SAN DIEGO – This year’s San Diego Comic-Con did not disappoint in terms of big names or pop-culture news.
Tom Cruise surprised everyone with the first trailer for "Top Gun: Maverick," even managing to upstage Arnold Schwarzenegger and a new “Terminator” flick. Angelina Jolie showed up, too, on a jam-packed Marvel superhero panel with Mahershala Ali, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman holding a toy hammer (before apparently holding the real Mjolnir in “Thor: Love and Thunder”). Patrick Stewart waxed philosophical about his “Star Trek” return. And Lin-Manuel Miranda made his first Comic-Con memorable with talk of singing with a bunny. (Excuse us, it’s an Arctic hare.)
But even after four days of nonstop madness, Comic-Con left us with these unanswered questions:
'Top Gun: Maverick': Tom Cruise surprises Comic-Con crowd with epic first trailer
How much money is 'It: Chapter Two' going to make?
Stephen King's first “It” in 2017 had the biggest box office ($327.5 million) of any horror movie in history, and “It: Chapter Two” looks to exceed even that with an impressive cast (James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader), seriously hair-raising scares, a choice release date (Sept. 6) with almost no competition, and lots of goodwill across the board. And don’t forget the powerful appeal of an evil clown: People love (and love to hate) Bill Skarsgard’s freaky Pennywise.
Will the next ‘Game of Thrones’ please stand up?
The departure of the HBO phenomenon has left a dragon-sized hole in fantasy TV fans' hearts and binge-watch planning, and a variety of shows were on hand at Comic-Con to showcase their wares.
Henry Cavill, aka Superman, is all about hunting monsters and making money in “The Witcher” for Netflix, which also touted its puppet-filled throwback “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.” And Amazon featured its fairy tale “Carnival Row” with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne.
However, the early “Thrones” heir apparent seems to be HBO’s “His Dark Materials,” an intriguing adaptation of the Philip Pullman books with Miranda and Ruth Wilson that features alternate realities and awesome armored bears.
'It was like an animal on set': 'It: Chapter 2' cast dish on Pennywise at Comic-Con
Just how cheesy will ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ be?
Aside from missing Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” the first footage had everything for those who still feel that nostalgic need for speed: beach sports with ripped dudes, raucous air men singing in a bar, lots of melodrama, really cool fighter-jet sequences, and Maverick (played by Cruise) being Maverick.
The sight of Cruise zooming along on a motorcycle wearing his signature grin, shades and bomber jacket put a grin on any old-school fan who’s been waiting 30-plus years for a sequel, and Cruise proves he hasn't lost much star power since then.
“Top Gun: Maverick” will definitely be a hit next summer, but Loggins had better be back, too.
Why didn’t we watch ‘Watchmen’?
Eleven years ago, the panel for director Zack Snyder’s big-screen adaptation of the seminal superhero-deconstructing 1980s comic book was one of the hottest tickets of Comic-Con.
This year, “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof’s HBO “Watchmen” series (premiering in October) was represented by a large blue augmented-reality contraption parked at the home-plate gate of the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park. That’s it, aside from some guerilla-marketing posters around town.
“Watchmen” is still a fan-favorite franchise for the Comic-Con faithful, and a presentation would have been a must-attend event – instead, the immersive and cool first trailer for the show simply dropped online Saturday morning. Perhaps they wanted to keep the show’s air of mystery, but it was a lost opportunity for a huge moment.
Has Disney+ already won the streaming wars?
Marvel won Comic-Con yet again with a 90-minute panel where the entire Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was revealed to fans – not to mention passing references to “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” sequels, as well as a reboot of the Fantastic Four and tease of the X-Men.
However, what played as much of a role as the theatrical projects were the series coming to Disney+ featuring “Avengers” stalwarts – five of them in all between now and 2021, including “Loki” starring Tom Hiddleston and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Unlike the Netflix Marvel series, these shows will lead to things happening in the movies, and vice versa, making them as integral to the Marvel saga as the films themselves.
So between the Marvel shows and “Star Wars” projects like “The Mandalorian,” Disney+ (which launches in November) is already looking pretty unstoppable.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Comic-Con: Will 'Top Gun' be a cheesefest? What's the next 'Thrones'?