By Darren Franich
October 09, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
Gene Page/AMC

New York Comic-Con looks set to have its biggest year yet, with a slate heavy on popular TV shows and celebrity appearances. Based in Manhattan’s Javits Center, NYCC has grown in importance over the last few years. Although it can’t compete with the San Diego Comic-Con for pure breadth of buzz, NYCC has developed its own distinctive personality in the last few years. (It’s also gotten a big boost from a certain mega-popular zombie show whose Halloween-season start dates match up perfectly with NYCC’s early-October berth.) If you’re going to NYCC, here are the hot-ticket events; if you’re just playing along at home, consider this a possible sneak peek at the next few days of Twitter trending topics. (Note: You can watch some of the cultier/non-Walking Dead events on the NYCC live stream.)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Saturday, 5:00 PM): The only announced speaker at the panel for ABC’s hit Avengers spinoff is Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, but this is Marvel, so expect at least one surprise. Since the panel runs an hour and fifteen minutes, that “surprise” might be a full episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. If questioned, expect Loeb to no-comment confirm the possibility of an Agent Carter series.

The Walking Dead (Saturday, 6:30 PM): AMC’s hit series always gives good panel, what with Andrew Lincoln’s British accent and Norman Reedus’ swooning charisma and the parade of producers promising more zombie fun. This year’s panel promises new footage, plus at least two audience questions about that Dead spinoff.

Oldboy (Friday, 6:00 PM): Spike Lee’s reimagining of the horrific South Korean revenge thriller is the biggest movie panel at NYCC this year, and it’s got a panel hosted by none other than EW’s own Clark Collis.

Sleepy Hollow (Sunday, 2:45 PM): Fox’s new supernatural procedural had a big first week and has maintained good ratings, but it’s still unclear whether it wants to be the more successful Second Coming of Fringe or Bones with more witches. (Neither sounds bad, really.) Expect some clarity from Hollow‘s first big post-premiere panel. The panel will be hosted by EW’s resident decapitation expert Kyle Anderson.

X-Files with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (Sunday, 4:00 PM): Fresh off a packed reunion panel at SDCC where they sat alongside several X-Files writers, Anderson and Duchovny are reuniting again for a just-the-two-of-us panel. Expect exciting reminiscences and a teasing hint about a definitely-in-the-works-maybe-probably X-Files threequel movie.

Archer (Saturday, 11:00 AM): The entire cast of FX’s animated spy riff will be onstage, along with creator Adam Reed. They’re all funny people, and Archer is funny, so presumably this panel will be funny. Unless it’s sad. In which case it will probably still be funny.

TimesTalks: Adventure Time (Sunday, 11:00 AM): New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff hosts a sitdown with creator Pendleton Ward and the cast and crew of the madcap Cartoon Network series.

Batman: Arkham Origins (Saturday, 7:45 PM): 2011’s Batman: Arkham City was a rare high point in the history of licensed videogames. (We declared it one of our favorite games of the last ten years.) That’s why we’re paying special attention to this panel for the Arkham prequel, which is made by a different team but promises an even more expansive take on the Dark Knight’s legend.

Rick and Morty (Saturday, 6:30 PM): This new Adult Swim series sounds bonkers. (Logline: Sociopathic scientist takes his grandson on wild adventures throughout the cosmos.) But this panel is extra exciting due to the presence of co-creator Dan Harmon, who is currently returning from his Community exile and is always good for exciting off-the-cuff statements.

Big Ass Spider! (Friday, 4:00 PM): You haven’t heard of Big Ass Spider? Get onboard, buddy! This panel is also hosted by Clark Collis, EW’s resident Big Ass Spider wrangler.

Sylvester Stallone (Every day, Every hour): Although not hosting a panel, Stallone will be on hand to sign autographs. It’s been a quiet couple months on the Stallone front, which means we’re overdo for some off-the-cuff Expendable 3 casting announcements and/or Planet Hollywood infighting.