‘San Diego Comic Con‘ is the go-to place for breaking news in every aspect of pop culture and entertainment. Over the years, it has given us some historical landmarks in the realm of TV and movies, as well as provide some shock and awe along the way. Before we begin coverage of the infamous San Diego Comic Con… let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of the past decade. Some moments definitely set the stage for others to follow and every one of these moments shows how devoted certain fandoms are when it comes to showing their loyalty!
2006: Kevin Feige Predicts The Avengers
This may have not been a big moment at the time, but the long-term impact might be the biggest to ever happen at Comic-Con. During a question for Feige asked by an audience member regarding the potential of future crossover events, Feige calmly responded:
Jon Favreau was on the panel talking about Iron Man, and Louis Leterrier was talking about The Incredible Hulk, and Edgar Wright was talking about Ant-Man. And somebody asked, “Could the characters cross over? Is this person ever going to meet this person?” I was asked, “Are we ever going to see the Avengers on screen?” And I said, “Who knows. This is a big new experiment for Marvel. But it’s no coincidence that we have the rights to Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap –” and the whole audience started cheering. That was one of the moments where I went, boy, if only, if only we could actually sort of pull this all together.
I think it’s safe to say Marvel Studios pulled it together, indeed!
2007: First Iron Man Trailer Debut
Director Jon Favreau showed up at San Diego with his cast and crew and a teaser trailer for the film which had just finished shooting a couple weeks prior. Nowadays, studios plan for Comic Con, sometimes showing footage from films still in production. (Marvel has been known to pay to have visual effects footage done specifically in preparation for the July con.) At the time, however, it was not expected that Marvel would show up at the convention with a full trailer. And not just any trailer, one of the best teaser trailers of all time. It knocked the socks off the packed Hall H crowd.
It’s easy to look back and now see how obvious it was that Iron Man was going to be a mega-hit, but at the time it wasn’t so obvious. Nowadays a film like Iron Man could get its own panel, but Iron Man was only just a small part of Paramount’s panel which included eight other films. Actually, Iron Man was not even the headliner of the panel; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Star Trek followed the short Iron Man segment. Favreau has even credited Comic Con for helping to launch Iron Man into the mainstream.
2008: Twilight Fans Take Over Hall H
Some fanboys might say this belongs on the worst moments in Comic Con list, but the invasion of the Twihards was an important moment for the San Diego convention. Twilight’s appearance at the 2009 edition of the convention marked a huge change in what kind of films would appear in Hall H. Not only that, it upped the ante in terms of extreme fandom. Twilight fans lined up over a day in advance to see Summit’s New Moon panel the following afternoon.
That extreme was unheard of at the time, but lining up overnight quickly became the norm in the years that followed. Even Comic Con had to respond and started issuing wristbands to try to discourage fans from camping out in line overnight. Sure, someone’s mom asking Robert Pattinson what kind of underwear he wears might have been painfully embarrassing but Twilight, like it or hate it, helped elevated Hall H to a new level of hype and fandom.
2009: Saying Goodbye to Lost
The final Lost panel featured executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse on stage answering fan questions in fantastically cryptic ways (as always), but also featured some great bits from the cast of the series asking questions at the Q&A, which had a huge impact on the rise of the pop culture screenprint movement.
The presentation also featured some great videos, including a commercial for Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack featuring Hurley, a short commercial depicting Oceanic Airlines with a perfect safety record and a segment from America’s Most Wanted featuring Kate. The presentation was a great emotional send-off to the series and offered some great teases about the final season of the show.
2010: Avengers Cast Has On-Stage Roll Call
At the end of the Captain America and Thor presentation at the 2010 Comic Con, Marvel Studios surprised fans with “one more thing” by revealing the cast of The Avengers. Sure, most of the members were already confirmed, but the speculation on who would play The Hulk came down to the day or two before the presentation. Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson, came on stage to introduce his group of Avengers, including their director Joss Whedon. It was one of those moments that might not read like much more than a photo op on paper, but it turned out to be pure magic on stage. Watch the clip above and relive the moment for yourself.
2011: Andrew Garfield Shows Up In Spider-Man Costume To Give Emotional Speech
Okay so The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t turn out as well as we had hoped, but no one in Hall H in 2011 will forget the film’s star Andrew Garfield’s surprise appearance in a Spider-Man costume during the Sony panel. Garfield showed up in character to read a passionate heartfelt speech from a Spider-man fan to the Spider-man fans packed in the hall. This is also the first notable time that an actor dressed in character at a Hall H presentation, something that has been emulated in various capacities in the years that followed.
