Two huge HBO genre shows are skipping the biggest fan event of the year.
For the first time since it debuted in 2011, Game of Thrones — arguably the most popular genre TV show in the world — will not have a panel at the San Diego event, the network tells EW.
Likewise, sci-fi drama Westworld, which is about to conclude its second season, isn’t going either.
The news is a blow to the massive July fandom event, which already has had other recent high-profile defections. In April, Marvel announced it was skipping its usual news-making Hall H Comic-Con showcase. And earlier this week, Starz’ popular time-travel drama Outlander declared it’s also staying home this year too (though it will go to the New York Comic-Con in October).
“Due to production schedules and air dates for Game of Thrones and Westworld, these series will not be presented at San Diego Comic-Con this summer,” HBO said in a statement. “HBO has a longstanding relationship with SDCC, and we are very grateful for the fans’ enthusiastic response over the years. We look forward to returning in the future.”
In the case of GoT, there are a few issues at play. First, the show is not airing in 2018, taking a year off for the first time as it films its hugely ambitious final season. With season 8 not airing until 2019, it’s a bit early to begin promoting the new episodes. Granted many other movies and shows go to Comic-Con months ahead of their release to start building buzz, but the difference with GoT is the wildly popular fantasy hit simply doesn’t need any promotional help. Another factor is the show is still in production on its final season, so many of the actors are rather busy.
In the case of Westworld, the second season will have just concluded and season 3 is probably a long ways off. HBO hasn’t said when the show will return, but the gap between the first two seasons was 18 months.
As for Marvel Studios, president Kevin Feige has previously explained, “We’re not going to Hall H this year. It will be an off year… which is what we did after Avengers 1 and what we’ve done every few years. There will be a tenth-anniversary presence at Comic-Con but [no Hall H panel.]”
Still, for fans going the ‘Con, it’s surely disappointing that major event brands in the fantasy and sci-fi space won’t be there. Next year will likely be different, at least for GoT. Though HBO hasn’t decided anything about 2019, it’s hard to imagine that at the cast won’t be back at the fan event to celebrate the show’s final season. And it’s really tough to imagine Marvel skipping two years in a row.