San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is one of the largest and most popular comic book conventions in the world. Every year, thousands of fans gather to celebrate their love for comics, movies, TV shows, and other forms of popular culture. However, this year's event could be impacted by the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike.
The WGA is a labor union composed of writers for TV, movies, news programs, documentaries, animation, and everything in between in the entertainment industry.
Every three years, the WGA strikes a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which sets minimum compensation for writers, as well as outlines rules, regulations and protections for writers within the industry.
This year, the biggest sticking points according to the WGA are that with the shift to streaming:
Writers are finding their work devalued in every part of the business. While company profits have remained high and spending on content has grown, writers are falling behind. The companies have used the transition to streaming to cut writer pay and separate writing from production, worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels… From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a “day rate” in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession.
The AMPTP and the WGA did not reach an agreement by the deadline, so now, a strike is on until an agreement can be reached.
The strike means that TV creators likely won't be on panels at San Diego Comic-Con and no actors promoting films or series could have a big impact on the event.
In addition to the WGA strike, it has been reported that Marvel Studios will not be presenting its upcoming slate in Hall H this year. Marvel Studios has multiple productions on pause due to the ongoing writer’s strike.
This marks the first time that the production company has opted not to make a Hall H presentation since 2018.
However, it's worth noting that Marvel Studios isn't skipping SDCC 2023 entirely and will have a booth on the convention floor.
In past WGA strikes there has been an impact on comics as well. During the last strike in 2007-2008 screenwriters began to eye comics as a market for their work. In at least one case, a regular writer of a book was removed in favor of a screenwriter type¹.
The growth of streaming shows is linked to a controversial topic: the shrinking of writers' rooms into "mini rooms," where there are fewer writers than a traditional room would employ².
While it is difficult to predict exactly how events will unfold, it is clear that this year's San Diego Comic-Con could be impacted by both the ongoing WGA strike and Marvel Studios' decision not to present in Hall H. Fans will have to wait and see how these events play out.