2012: Surprise Godzilla Teaser Trailer
Legendary has tried to surprise the Hall H audience year after year, and in 2012 they delivered the goods: another VFX test, kind of like the one Disney had for Tron: Legacy years earlier. This one was for the announced Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla reboot.
The teaser (which was shown twice) is fairly brief, with the camera slowly moving through an utterly devastated urban landscape. There’s even a building that looks like a monster walked right through it, and we see the suggestion of a six-armed beast lying dead in rubble. Then the money shot: Godzilla, seen from behind, turning his head to the camera in profile before emitting the monster’s signature screech. The vision of Godzilla was more a suggestion than a detailed reveal, but the guy is HUGE, with a tail and spines up his back that are very clearly meant to evoke the classic creature design. The head is a bit more elongated than the first couple iterations of the beast, but not to the degree of the version seen in the Emmerich remake.
The teaser trailer had all the buzz of the 2012 convention, with tons of fans at home trying to watch bootlegged versions before the studio quickly removed them.
2013: Loki Shows Up!
This is by far my favorite moment in SDCC history, not just because I’m a huge Marvel fan, but the way the crowd was so engaged had me jumping in my seat as if I were there! I can watch it right now and still have that same visceral reaction like it was the first time seeing it.
Tom Hiddleston certainly wasn’t the first actor to show up on the Hall H stage in costume and in character, but when Loki appeared during the Marvel Studios presentation in 2013, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. For many fans, this was the best thing to happen in Hall H that year. It wasn’t footage, it wasn’t a reveal of information about an upcoming film, it was just fun. I think sometimes movie studios doubt themselves and put too much value in the footage. Sure, the fans at Comic Con want to see the footage, but a once in a lifetime experience like this can be even better.
2013/2014: Batman V Superman Announcement and Dawn of Justice Teaser Footage Screened
Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has had a great run in San Diego. In 2013, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder invited Harry Lennix on stage to read a passage from the story which inspired Snyder’s next Superman film. The passage was from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Russ Fischer wrote:
One of the loudest crowd sounds I’ve ever heard in my life was the deafening roar that erupted in Hall H at Comic Con this year when Zack Snyder rolled a short video in which Superman’s ‘S’ logo appeared, then was shadowed by Batman’s own symbol.
A year later Snyder returned with a reveal of Wonder Woman and a brief clip of Batman in his armored suit looking up in the rain at Superman floating above him.
2015: Surprise Star Wars Concert
The Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel was fun, featuring a good mix of new cast members John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie and Domhnall Gleeson and classic heroes Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. But the big surprise came at the end of the panel when director J.J. Abrams invited the entire crowd of Hall H, about 6,500 people, to a live Star Wars concert behind the convention center. At the impromptu concert venue, fans were given free Hasbro toy lightsabers and took in an evening of Star Wars music followed by fireworks.
I can’t imagine how Disney was able to keep this whole thing secret, especially with the amount of people that needed to be involved to pull off this stunt. At the end of the day, it will probably remain most people’s best memory from the convention.
2017: WESTWORLD: THE EXPERIENCE
The cast and creators of HBO’s Westworld came to Hall H to talk about the first season (and reveal absolutely nothing about the second), but it was outside the convention center that the show made the biggest impression. Westworld: The Experience was ostensibly a promotional brand activation, but it went far beyond what we’ve seen from these kinds of experiences in the past. It allowed guests to visit the offices of Delos, Inc., get evaluated by a specialist who determined whether they were a white hat or a black hat, and then sent them into a reproduction of the Mariposa Saloon to have cocktails and talk with a host.
What made it so memorable were the performers. Throughout the experience, guests interacted with some incredibly talented actors who had the mannerisms and vocal cadences of the show’s hosts down pat. It wasn’t just a promotion; it was a step into Westworld itself.
Anytime you think something can’t be topped, Comic-Con finds a way to outdo itself! This year, without HBO’s Game of Thrones or Westworld and no Marvel Studio panels slated to occur, this leaves room for other shows to step up their game in the absence of the big boys. Be sure to check out the latest coverage right here, and we’ll keep you up to date on what big attractions hit SDCC this year!