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From ‘Aquaman’ to ‘Riverdale’: Grading the Biggest TV and Movie Trailers from Comic-Con Weekend

There are infant sacrifices going on in Betty Cooper’s backyard because ‘Riverdale’ is officially off the walls!

Getty Images/Universal Pictures/CBS/DC Comics/Ringer illustration

The annual San Diego Comic-Con isn’t just a mecca for nerds to dress as their favorite comic book characters (or, like, 200 variations of phoning it in with a Spider-Man outfit)—it’s one of the biggest venues for TV and film trailers pertaining to these geeky genres. This weekend, we’ll be rounding up and grading the biggest TV and movie trailers from Comic-Con, some of which brought a lot more hype and footage than others.


M. Night Shyamalan had an unconventional journey into making a superhero franchise—beginning with 2000’s Unbreakable and its secret quasi-sequel Split in 2016—that gets its third installment in next year’s Glass. By all accounts, it’s indestructible Bruce Willis against evil genius Samuel L. Jackson and swole James McAvoy—just a beautiful amalgamation of powers and actors. Also, Sarah Paulson shows up as a scientist. I think the Shyamalan-naissance is real.

Grade: A-

Better Call Saul Season 4

The Breaking Bad spinoff has admirably kept itself removed from its parent show, with only a few knowing callbacks—most notably, bringing in the great Gus Fring in the third season. But based on this scintillating trailer released over Comic-Con, Better Call Saul Season 4 is crossing over with even more Breaking Bad mainstays—minus Walt and Jesse, so far as we know. In the trailer we get a brief glimpse of Lydia and the Cousins, as well as the beginning of Gus’s criminal empire expansion. If you weren’t watching Better Call Saul already, this is one hell of a wake-up call—like its forebear, the show is one of TV’s best dramas.

Grade: A

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2

The good: Discovery remains one of the most aesthetically impressive sci-fi shows on the market and is heavily teasing a Spock appearance in its second season. The bad: You have to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch it, and the trailer’s use of Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away” is just a little too on the nose.

Grade: B-

The Walking Dead Season 9

At Comic-Con on Friday, Andrew Lincoln made official what was previously reported back in May: Rick Grimes will be exiting The Walking Dead in the ninth season, likely within as little as six episodes. It’s hard to imagine what the long-running series will look like without its main star, but the first trailer for Season 9—which was nearly six minutes long!—has some juicy morsels for fans. Most notably, at the very end, you’ll hear a zombie (?!) whisper, “Where are they?” It’s fucking creepy, and confirms what’s been teased for quite a while: The Walking Dead is introducing the Whisperers, a group of humans who wear the skin of zombies to camouflage in hordes and who communicate through—you guessed it—whispering. Losing Rick creates a big hole to fill, but getting some seriously spooky new villains is a promising start.

Grade: B

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The trailer for the Fantastic Beasts sequel gives us what we all wanted: our first footage of Jude Law as the Young Dumbledore. However, Law’s sultry Dumble-daddy is just one small part of this sprawling trailer: The beasts are still fantastic, muggles remain in danger from Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald, we get a glimpse of the Harry Potter universe’s legendary alchemist Nicolas Flamel, and we’re collectively cowering in fear over Ezra Miller’s haircut. It’s all quite magical.

Grade: A-

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The Godzilla sequel has as deep a bench of stunning CGI monsters (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah) as it does actors, bringing in Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance, Bradley Whitford, and others in place of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. (The only returning protagonists are Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe, the latter of whom may or may not just be coming back to say “Let them fight” again.) There’s a lot to unpack here, but if we’re being honest, nothing is as satisfying as Charles Dance saying “Long live the king” like he’s on a commemorative Game of Thrones special. At the very least, the new Godzilla franchise is the king of one-liners.

Grade: A


This is as far removed from the doom and gloom of Zack Snyder’s DC Extended Universe as you can get. Shazam! is full of vibrant colors, and the trailer’s light-heartedness is exactly what was called for—not only for the DCEU that’s totally failed outside of Wonder Woman, but for a superhero who’s technically just a kid who says “Shazam!” to turn into Zachary Levi in tights. DC has burned fans before—remember when the Suicide Squad trailers looked good?!—but Shazam!’s first impressions feel like a game-changer. I can’t wait for April 2019.

Grade: A+


In Justice League, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman got to say “My man!” In his standalone movie, he now says “YAHOOOO” as well as “Permission to come aboard?” when bursting into, presumably, a hostile submarine. We should just dump a Brink’s truck filled with Oscars down to Atlantis’s ocean floor; I want my Aquaman abundantly silly and full of one-liners, and that is exactly what this accomplishes. After all, he’s the dude who talks to fish.

Grade: A-

Riverdale Season 3

This is the story of the Archie town, filled with hot teens making out a ton (sure, of course!), Archie becoming student president (he’s a dork in the comics, but he’s really hot in the CW series, so why not?), covering up murders (hmm??), and now babies being sacrificed at a pyre in Betty Cooper’s backyard (?!?!?!??!!). IS A SENTIENT TAB OF LSD IN CHARGE OF THE SHOW? WHAT IS HAPPENING ON RIVERDALE?! Anyways, Season 3 looks off the walls in the best way possible.

Grade: A

Mayans M.C.

The Sons of Anarchy spinoff previously teased fans with a mural of Charlie Hunham’s Jax Teller (RIP!), and the Comic-Con trailer for Mayans M.C. gave fans a glimpse of the franchise’s latest biker hunk. Marcus Alvarez (played by Emilio Rivera) is fresh out of prison and in need of a new start; the Mayans Motorcycle club is more than willing to oblige if he does things the right way. Look, if you liked Sons of Anarchy—the gnarly hogs, unrepentant violence, and beautifully barren landscapes—then Mayans M.C. is probably for you. Though the “Paint It Black” cover used in the trailer was a bit much.

Grade: B-