Comic-Con 2016 – everything you need to know

Awesome Justice League, Kong: Skull Island, Sonic 16-bit trailers and more!

It's Comic-Con International time again, but the big announcements and reveals resonate far wider than the bustling San Diego convention halls.

Comic-Con has evolved from a comic book fan's dream weekend to the place where many of the big pop culture events are revealed, including deep looks into new movies and TV shows and new trailers and announcements for games and other media.

We're sure to see a lot of big news coming out of the event all weekend, but you don't have to scour the internet for it: we'll drop all of the big, need-to-know news right here, so check back regularly and we'll have you covered.

First Justice League trailer

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a dour mess, confirming most of the criticism about director Zack Snyder's hand with tone and subtlety… but maybe the DC Cinematic Universe can bounce back. Maybe it can even stand toe-to-toe with Marvel and its Avengers-centric films.

That's the impression we are so very thankfully taking away from this first look at next year's Justice League, which will bring together Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman as a superhero team for the ages. It looks fun, unlike Batman v Superman, and just three minutes of clips already erases a lot of the damage of the last film. Here's hoping, at least. It's due out in November 2017, though.

And Wonder Woman too

Wonder Woman was one of the rare positives about Batman v Superman, and lo and behold, her upcoming standalone film looks extremely promising based on this first official trailer. It has something of a Captain America vibe, given the setting, but is packed full of big action moments and great dialogue.

Marvel still hasn't been bothered to give Black Widow her own film, yet DC has seemingly had no problem giving this badass heroine a proper showcase of her talents. Granted, great trailers don't always mean great films, but we're excited to see how Wonder Woman turns out come June 2017.

Sonic goes 16-bit again

What's old is hot again in gaming, and the former "big two" are mining their classics for new thrills. Nintendo has its NES Classic coming this holiday season, and now Sega has unveiled Sonic Mania, a new 2D entry that looks like it could've run on a Mega Drive/Genesis back when.

Sonic Mania keeps the old-school approach and offers a mix of brand new zones, remixed classic areas, a new Drop Dash move, and the three classic playable heroes. For anyone who has demanded that Sega go back to basics with Sonic, here's the ultimate realization of that. It's due out in 2017 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

And 3D too

That's not all for Sonic in 2017: at Friday night's 25th anniversary event, Sega also unveiled a teaser for next year's new 3D Sonic the Hedgehog entry, which apparently stars multiple versions of Sonic in a more serious, darker experience.

Sonic's modern adventures have been strongly hit-or-miss, so while Sonic Mania is easy to get excited about, we can't help but be a lot more reserved about what we're seeing here. Hopefully it'll be the 3D reboot that Sonic needs – and this one's coming to Nintendo's new NX console, too, in addition to Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Expect it later next year.

First look at Kong: Skull Island

Peter Jackson's reboot didn't stick, apparently, because King Kong is getting a fresh start next spring with Kong: Skull Island. And as this first trailer shows, it looks pretty spectacular, setting up an intense new origin story for the gigantic gorilla.

Surprisingly, it's set in the same universe as 2014's Godzilla, and is the next step that will ultimately lead to a Godzilla vs Kong film in 2020 (after the Godzilla sequel). With a killer cast headlined by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, and Tom Hiddleston, Skull Island seems to be well on its way to delivering big monster thrills come March 2017.

Luke Cage is coming

Comic hero Luke Cage ended up being one of the highlights of the excellent first season of Marvel and Netflix's Jessica Jones, and now he's getting his own series in just a couple months.

Mike Colter reprises his role as the ultra-strong, nearly-impenetrable New York Hero, and the Wu-Tang Clan-assisted trailer here does a nice job of setting up Cage's own starring turn. Mark your calendars now: the full first season drops on 30 September.

And Iron Fist is next

Netflix and Marvel aren't stopping there, either: sometime after Luke Cage, the dynamic media duo will debut Iron Fist, another series in the same cinematic universe.

Iron Fist is a martial arts master who can call on a mystical power, which sounds a bit less grounded than the other Netflix/Marvel series. Still, he's shared the page with Luke Cage a lot in the comics, and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly has its larger-than-life elements. Iron Fist is set to debut in 2017.

The Defenders, too

Of course, anyone who has been following the development of these series knows that it's all adding up to The Defenders, a crossover series that will bring together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First for an Avengers-esque superhero squad.

This teaser doesn't really show anything, unfortunately, but it does set the stage for the merging of these heroes' individual storylines, not to mention the collective threat that they face. The Defenders won't air until next year, and if we had to guess based on all the separate series in the works, we'd guess later in the year.

Also, Daredevil season 3

Not enough Marvel/Netflix news for you? Here's another exciting tidbit: Daredevil has been officially renewed for a third season of ultra-sensory beatdowns, following this spring's explosive second season.

For now, the teaser simply says that it's "coming soon," but next spring seems a likely target. Jessica Jones was already renewed for its second season, which could land in the same kind of timeframe, plus there's a standalone series based on The Punisher in the works. Luckily, we're not tired of any of this (yet).

The Walking Dead S7 trailer

Last season of The Walking Dead ended with a grim cliffhanger: the infamous Negan would pick one of the group to beat to death with his barbed-wire bat, and it could well be a major character. We don't now, which is why it's such a nail-biter of a conclusion.

Sadly, this first season 7 trailer doesn't spill the beans – we'll have to wait for October to see how it all goes down. But it does show some fresh sights and characters for the series, some of which will no doubt be familiar to fans of the original comics. 

Mr. Robot goes VR

Having fun watching Mr. Robot, the twisted, Fight Club-esque hacker drama? Given the technological bent, a VR experience seemed pretty appropriate – and sure enough, one debuted at Comic-Con this week.

In fact, it was briefly available via the Within app on the Oculus Store on Thursday, but it has since been pulled to allow Comic-Con attendees to have the semi-exclusive for the weekend. Luckily, the 12-minute narrative experience will apparently be available across VR platforms again starting next week. 

Marvel Ultimate Alliance returns

Some of the best Marvel Comics games of yesteryear – the two Marvel Ultimate Alliance entries – are coming back on Tuesday, 26 July with newly remastered versions for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The top-down beat-'em-up entries showcased huge rosters of characters and RPG-like upgrades, providing a wealth of replay value and plenty of amusing comic book action.

And Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is based on the Civil War comic arc, which was remixed for this year's Captain America: Civil War film. They won't be cheap, though, for several-year-old games: they'll sell for US$40 apiece or US$60 for the two-pack.