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: Hall H Screen Expands Around the Audience

Every year at Comic Con one of the movie studios tries to go bigger than all the others, but nothing yet has topped what Warner Bros. pulled off in 2012. As The Hobbit presentation was about to begin, the huge screen in Hall H began to expand. The curtains on the walls to the left and right began to be pulled back to reveal screens that enveloped most of the audience inside the projection. The video above doesn’t do this justice, but shows you how big the expanded screen actually is. While people left the presentation talking about Pacific Rim and that surprise Godzilla teaser trailer, they were also abuzz about the screens. Legendary Pictures has continued to expand the screens in their presentations in Hall H ever since.

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

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 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

I’m going to combine these two just to make things easier. 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. The amazing translation of Frank Miller’s comic book imagery brought the Hall H crowd to some of the loudest screams I’ve ever heard in that room.

Star Wars concert

2015: Surprise Star Wars Concert

Our own Ethan Anderton called it “one of the best Comic Con surprises of all time.” 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.

Robocop at Comic Con

Conclusions: What Makes the Best of Comic Con?

To be a great moment in Comic Con’s Hall H, I think you need to have one of the following things:

  • The Power of Surprise: So many of the great moments in Hall H history have the power of the unexpected. Both Disney/Marvel and Legendary Pictures have emulated Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing” to great effect at these events. Sometimes you don’t need to have amazing footage to get buzz, you just need a good reveal, a fun unexpected appearance or an announcement.
  • Great or Early Footage: Of course, if a movie studio has great footage they may as well show it. And if you don’t have great footage, if you present something cool super-early, the Hall H crowd often is appreciative.
  • Fun Appearances: It’s not enough to have your film’s star come on stage at Hall H and answer a few questions about the movie — the appearance needs to be fun or  rewarding. Or, in the case of The Avengers roll call, epic.
  • Heartfelt Real Moments: When the creators can connect with the fans on that deeper level, it can be magical. Fans appreciate the more real non-scripted moments that happen on stage at Hall H, and sometimes studios are afraid to let those happen. I almost included Ryan Reynolds reciting the Green Lantern oath to a kid in the crowd on this list but decided it probably wouldn’t have lasting power — but it is moments like these that makes it worth it for all those fans who wait in line overnight to get a seat in that convention center hall.

What will be the best moment of this year’s Comic Con? Lets find out…

Pages: Previous page 1 2 3

Cool Posts From Around the Web: