Over the years, we’ve done a lot of commentary and some griping about how the major studios have made the San Diego Comic Con their own playground, and how big-ticket movies have really remade the show into something that barely resembles the cons of many years past. So why does it feel so strange to think that Paramount won’t be attending this year?

Probably because last year was owned by the mountain. Indy and Iron Man made gigantic splashes there; the only thing anyone was talking about after the con was Jon Favreau’s panel in the big hall. (It was also the venue in which the studio really started to work Beowulf.) I’m sure quite a few people were hoping for something similar this year for Star Trek, G.I. Joe, Transformers 2 and perhaps even Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. Not happening. Anne Thompson notes that Paramount says “the timing was off this year,” which could mean so many possible things that speculation is pointless.

The studio says they might throw some viral materials the Con’s way, but don’t expect much. None of Paramount’s geek-friendly films open until next year, so it’s not like the studio is losing major marketing steam, but this still reads vaguely like the outfit has realized they might not need to spend extra money promoting things at Comic Con. In fact, with the exception of Shyamalan’s movie, none of that slate needs the con at all.