknownst to Odinson, Mjolnir has given Jane the strength to fight as Thor while it is in her possession.

Portman will be featured alongside Chris Hemsworth (the star of the three prior "Thor" movies) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie). The movie will be directed by Taiki Wiatiti and include the first LGBTQ superhero (Thompson's Valkyrie) in the Marvel Comics Universe. There will also be a "Hawkeye" TV Series coming to Disney+ in the fall of 2021. At the end of the panel, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that Blade will also be joining the MCU, and that he will be played by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali.

"Project Blue Book"

The History Channel's hit UFO drama series returned to San Diego Comic-Con in preparation for its upcoming second season. Series stars Aidan Gillen (Dr. Hynek), Neal McDonough (Cpt Quinn) and Laura Mennell (Mimi Hynek) were on the panel along with the show's producers, and a new teaser trailer was shown.

"The Boys" 

Amazon's "The Boys" has also been renewed for a second season, even before its July 26 premiere. The series follows a group of vigilantes who set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers. Karl Urban stars; he's joined by Elisabeth Shue and Chace Crawford.

"Snowpiercer"

Finally, after years of production stopping and starting, the first trailer for the "Snowpiercer" TV series was shown. Based on the underrated 2014 film, starring Chris Evans, Alison Pill and Ed Harris, the remnants of humanity exist on a single massive train constantly travelling across on the surface of a frozen Earth. The series will pick up the story a couple of years later, and will star Jennifer Connelly; it is slated to begin in the spring of 2020.

"The Terminator"

We didn't get a new trailer for Tim Miller's upcoming "Terminator: Dark Fate," but at a panel on Thursday, he showed a behind-the-scenes featurette that showed off plenty of new footage and action. The film hits theaters on November 1st.

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