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Your guide to Comic-Con 2017: 11 must-see panels

File: Guests attend Comic-Con International on July 23, 2016 in San Diego.
File: Guests attend Comic-Con International on July 23, 2016 in San Diego.
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Last year, fans and observers expressed concern that the major movie studios had opted not to promote their latest at Comic-Con. This year seems to be a reversal, with many high-profile projects gracing the halls of the ever-popular pop culture convention, while stars from Will Smith to Charlize Theron are scheduled to appear. Here are 11 of the most talked about panels at this year's show — good luck getting in!

Netflix's Stranger Things

This year, Netflix is stepping up their Comic-Con presence, with several major panels after only dabbling in San Diego during prior years. The Comic-Con website lets fans make their schedules going in, and the panel with the most people signed up of anything at the convention this year is this one. Get ready to check out footage from season 2, which debuts this October. Netflix will also be showing off "Marvel's The Defenders," the new Will Smith movie "Bright," a late night screening of "Death Note" (based on the popular Japanese manga) and much more.

Doctor Who

The BBC broke the internet with news that, for the first time in the character's more than 50 year history, the next Doctor will be a woman. The panel features a look back at Peter Capaldi's time as Doctor Who and a sneak peek at this year's annual Christmas special — but fans will be crossing their Tardises hoping that new Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker, makes a surprise appearance.

Marvel Studios

Marvel always makes an impact at Comic-Con. While they've largely been teasing info on "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Panther," they'll likely be showing footage from "Avengers: Infinity War" and other upcoming Marvel projects. This comes after Disney's D23 convention, which featured tons of Marvel news since Disney is their corporate parent. Still, they've got an hour and a half scheduled, so there should be plenty of time for them to pull out a few surprises. The footage from the next Avengers movie that was screened at D23 hasn't been released online yet, so while they may have been saving some of it to remain a surprise at Comic-Con, don't be surprised to see it show up online soon after.

Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation

Warner Bros. always offers a movie variety show, filled with surprises. They're already promising looks at Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," "Blade Runner 2049," "Justice League" and "Aquaman." This panel is star-studded, featuring Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, Gal Gadot, Steven Spielberg and many more.

Adam West Celebration

Miss your chance to remember Adam West in downtown Los Angeles when the Bat-Signal lit up City Hall? You've got another chance Thursday night, with writer/director Kevin Smith and other special guests saluting the so-called "Bright Knight" after he passed away just last month. Expect a room full of both joy and sadness — and lots of classic '60s Batman cosplay.

Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session

HBO's Game of Thrones has long been a big hit at Comic-Con, but this year is a bit different with the panel happening in the middle of a season. That means there's likely more the cast and creators of the show will be able to talk about. It's one of two HBO shows in the science fiction/fantasy world appearing at Comic-Con — "Westworld" will also be holding a panel, teasing fans about what comes next.

DC: Geoff Johns

For those interested in the comic book world, Geoff Johns is a name often spoken in hushed tones. He's known for getting to the core of classic comic book characters, a skill which he's used in DC's TV and film projects, including the recent hit "Wonder Woman." Fans will get the chance to hear Johns speak in a spotlight panel, with the biggest news being more details coming out about "Doomsday Clock." It's a series bringing characters from one of the most critically acclaimed comics of all time, "Watchmen," into the same world as the rest of DC's heroes, as Superman faces off against Doctor Manhattan. It's sparked controversy due to how beloved "Watchmen" is, so here's where Johns gets to lay out the case for DC breaking from tradition and going there.

Legion Screening and Q&A

This FX show took what was long considered a D-list comic book character and created a critically acclaimed hit, offering a deep dive into the character's psyche. This panel promises a sneak peek at season 2, along with the cast and crew. Along with the panel, there's a Legion offsite offering a virtual reality journey into the show, along with live actors making it a more immersive experience. All the reservations for the event are gone, but you can sign up for the standby list here.

World Premiere of "Batman and Harley Quinn"

"Batman: The Animated Series" is one of the most critically acclaimed cartoons of all time, and this new animated film features a return to that world. Bruce Timm, the man behind that series, returns to that world in this movie. Harley Quinn was a character created for that '90s cartoon, but was so beloved that she went on to appear in the comics, on TV and in the recent movie "Suicide Squad" — and she's even set to get a live-action spinoff. There's going to be more loving tributes to the classic Batman animated series at Comic-Con, including a live podcast taping with the man who's voiced Batman in various projects ever since that original cartoon — Kevin Conroy — as well as screenings of classic episodes each day of the con. 

Battlestar Galactica reunion

The cast and crew behind the modern sci-fi (and SyFy) classic recently reunited at the Austin Television Festival, and they're coming together once again in San Diego. The Austin reunion was said to be an event to remember, with big feelings and insight from those who were part of the show, and this one will likely be more of the same.

Stan Lee and Friends: A Celebrity Tribute to the Comics Legend

Legendary Marvel comics writer Stan Lee is getting a tribute panel on Saturday, though it remains unclear if he will be appearing there himself following the recent loss of his wife. In either case, it should be a great celebration of his career. The panel also features footage from a new documentary, "Icons: Face to Face," made in virtual reality. It features Stan and Kevin Smith, who is also set to be on the panel.

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical

Need to take a breath after a long weekend at Comic-Con getting your mind blown by cool pop culture? Well, use that breath to sing in the panel that's closed out the convention for the past decade. It's one last chance to share a group moment with fans, and is one of several Buffy panels at the convention this year as the show turns 20 years old.

KPCC's own Mike Roe will be at Comic-Con for the entire convention — follow him at @MikeRoe on Twitter for full coverage, with highlights on KPCC's Twitter and Instagram.

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