The Best Comic-Con Announcements and Surprises of All Time

Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Joss WhedonGetty Images/Kevin Winter

Do you remember where you were when Batman V Superman was announced? When the first glimpse of Avatar was bestowed upon the world? Probably not, but for the Comic-Con faithful, these moments are gospel. San Diego Comic-Con has become the destination for any geek worth his salt, and a select few moments throughout the convention’s history have become legendary to fans across the world. Here are the most memorable moments from Comic-Cons past.

The Batman V Superman announcement
Right at the tail end of the 2013 Warner Bros. panel, a Jittery Zack Snyder turned up to announce that he was working on a sequel to Man of Steel. Then, with help from the booming voice of Harry Lennix and a choice excerpt from Frank Miller’s classic Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns, Warner Bros. dropped a bomb on Hall H with the announcement of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (which was then untitled). When the logo blazed on screen with all its glory, SDCC 2013 had hit its definitive peak.

Michael Keaton earns the cowl
Everyone remembers the ballyhoo made about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, but comic book fans had been complaining about casting long before then. All the way back at Comic-Con 1988, the fervor about the new Batman movie was high; many fans didn’t think Michael Keaton could pull off the Caped Crusader. But most of these detractors quieted down when the original creator of Batman, Bob Kane himself, stopped by the Con and gave the actor and Tim Burton’s production his blessing via a set visit. He also showed up with a ton of set photos and production designs to ensure fans that his creation was in good hands.

Twilight comes to Comic-Con
For nearly 40 years, Comic-Con had been a place for more male-focused geekery. But in 2008, the playing field was leveled when the Twilight saga was given a panel in the hallowed nerd pantheon that is Hall H. This of course brought droves of Twilight fans to the convention center, who of course butted heads with seasoned veterans of the Con who though the new visitors didn’t belong. But Twilight’s domination of that year’s festivities were undeniable. The vamps were here to stay.

The Avatar preview screening
If there’s one thing to learn from Comic-Con, it’s that you shouldn’t always buy into the hype. Hyperbole flows through San Diego like a river, and people will champion anything and everything as a gamechanger. But the hype around the preview screening of Avatar at 2009’s convention was so massive, it was hard not to believe. The preview of James Cameron’s spectacle-laden adventure left many Con-goers slack-jawed with awe.

The Avengers assemble in Hall H
Joss Whedon has long been a popular face at comic-con, but he might as well have been coronated as king when he brought every member of The Avengers on stage for the first time in 2010. It was a moment that Marvel studios had been steadily building up to for years, but seeing all of those heroes (albiet in street clothes) in one place at the same time was magical.

The Iron Man trailer premiere
Unsuspecting fans at the first ever Iron Man panel were greeted with a surprise visit from Jon Favreau, and an even bigger surprise: the first look at a new trailer for Iron Man. The trailer was only a few seconds long, showing Iron Man shooting through the sky, but it was enough to send the hype for the upcoming film skyrocketing. It was surefire proof that Marvel was doing right by all these heroes.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World wows the crowd
In a rare treat, fans at the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World panel were treated to a screening of the film. Edgar Wright’s dazzling comic book adaptation won heaps of praise from attendees, and Hollywood’s relationship with the convention was riding high. Unfortunately, the studios soon found out the convention hype doesn’t always equal ticket sales, and the film fizzled out of the box-office without recouping it’s budget.

Karen Gillan goes bald
Maybe it was just a really convincing wig, maybe we just couldn’t wrap our heads around those deep red locks being fake, or maybe we just don’t usually expect to see people ripping hair off of their heads at Comic-Con. But at the panel for Guardians of the Galaxy, after being confronted by host Chris Hardwick with accusations that her character in the upcoming space opera is bald in the comics, the actor unleashed her buzzed head to the world, and everyone lost their minds.