HBO made a surprising announcement on Thursday, June 14, and it's not sitting well with fans. Apparently, Westworld and Game of Thrones won't be part of San Diego Comic-Con. The news is pretty unexpected, and fans planning to attend this year's event aren't pleased. As The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, this will be the first time since Game of Thrones premiered that it won't be at Comic-Con.
The network provided a statement to Bustle and other outlets explaining why the shows wouldn't be included in the Comic-Con lineup. Apparently, it's all about scheduling, though that won't be much comfort to fans. HBO issued the following statement to Bustle:
"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 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."
While it doesn't sound like HBO is on bad terms with the convention, the statement will raise on major question in fans' minds. If season 8 is Game of Thrones' final season, does that mean the show will never be at Comic-Con again? It's not clear whether or not that will be the case, since it depends on when season 8 will premiere, and whether production will wrap before the next Comic-Con happens. Still, considering the fact that it is the show's last season, fans are understandably upset that it won't be represented at this year's event. (The news couldn't come at a worse time, either — TV Guide pointed out that the announcement comes on the anniversary of Jon Snow's June 2015 death.)
On the slightly positive side, though, this probably won't be the last time Game of Thrones is represented at Comic-Con in some fashion. Even if season 8 doesn't end up being discussed at the San Diego convention, there's still the Game of Thrones prequel on the way. And when things start moving forward for that series, it could definitely have a Comic-Con panel of its own. Plus, the one Game of Thrones prequel that HBO has already ordered a pilot for probably won't be the only GoT spinoff. There could be as many as three more Game of Thrones prequels, so one missed Comic-Con hardly spells out the end.
On the other hand, Deadline also reported that no other HBO shows will have Comic-Con presences, either. That's led at least one person to speculate (possibly jokingly?) that HBO could have its own convention plans for the future. Shondaland editor Kendra James tweeted about the possibility of an HBO-Con happening in 2020.
THR also noted that HBO's signature marketing activations, which allowed fans at Comic-Con to interact with shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld, also won't be present at this year's event.
Still, the news about HBO doesn't mean there will be any shortage of TV events at this year's Comic-Con. The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead are expected to have Comic-Con panels, according to Deadline. BBC America's Doctor Who, the History channel's Project Blue Book, and Syfy's Deadly Class and Nightflyers will also have panels at the event, THR noted. Nightflyers is based on another book by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, too, so fans can at least take a small comfort in the fact that Martin's work will still be represented at this year's Comic-Con. The new show won't replace Game of Thrones in fans' hearts, at least not yet, but when it comes to this year's event, it's definitely better than nothing.