What did Comic-Con 2019 preview about women in entertainment?
Every July, tens of thousands of people flock to San Diego for Comic-Con International. Established in 1970 as a fan convention focusing on comic books and sci-fi, it has since evolved to be seen as a major professional conference breaking news about pop culture and entertainment across all genres. In case you weren’t in attendance this past weekend, here are just some of the female-focused announcements and panels to have come out of “SDCC.”
ReFrame Rise Fellow Hanelle Culpepper debuts trailer for her first pilot, “Star Trek: Picard,” one of the best-received trailers from the entire convention
Culpepper is the first woman to launch a “Star Trek” series, and “Star Trek” Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman has praised her for being a “gifted and dynamic filmmaker whose directorial choices are always deeply rooted in character.”
“One Day at a Time” producer/writer Gloria Calderón Kellett announced as ReFrame Ambassador
Alison Emilio, Director of ReFrame, on Women Rocking Hollywood panel
Emilio was joined by Liesl Tommy (director, RESPECT, “The Walking Dead”), Gloria Calderón Kellett (co-creator/writer/director, “One Day at a Time”), Catherine Hardwicke (director, TWILIGHT, MISS BALA), Cheryl Dunye (producing director, “Queen Sugar”), Jen McGowan (director, RUST CREEK; founder, Glass Elevator), Angela Robinson (producer/writer/director: “True Blood,” director: PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN), and C Fitz (director, JEWEL’S CATCH ONE, “Queen Sugar”). Moderated by Leslie Combemale (creator: WomenRockingHollywood, journalist: Cinema Siren website).
ReFrame Ambassador Catherine Hardwicke shared about her new series, “Don’t Look Deeper,” set for an April 2020 debut on Quibi. Read more about the panel at RogerEbert.com.
Chloé Zhao (THE RIDER, 2017) announced as director of Marvel Phase 4 film THE ETERNALS
The 2020 film will star Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, and will feature the first MCU character with a disability, who will be played by Deaf actor Lauren Ridloff (“The Walking Dead”).
Natalie Portman announces return to the MCU in Taika Waititi’s 2021 THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER
Portman’s character, astrophysicist Jane Foster, will follow the trajectory of a comic book storyline, wherein she’s deemed worthy to wield the hammer Mjolnir, thus taking on the title of Thor, Goddess of Thunder.
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER’s Valkyrie will be the MCU’s first openly LGBTQ character
Tessa Thompson will be reprising her role as the Asgardian who is written as bisexual in the comic book source material.
Director Cate Shortland‘s BLACK WIDOW release date announced: May 1, 2020
The Scarlett Johansson-led feature will co-star Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh.
Other Marvel stars and actors announced include Elisabeth Olsen in the Disney+ series “WandaVision,” the as-yet-uncast Kate Bishop in “Hawkeye” on Disney+, and Awkwafina in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Sequels have been announced to CAPTAIN MARVEL and BLACK PANTHER, with details still speculative.
News from the DCEU and Beyond
- The trailer for this Fall’s “Batwoman” series debuts, starring Ruby Rose; the character is an out lesbian
- Adult animated series “Harley Quinn” will feature the voice talents of EP Kaley Cuoco, and Women In Film Board Member Lake Bell
- Season 5 of “Supergirl” sees a practical costume change for the heroine (played by Melissa Benoist)
- Jennifer Connelly to star in series adaptation of Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film SNOWPIERCER
- Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich to adapt “The Witcher” video game to series for Netflix
Got FOMO? Looking to connect with professionals who addressed issues of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion at Comic-Con this year? Maybe you’re seeking IP that’s about or created by women and girls? Click the names of the panels below to see which people and organizations were involved.
Film & TV
Meet the talented women changing the status quo in film and television projects like “Game of Thrones,” “Better Call Saul,” “The OA” Part II, “Watchmen,” SPACE JAM 2, CLUELESS, “Santa Clarita Diet,” “Unikitty!,” ENCHANTED, “BoJack Horseman,” “Black Monday,” SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, FAHRENHEIT 451, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, RAMPAGE, and more! Get insight from famed composers, costume, production, and sound designers on how they use their craft to champion for women empowerment, diversity, and inclusion in entertainment. These fearless women are revolutionizing Hollywood and they’re here to stay. Panelists include Paula Fairfield (“Game of Thrones”), Judy Rhee (“Better Call Saul”), Mona May (CLUELESS, ENCHANTED, “Santa Clarita Diet”), Meghan Kasperlik (“The OA” Part II, “Watchmen”), Melissa Bruning (SPACE JAMS 2, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES), Anna Drubich (SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK), Anna Hollingsworth (“Unikitty!,” “BoJack Horseman”), and more. Moderated by Chandra Feltus (partner and director at Neer Motion) and Fiorella Occhipinti (cinematographer). Introduction by Impact24 PR’s Andrea Resnick.
Comics, Games, and More
Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn. Comic book women have been kicking ass across panels and pages for decades. But what is the secret sauce that makes some of these characters take off and other fall flat? Ming Chen (cast member, AMC’s “Comic Book Men,” I Sell Comics! podcast), Amy Chu (writer, Poison Ivy, Red Sonja), Alitha Martinez (artist, Batgirl, Black Panther: World of Wakanda), and Terry Moore (creator, Strangers in Paradise, Motor Girl) analyze the key ingredients of successful character building and discuss the challenges of writing and drawing for today’s audiences.
Many people love manga but sometimes don’t see themselves represented as often as they’d like—or even at all. TOKYOPOP will host a discussion about the importance of increasing diversity in manga titles and give attendees a preview of upcoming International Women of Manga releases.
Brad Ricca (Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, Super Boys), Trina Robbins (Last Girl Standing, The Great Women Cartoonists), Alex Grand (CBH), and Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson (DC Comics Before Superman) discuss the legacy of heroines Miss Fury, Sandra of the Secret Service, and Sally Norris of Bart Rega, Spy, all of whom appeared before Superman and Wonder Woman.
Sydney Heifler (The University of Oxford) uses the historical treatment of romance comics as a case study of how both individual and collective memory affect the historiography of Western comics. Kathleen McClancy (Texas State University) examines how The Coldest City and Velvet engage with Cold War nostalgia to challenge the idea that either espionage or comics themselves were ever just for men. Sam Langsdale (University of North Texas) argues that Marvel’s America queers normative depictions of mainstream superheroes to reevaluate what qualities make a superhero admirable in nonnormative, and thus ultimately more inclusive, ways.