Every summer, fans of comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, and every other geek property descend on San Diego to spend hours in line for a chance at seeing their favorite stars, new announcements, and comic book superheroes firsthand. But as frustrating as it can get to brave the huge crowds, the studios and stars find some incredible ways to make it worth the trip. Here are the 10 Most Amazing Things to Ever Happen at Comic-Con.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Just the idea that Star Wars was finally returning was enough to send fans over the moon, with JJ Abrams offering a handful of images from the movie's set. But few expected the platoon of stormtroopers that filed in, leading everyone in attendance out of the building at blaster point for a surprise concert. Kevin Smith was the most surprised, since his panel was the one starting just a few minutes later.
Scott Pilgrim VS The World
When you make a movie aimed squarely at the geeky, video-game-loving crowd that made Comic-Con what it is today, it only seems fair to let them see it first. So that’s what Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright did at the end of his panel. Badges handed out to attendees as they entered the room got them a ticket to the premiere, taking place directly after the panel, with the movie’s stars on hand beside them.
Marvel probably didn’t know just how popular Tom Hiddleston’s villain would be when he was first cast, but they learned quickly, making him the villain of the first team-up, and returning in Thor: The Dark World. So instead of just rolling the footage from the Asgardian sequel, Hiddleston showed up in full costume, mocking the crowd before him, and ordering that they kneel and pledge allegiance. Unsurprisingly, most did, chanting the villain’s name, and breaking the wall between fans and fiction like few others ever tried.
Celebrities in Disguise
It’s hard to single out just one celebrity who donned a costume, mask, or general disguise in order to walk among their fans without being mobbed. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe dressing up as Spider-Man is among the most famous examples, but Bryan Cranston has to take the cake, with the Breaking Bad star concealing his identity with… a mask of his own face.
There are few movies that can claim as much legitimate nerd cred as the original TRON, which made Disney’s Hall H panel in 2008 one of the most shocking on record. As their show came to an end, they offered “one last thing” – the first short film used to pitch a TRON sequel to Disney. But at that point, the movie wasn’t even announced, meaning the crowd saw a stunning trailer for a sequel no one knew about, and confirming Jeff Bridges would return. The film itself may have been a disappointment, but the reveal is a moment that could never happen again in today’s industry.
The Iron Man Starts it All
When Jon Favreau arrived at Comic-Con to talk to the fans about his new film, Iron Man, nobody knew what to expect. A second-tier superhero, an actor with a checkered past, and a rocky track record for Marvel movies in general. The attendees expected to get a few shots since the movie had only finished filming weeks before, but Favreau rolled out a trailer instead, winning waves of applause from the crowd, and convincing them that one day, a quality Marvel Movie Universe could be possible.
The Avengers Assemble
These days it's almost impossible to remember a time before Marvel ruled the shared universe, but back in 2010, fans could still be surprised. The crowd in Hall H knew most of the Avengers stars from solo movies, but few expected to see the entire cast of the Marvel Universe assembled on stage - with Robert Downey Jr the first to reveal Mark Ruffalo as the new Incredible Hulk. It's the kind of moment that ca only happen once, and for the lucky ones in the room, it's a moment they'll never forget.