Live from Comic-Con San Diego 2016

JULY 22, 2016, 6:30 P.M. 

San Diego Comic-Con is in full swing. We’ve got first looks of sci-fi fave "Valerian" and the"Wonder Woman" movie poster. Plus, experience the creepy "Walking Dead" display and get a sneak peek at the Marvel-inspired credit cards that fans can sign up for. We’ve also been geeking out over trailers for "Suicide Squad," "Snowden," "Luke Cage," and the new "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Stay with us as we bring you more news from the panels, crazy moments from the convention floor and exclusive photos.

Make Comic-Con 'Ha Ha Ha Again' is the best of this cosplay Joker collective 

 (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Watch Rihanna surprise Comic-Con and announce she's joining 'Bates Motel' 

 (Andy Kropa / Invision / AP)(Andy Kropa / Invision / AP)

All hail Rihanna, queen of SDCC 2016 and new "Bates Motel" cast member. 

In a development that no one could have predicted, Rihanna appears to be the reigning queen of Comic-Con without ever setting foot in San Diego. 

The massively popular recording artist all but secured the imaginary title with Friday afternoon's announcement that not only would the singer be appearing on A&E's "Bates Motel," but she'd be playing Marion Crane, the legendary role originally played by Janet Leigh in "Psycho."

At the "Bates Motel" panel, producer Carlton Cuse explained that this casting was five years in the making, and it was the plan to have Rihanna all along. He assured the crowd that even though last season saw the death of Vera Farmiga's Norma, she will not be gone as she will be a full-time cast member.

Here's the very video "Bates Motel" dropped on the unsuspecting crop of attendees. 

This was the third time Rihanna was prominently featured in a Comic-Con narrative this year. Her song "Sledgehammer," a collaboration with Sia, plays over the closing credits of "Star Trek Beyond," which kicked off Comic-Con festivities with an outdoor screening Wednesday night.

Rihanna will also play a guest role in Luc Besson's much-anticipated "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" to be released in 2017.

All in all, pretty impressive for someone who didn't even have to stare down a crowd in Hall H.

'Game of Thrones' season seven teaser takes you behind the Iron Throne 

Take a look at the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into turning "Game of Thrones" from a fantasy into a reality with this season seven teaser trailer. 

Here's Marc Bernardin's full report of the event, which he describes as "a warm bath of adoration," as well as what he found most surprising.

Starz releases first look at 'American Gods,' and all is right with the world 

Starz released its first look at the upcoming Neil Gaiman adaptation "American Gods" at its Friday Comic-Con panel, giving the world a glimpse of Gaiman's iconic novel as interpreted by show runners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. 

"American Gods" is a story steeped in mythology, pitting old gods against new, as they battle it out on the earthly plane.

The Comic-Con panel also introduced Kristin Chenoweth as the newest member of the cast, who will play Easter, one of the old gods. Previously announced cast members include Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Orlando Jones, Jonathan Tucker and Pablo Schreiber. 

The series is scheduled to debut on Starz in 2017.

'Bates Motel' to end after Season 5

Producers at the Comic-Con panel for A&E's "Bates Motel" on Friday announced that Season 5 would be the last for the show. 

In 2015, the series was renewed for a fourth and fifth season and seemed bound for a looming conclusion after the death of Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) at the hands of her son Norman (Freddie Highmore) late in Season 4.

The fourth season of the show averaged 1.5 million viewers and, with its final season, will become the longest-running scripted show in A&E history. 

Just because it's at Comic-Con doesn't mean it's good 

At Comic-Con International, the marketing folks can push things just a little too far. (Matt Cowan / Getty Images)At Comic-Con International, the marketing folks can push things just a little too far. (Matt Cowan / Getty Images)

The bigger something gets, the higher the potential for bad decisions. Case in point: There are some questionable advertising decisions on display at Comic-Con International 2016.

Remember, kids, just because you can brand something doesn't mean you have to. Or should.

For example, what are the chances that they're sleeping soundly at the Hilton this weekend?

Now, Southern California's insane heat makes this cliche marginally bearable today.

But does this combo make any sense? Any sense at all?

Seriously, how does a person think of that in the first place? What does "White Walker Mocha" even mean? (And do not mention the part where just for a second we forgot about the heat. It's still not right.)

Apparently beverages are an irresistible product-placement delivery system.

Though if cocktails are involved, maybe we shouldn't complain too much.

After all, the more people who roll the advertising dice at Comic-Con, the more likely someone is to come up with a result that is bad-joke hilarious.

Now if only we had some way to pay for any of this stuff ...

'Harry Potter' director (and Comic-Con newbie) David Yates talks 'Fantastic Beasts' 

Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," in theaters on Nov. 18. (Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros. Ent)Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," in theaters on Nov. 18.  (Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros. Ent)

Every year at Comic-Con, fans dressed as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger can be seen walking the convention floor in their wizard robes. But surprisingly, the man who directed the last four movies in the “Harry Potter” franchise has never actually been to the convention.

This year, though, David Yates will finally make the trip to promote his upcoming Potter spinoff, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Due in November, the film — which stars Eddie Redmayne as an eccentric wizard and is the first installment in a planned trilogy — is set in the Potter universe but tells an entirely new story with unfamiliar characters.

At the Warner Bros. panel Saturday morning, Yates will pull back the curtain a little on the J.K. Rowling-scripted film. He spoke to The Times about exploring uncharted territory in the Potter universe and being a Comic-Con newbie.


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