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San Diego Comic-Con 2020 Is Canceled

Attendees in cosplay are seen at the #IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Day Three at the IMDb Yacht on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California.
Attendees in cosplay are seen at the #IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Day Three at the IMDb Yacht on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California.
Image: Rich Polk (Getty Images)

We’ve been expecting this news for a while—to the point that the longer it took to come, the more reckless one of the biggest comic book conventions in the world looked. But now it’s official: San Diego Comic-Con is not happening in 2020.


Confirmed in a press release today—in light of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and lockdown orders in California—for the first time in its half-century history, San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled outright. Instead, the show will return July 22-25, 2021. The same move has been made for this year’s WonderCon, which was meant to take place in Anaheim April 10-12; it’s been dated to return March 26-28, 2021.


SDCC’s cancelation is one of the longer holdouts of the summer convention season, as rolling postponements and outright cancellations as the spread of the novel coronavirus continued across the world saw convention after convention scramble to adapt what has now become a global crisis. That reluctance to join the chorus of delays and cancelations was, according to Comic-Con International’s statement, driven by a hope that things would’ve relaxed by the summer months—something that is very clearly no longer the case.

“Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer,” a provided statement read. “Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.”

What that means right now is that Comic-Con International is undergoing the extensive process of initiating ticket and hotel refunds for people who have already booked accommodations and tickets for this year’s event—something they would’ve done months and months in advance, the yearly ritual of rushing to grab hotels and tickets having taken place well before the extent of this pandemic was truly known.


On the ticket front, current SDCC 2020 badge holders will be notified “within the next week” on how to either request a refund for their 2020 ticket or defer their badge to Comic-Con 2021, as will exhibitors. Meanwhile “the next few days,” according to Comic-Con International’s statement, onPeak, the official hotel affiliate of the convention, will cancel and refund all reservations made through their service, with no action required by people other than to await notification that their refunds have been completed.

Beyond these measures, what this means for announcements and events that would’ve taken place at SDCC 2020 remains to be seen—as the crown jewel of the pop culture calendar, it is usually one of the biggest events of the year for big news in the entertainment sphere. Exhibitors who no longer have that venue to share them (even if they could, considering the ongoing pandemic has had a rolling and significant impact on TV and film production across the world) will now have to decide how to get that news out without one of the biggest platforms in the nerd world.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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They canceled 3 months ahead of the convention and only a day after the also-in-July San Diego Pride canceled. It’s been less than a month since Governor Newsom issued the statewide shelter-in-place order. SDCC has a very small full-time staff that also had to handle a short notice cancelation of WonderCon and only just finished running an online event to help WonderCon exhibitors stay afloat without a con season. Your criticism of them is totally overblown and undeserved.