San Diego Comic-Con's Thanksgiving event faces backlash

A cosplayer at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019

A cosplayer at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019
Photo: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

At the beginning of this month, the organizers behind San Diego Comic-Con announced that they would once again be skipping the traditional in-person event in favor of another installment of the free Comic-Con@Home thing they did last year. However, either because nobody liked Comic-Con@Home in 2020 or because vaccine distribution has been going better than originally forecasted, the organization announced just a few days ago that it will also be holding a “Comic-Con Special Edition” at the San Diego Convention Center this fall that sounds a whole lot like a regular, pre-pandemic Comic-Con on a slightly smaller scale—even though we are still decidedly mid-pandemic and may still be mid-pandemic by the fall. So that was one issue with the “Special Edition,” but another issue was the specific weekend they chose to hold it on: November 26-28, a.k.a. Thanksgiving weekend, a.k.a. the first Thanksgiving weekend that a lot of people might actually be able to spend with their families since 2019.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a behind-the-scenes backlash has been building since this new event was announced (in addition to a front-of-the-scenes backlash, as detailed by our friends at io9) with “multiple studio, publishing, and publicity sources” quietly wondering why the hell Comic-Con thinks anyone would want to do this on freakin’ Thanksgiving weekend—though not in those exact words. An unnamed representative “for a studio that has hosted Hall H panels in the past” questioned “what actor or producer is going to give up their first post-vaccine Thanksgiving holiday with family to travel to San Deigo to publicize a project?” and another noted that people have already gotten Wonder Woman and The Mandalorian during the pandemic but “what we haven’t had is a hug from our parents and grandparents.”

A PR rep “with clients who have appeared in Hall H panels” (i.e. probably some superhero people) also said that actors are “refusing” to attend, but they “would likely come around if ordered to by a studio.” So if someone shows up to this thing and seems really unhappy about it, you might be able to do the math and figure out who to blame. Meanwhile, there’s the obvious issue of whether or not it will actually be safe to hold something like this in November—both in terms of putting people in a convention center and possibly flying them out to San Diego. Comic-Con seems willing to move this thing to another date, but that only illustrates how arbitrary this whole plan is. Case in point, THR says none of the big studios were even consulted about this Thanksgiving weekend thing ahead of time, and now they’re scrambling to decide if it’s even something they want to do.

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