In-person cancellations have not kept every event this summer from canceling entirely.  One of those is typically one of the summer’s biggest events, San Diego Comic-Con.  Events for SDCC 2020 are proceeding ahead beginning Wednesday, but this time providing an opportunity for fans of all things pop culture a chance to sit through the kinds of panels you might see were you to attend in person in any regular year–without standing overnight in lines.  You can even grab a lanyard off the rack, print your own badge (for you and your pets), cosplay with your family, and load the panels up on as big of a screen as you have.  It’s 350 panels over five days, beginning Wednesday, July 22, and wrapping up Sunday, July 26.  Check out all our suggestions for building your own fun convention week experience below.

The first step is downloading the app (if you have room on your already overstuffed android phone) or just look here at the SDCC 2020 website at the daily panel scheduling.  Just like any other year, you select the panels you want to attend, with the bonus that you can watch any and all whether or not they overlap.  This year you’ll see a lot more of the typical guests not doing panels this year (alas, no Doctor Who or Marvel movies casts) while many not normally hosting panels creating the virtual panels, and you’ll find far more comics related events this year (typically movies, TV, books, video games, and other content are featured with a bigger segment of the panels).  For example, Wednesday is almost entirely comics panels–yes, Comic-Con is focused on comics!  Also, a lot of the content this year will feature current issues (always a topic of SDCC panels), including fandom in the era of a pandemic.

Here are some highlights outside the extensive comics-related and current issues programming–you can bring your dog, cat, bird, rabbit, horse, etc. this year, too, but they need a badge (not really):

Star Trek: Discovery fans will see a table read of the season two finale “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2″ from the cast Thursday at 10 a.m. (Pacific Time), followed by unreleased future content from the series.  There will also be an extended first look at the animated series Lower Decks, along with a panel discussion featuring Patrick Stewart and key members of the cast of Star Trek Picard.

At noon Thursday, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost headline a panel about their new Amazon series Truth Seekers, and another panel features Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell and others discussing the series Duncanville.  Dafne Keen and Lin-Manuel Miranda are highlights of a panel discussing HBO’s His Dark Materials, and John Cusack and Rainn Wilson headline a discussion of their new Amazon series Utopia all at 1 p.m.  At 2 p.m., movie directors Robert Rodriguez (Alita: Battle Angel), Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World: Dominion), and Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick) will discuss their craft, and another panel will feature stars of the eagerly awaited movie The New Mutants.

Actress Charlize Theron is the star and subject of her own panel at 10 a.m. Friday.  The stars of History’s Vikings are back again for a panel discussing their final season, and Mattel will host a Hot Wheels toy panel, all at 11 a.m.  Actors from The Walking Dead will discuss an upcoming standalone episode at their panel at 1 p.m. followed by an introduction to a new spin-off series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond with Julia Ormond and others at 2 p.m.  And the voice actors of the animated series Archer will hold a panel at 5 p.m.  The annual Eisner Awards ceremony wraps the programming for Friday at 7 p.m.

Saturday, look for a panel about a new series Cosmos: Possible Worlds, featuring Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brannon Braga, and others at 10 a.m.  At noon, look for a Magic: The Gathering panel, and Diamond Select Toys and Gentle Giant will discuss new toys at their shared panel.  At 1 p.m. Guillermo del Toro will discuss his upcoming movie Antlers, and comic industry celebrates the life of Dennis O’Neil at a special memorial panel.   The cast of Family Guy, including Seth MacFarlane, and For All Mankind, including Joel Kinnaman, both have panels at 2 p.m.  The new Peacock channel’s original series Brave New World will host a panel starring Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Alden Ehrenreich and Killjoys’ Hannah-John Kamen at 3 p.m.  Cobie Smulders and the cast of Stumptown, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels will be talking about his new projects at their panels at 4 p.m.  And the stars of Wynonna Earp are back again for their annual SDCC panel at 5 p.m.

For the final day of programming, Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield will be talking about the animated series Hoops with cast members at 10 a.m.  A preview of Fox’s new fall series Next will be held at 11 a.m.  Paul Guinan, Anina Bennett, and others will discuss 500 years after the Aztecs in pop culture at a panel, and HBO Max will discuss its new Looney Tunes series, both at 1 p.m.  As with fandom fave Charlize Theron on Friday, Nathan Fillion will be the subject and star of his own panel at 2 p.m.

And, of course, there is much more than we’re highlighting here.  Go through the programming agenda and select what appeals to you.  You can also download the cool retro artist Shag’s Comic-Con Museum official fun book, including coloring pages, connect-the-dots, and a word find here, plus nine other previous fun books released this summer here.  You even have an alternate universe map of Artists Alley and the convention floor here–how it would have looked had SDCC proceeded as normal this year.

Need to enhance your experience?  Take time off work (if you’re still working in-person at an office).  Go all-out and print off all the room and access signs SDCC made available here especially for SDCC@Home, and every hour play loudly the audio notice recordings posted here.  Walk a treadmill for an hour then search all over the house another hour to find a bottle of water, and pay your spouse $10 for it.  Tap your badge at every room before entering.  Unfortunately you can’t replicate walking across the street from the San Diego Convention Center for lunch and eating some good fried fish and chips at Tin Fish or another great restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter District (or maybe you can–get that cookbook out and go for it, or check out the SDCC recipes posted here).

Stay at home, wear your masks if you’re out, stay safe, and sit back and enjoy this year’s San Diego Comic-Con at home.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg