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Steampunks Head for Comic-Con

Steampunk panels and sneak previews are on the bill at the massive pop culture convention

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Steampunk fans at this weekend’s Comic-Con International will have a chance to preview a couple of highly anticipated TV series amid a massive program of panels, TV/movie screenings, and more. The con, which typically draws more than 130,000 attendees, runs July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center and other venues in the area.

Amazon Primes New Series

Perhaps the biggest attraction will be the Amazon Prime Video Experience, a 60,000 square-foot multi-level structure near the convention center. It will feature screenings and immersive experiences related to three series: The Expanse, The Boys — and of prime interest to steampunk fans — Carnival Row. The latter, set to premiere August 30, stars Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne as characters in a dark Victorian fantasy world.

Throughout the weekend, attendees will be able to enter “The Forbidden Lounge,” a hideaway that provides a safe haven for Carnival Row’s oppressed fantasy creatures. On Saturday night, Amazon is hosting a Carnival Row Party and a preview of the series, but tickets to that event are already sold out.

Scenes from all three series will be played on giant LED screens mounted on a 40-foot tower.

Inside the convention center, cast and crew of Carnival Row will participate in a panel and sneak preview on Friday at 4:45 p.m. Participants include Bloom and Delevingne along with co-stars David Gyasi and Tamzin Merchant, plus executive producers Travis Beacham and Marc Guggenheim. It’s slated for Ballroom 20.

You can get additional details from the SDCC Unofficial Blog. And you can get a taste of the upcoming series from these trailers.

HBO at Comic-Con

James McAvoy in His Dark Materials

Photo courtesy of HBO

Comic-Con is also hosting a panel on His Dark Materials, the forthcoming HBO/BBC series based on Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy. Participants include series stars James McAvoy (Lord Asriel), Dafne Keen (Lyra), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Lee Scoresby), and Ruth Wilson (Mrs. Coulter), along with executive producer Jane Tranter. It’s set for Thursday, July 18 at 4:45 p.m. in Hall H. An autograph signing is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

Northern Lights, the first novel in the trilogy, was also the inspiration for The Golden Compass, Chris Weitz’s 2007 film. Though not strictly steampunk, the novel and film had steampunk elements such as Victorian-era styling and airships, and these can also be seen in a new trailer of His Dark Materials released for Comic-Con. The series is set to debut later this year.

Comic-Con will also have panels featuring cast and crew from Game of Thrones and Westworld.

However, there’s no word about The Nevers, another forthcoming HBO series about a gang of Victorian women with unusual abilities. The series will be led by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, who has described it as “maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created.” It’s slated to premiere in 2020 (at least according to the IMDb profile), with Laura Donnelly as the series lead.

Other Programming

The program also includes two steampunk panels. “Supernatural Steampunk” will feature a discussion of the “dark side of steampunk” with author Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Brass Planchette owners Carol and Emily Taylor, and “Vampyre Fashionista” Lady Shadow. Anastasia Hunter of the Gaslight Steampunk Expo will serve as moderator. It’s set for Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, Grand 10 & 11 meeting rooms.

In “Steampunk Them Up,” Lady Mechanika creator Joe Benitez will demonstrate the art of creating steampunk characters, including steampunk versions of popular characters. During the panel, he will take requests from the audience. It’s set for Friday, 5 p.m. in Room 2 of the convention center.

In addition to the panels, the Starburner Galactic Courier Service has scheduled a steampunk meetup and award ceremony in which it will recognize individuals “who have made outstanding contributions to the Steampunk community.” They’ll meet at noon on Saturday, July 20, on the north stairs of the convention center behind the mezzanine.

Two San Diego-area steampunk events, Gaslight Gathering and Gaslight Steampunk Expo, both have tables in the fan group area in the mezzanine.

Badges to Comic-Con International sold out shortly after going on sale. If you’re interested in attending next year, you must first sign up for a Comic-Con member ID. See the website for details.

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