Ranking San Diego Comic Con 2018 Trailers, From Worst to Best
The superhero costumes are back in the closet, the exclusive Pops are on the shelf and all the comic books have been put in their protective slip cases. The 2018 edition of the San Diego Comic Con is over – which means it’s time to assess what we’ve seen – and what we’ve learned – from the biggest movie and TV trailers to premiere at this year’s SDCC. Just because HBO and the MCU took a pass on the annual event doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a ton of exclusive sneak peeks, courtesy of everyone from FX to Warners. (To be fair, there was a Marvel presence in the house – the folks behind the Venom and Into the Spider-Verse trailers have not released there clips online yet, however.) And while some of them had us salivating (that Godzilla sequel teaser!!!), others left us colder than a decomposing TWD walker.
Here are the top 10 Comic Con trailers to hit the Web, ranked worst to best.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald
The Gist: The sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them promises more beasts … and a Depp charge.
What It Showed Us: Fans of the Potterverse, rejoice! The second film in this new franchise revisits the history of Eddie Redmayne’s legendary Magizoologist Newt Scamander; the villain this time is Johnny Depp, in full white-hair, pigment-free drag as the dark wizard Gellert Grindewald. It’s Jude Law’s young Albus Dumbledore who steals the preview.
What We Learned: The original Potter films got darker as the series went along, and this trailer suggests the same approach with this series, if the violence and CGI-heavy action in this clip is any indication.
Level of Anticipation: 3/10. This feels a bit too much like something we’ve seen before … like eight other times, actually.
The Purge (USA Network)
The Gist: The Blumhouse franchise gets the TV adaptation treatment for USA, premiering September 4th. “What is America?” the trailer asks. Jesus, where do we even begin?
What It Showed Us: The 10-episode series will be another Purge origin story, asking viewers to consider once again what they would do if all crime was legal for 24 hours. How far would you go? And how quickly would society collapse?
What We Learned: Wealthy socialites are likely to behave badly; folks who make under $100k a year are just trying to survive the night. To be honest, it’s a noisy trailer that doesn’t really make clear what the show will be like or convince us we want over two months of purging. It does have a Baldwin though!
Level of Anticipation: 4/10. There’s a difference between Peak Purge and Purge Overkill.
Mayans MC (FX)
The Gist: Kurt Sutter returns to the violent biker world of his hit show Sons of Anarchy with this quasi-sequel.
What It Showed Us: Our first real look at the FX show co-created by Sutter and Elgin James that takes place in the same SOA universe, shifting its focus to the Mayans, a rival charter who rolls along the California and Mexico border.
What We Learned: JD Pardo plays “EZ” Reyes, an ex-con trying to rise in the biker gang’s ranks. Edward James Olmos shows up. And the show will continue Sutter’s penchant for using cover songs of classic rock songs (big up the Spanish-language version of “Paint It Black.”)
Level of Anticipation: 5/10. It looks a bit too much like a copy of Sons faded in the Southern California heat at first glance.
The Walking Dead (AMC)
The Gist: The zombie-horror TV juggernaut returns on October 7th for its ninth season. Expect inter-tribal drama among Rick Grimes and company. And zombies. Lots of ’em.
What It Showed Us: So much! Running nearly six minutes, this trailer gives us a long, hard look at where Rick, Carol, Daryl and the rest of the gang will be when the show returns. It does not tease exactly how our beloved hero will leave the program, but we get the feeling from this clip that it won’t be pleasant.
What We Learned: Enough time has passed since the Season Eight finale and the new run of episodes for Rick to get a bushy gray beard and for the Sanctuary to develop into a more recognizable civilization. Not enough time has passed, however, for folks to figure out what to do with Negan, who’s still in a basement cell and still offering those WTF platitudes of his. Rifts are growing, especially with the Saviours. And that tension you noticed at the end of last season among Rick’s friends and allies? Yeah, that’s getting worse as well. Also, make way for a whole host of newbies, including Dan Fogler and Into the Badlands’ Eleanor Matsuura.
Level of Anticipation: 6/10. For a show that’s almost a decade old, it still finds a way to sink its teeth into a loyal fanbase.
Doctor Who (BBC America)
The Gist: The timeless time-traveler series returns with its first female incarnation of the Doctor, in the form of Jodie Whittaker. It’s a real quick tease for the new season, but it definitely got people talking in San Diego.
