Break out your capes and cowls and stretch your free-hugging muscles. It's time for Comic-Con!
This Thursday through Sunday, thousands of people will descend on San Diego for the ultimate fan experience where cosplay is king and superheroes mingle with bronies.
As usual, the schedule is as long as the line that's sure to form outside of Hall H. But whether you're headed to the 'Con yourself or just following along on the internet, here are 12 things worth keeping an eye on:
1. Batman's 75th anniversary celebration
Holy senior citizen! The Dark Knight has been protecting Gotham—and the world at large—for three-quarters of a century, and we expect to run into Caped Crusaders and Boy Wonders around every corner. Events will include the world premiere screening of Fox's Gotham (set in a pre-Batman era), a slew of comic book panels, a Batman: Arkham Knight video game release, and more.
2. Scotsmen in kilts
Starz's highly anticipated series Outlander will make its world premiere at Comic-Con, with series stars Catriona Balfe as the time-traveling Claire and Sam Heughan as her Scottish warrior Jaime in attendance. Expect lots of swooning lads and lasses. Accompanying panels for celebrating both the series and author Diana Gabaldon will spread the Highlander word far and wide.
3. MARVELous revelations
Marvel has been a busy machine lately, and in case you missed it, the studio recently announced the release dates for five new movies. We fully expect to learn the title of at least one, if not all, of the films (such as Black Widow, perhaps?). And maybe the studio could announce more casting for ABC's upcoming Agent Carter, as well as casting for Doctor Strange, whom everyone expects will be Benedict Cumberbatch?
4. A Justice League of their own
Beyond its Batman-specific properties, DC has its hands full with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is setting the stage for the Justice League. So far, we know casting for Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), but we're still waiting to hear definitive word on Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. We're hoping for at least one casting tidbit and other sneak-peek images from the upcoming film.
5. Dorne in all its glory
We'll get the opportunity to say farewell to our dearly departed Red Viper, since actor Pedro Pascal will show his (unmangled) face at the Game of Thrones panel, which will be moderated by Craig Ferguson. Looking ahead to Season 5, the sunny kingdom of Dorne will be a big part of the story, and we'd love it if HBO teased us with a few first looks shot in Spain and revealed casting for Prince Doran Martell and the "Sand Snakes"—Oberyn's hot-blooded and vengeful bastard daughters.
6. Frozen treats straight outta Storybrooke
The behind-the-scenes photo of Georgina Haig in character as Elsa on Once Upon a Time only whetted fans' appetite—or skepticism, depending on your opinion of Disney's latest synergistic play—for all things Frozen. Still, we'd be eternally grateful for a full-blown look at the rest of the cast in character, or perhaps a peek at the wintry Arendelle itself.
7. Dan Harmon topping himself
The creator of NBC's beloved comedy Community once made a grand entrance at Comic-Con as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and now that the show has been saved by Yahoo Screen and resurrected for a sixth season, we expect more over-the-top madness from the madman. The show's panel will celebrate Human Beings everywhere, while also discussing when and how the hoped-for movie could happen and what the transition to Yahoo might entail.
8. A Hannibal amuse bouche
The bloody tasty NBC drama ended on a major cliffhanger with every major player except Dr. Lecter at death's door. We hope the panel will allay some of our fears about who survives, and we're hoping that the "surprise" mentioned on the agenda will be an appearance by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, who aren't listed as participants.
9. A Sherlock reunion?
The next installment of The Hobbit will get a preview, and since Cumberbatch will be in town anyway for the Penguins of Madagascar panel, it only makes sense for him to use his Comic-Con time to the fullest by promoting his dual role as dragon and necromancer. (You know, after he's announced as Doctor Strange.) Martin Freeman could complete the bromance with an appearance, since Sherlock is sadly not paneling this year.
10. An expanded zombie apocalypse
The Walking Dead Escape obstacle course returns to the Con to provide a dose of cardio and terror at Petco Park. (See how you can run for your life here.) Meanwhile, the series itself will have a panel to discuss the upcoming season. Sure, the cast and producers may dance around the whole cannibal issue, but as long as they give more details on the upcoming spin-off, we'll be happy survivors.
11. Bloody farewells
True Blood is currently airing its final season, and Sons of Anarchy will kick off its revenge-filled swan song on September 9. Before meeting the true death, their presence at Comic-Con will offer fans a chance to look back and mourn. Also: Who's ready for some fangbanger and SAMCRO cosplay?
You can't sneeze at Comic-Con without Chris Hardwick saying "Gesundheit"; that dude is everywhere. Besides moderating a number of panels, the hashtag-happy host will hold his own events at the Balboa Theatre, including a live edition of his Comedy Central game show @midnight and a taping of the Nerdist Podcast.
What are YOU looking forward to at Comic-Con this year?