What It Showed Us: It looks like the actress will slide into the TARDIS nicely as the teaser offered glimpses of the “new worlds” she will visit. It ends with what fans want to hear: “This is gonna be fun.“
What We Learned: Not much. It looks like the old Doctor Who but with some new faces and places – but the “new face” part is key. We’ve been waiting a long time for a female doctor. Whovians, let us hear you scream!
Level of Anticipation: 6/10. Only because it’s way too brief.
The Gist: An ordinary kid is chosen as champion and turned into the legendary lightning-bolt–wearing defender of the downtrodden known as Shazam. It’s kind of like those body-swap films of the Eighties like Big, only it’s a teenager in, like a superhero body instead.
What It Showed Us: Zachary Levi plays the teenage boy in a super-powered form, learning exactly what he can do and geeking out with his foster brother in tow – there are already more funny sequences in this trailer than the DC Universe has in the rest of their films combined. The Chuck actor also busts a move to Kendrick Lamar. Take that, Suicide Squad!
What We Learned: There are almost as many movies that make fun of superhero movies as there are supehero movies now, but this one has a clever new angle that still looks like it could hit all the right thrills-spills-chills spots.
Level of Anticipation: 7/10. What, you wanted a self-serious Shazam! or something?
The Gist: The man who would be king of Atlantis finally gets his own movie, spinning off from Justice League in a blockbuster that looks much brighter and, well, more fun than Zack Snyder’s entries.
What It Showed Us: Action! Style! CGI Waves! A Black Manta cameo! There’s something about a war, but it’s really a trailer designed to make the eyes pop more than anything else. This looks like it could be the Ragnarok of the DC world, thanks to the humor, the brighter design and some impressive-looking set pieces.
What We Learned: There are what appear to be some huge sequences teased, including thousands of nifty-looking sea creatures; it also gives you the impression that Jason Momoa is ready to carry his own film. Let’s hope this one swims instead of sinks.
Level of Anticipation: 8/10.Even though DC has burned us before, this looks like a blast.
The Gist: Based on a novella by Game of Thrones scribe George R. R. Martin, this SyFy thriller about deep-space explorers searching for alien life (and finding way more than they bargained for) premieres this fall.
What It Showed Us: Lots of creepy shit aboard a spaceship designed to save humanity. The Hugo award-winning novella was about a crew of scientists who learned their captain wasn’t playing with a full deck; the series looks significantly more horror-driven with echoes of Alien and Event Horizon.
What We Learned: It looks like another one of those shows in which the horror that’s already inside us is scarier than anything slithering out in the cosmos – but it’s got style to spare, a great cast and an intriguing premise. The idea of the sort of power struggles, corruption and lies that Martin is so good at in a fantasy setting being transposed to science fiction kicks our imaginations into interstellar overdrive.
Level of Anticipation: 8/10. Less dragons, more killer extraterrestrials!
The Gist: Remember that unexpected bombshell at the end of Split – the one that suggested a connection with M. Night Shyamalan’s offbeat 2000 superhero film Unbreakable? This is where those two worlds officially collide. It’s a trilogy, people!
What It Showed Us: Sarah Paulson working with David Dunn, ‘The Beast’ and Mr. Glass! She questions all of their beliefs that they are superhuman! Trust us, they are! So many exclamation points here!
What We Learned: Samuel L. Jackson pretty much lays it out when he says, “That sounds like the bad guys teaming up.” It appears to be about his Mr. Glass and James McAvoy’s split-personality killer, well, doing something together to convince the world that yes, Virginia, supervillains are real. Most of all, it’s a stylish, well-cut clip that gets the heart racing at the long-awaited return of Willis’ hood-wearing good guy and the overall potential of this team-up.
Level of Anticipation: 9/10. It’s a star-powered sequel to two of Shyamalan’s best films. Whaddya need, a road map?
Godzilla: King of Monsters
The Gist: It’s right there in the title: A direct sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 reboot of the jolly green radioactive giant, this one’s got more denizens of Monster Island – Mothra! Rodan! And is that Ghidorah we see? as well as the return of the big ol’ fire-breathing lizard.
What It Showed Us: Formerly hibernating creatures known as Titans are waking up, and humans are understandably worried they’re gonna make everything on the planet go boom.
What We Learned: Strangers Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler represent the humans; the skyscraper-sized moth, the original gargantuan angry bird and that three-headed dragon are batting for the monsters’ team. However, as the final line of the trailer makes clear, it’s all about Godzilla: “Long live the King.”
Level of Anticipation: 10/10. A perfect blend of nostalgia and action and very, very large monsters. It can’t come soon enough.