San Diego Comic-Con: The 15 Craziest Moments Ever, Ranked
By Mat Elfring and Chris E. Hayner on
it's time once again for San Diego Comic-Con. Ever years brings memorable moments with the casts and creators of the biggest movies and TV shows on the planet gathering together at the event. Whether it's Marvel Studios trotting out its latest Avengers, Warner Bros. talking about the future of its DC universe, or the cast of Game of Thrones working hard to say absolutely nothing about what's to come on the HBO series, there's something for practically any type of fan to be found at SDCC.
Some moments transcend being "just another thing happening at Comic-Con," though. Sometimes the networks and studios surprise even the most jaded of fans with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that would be hard to recreate ever again. Then again, sometimes, the strangest and most memorable moments come from fans themselves, for better or worse. After all, just about any longtime Comic-Con goer has a story about where they were the time one fan stabbed another with an ink pen in Hall H--including GameSpot's own Mat Elfring, who happened to be in the next row?.
GameSpot has looked back on years of Comic-Con panels, activations, and appearances to determine which moments are the absolute craziest. How many of these surreal experiences were you actually there for and what's your personal most insane SDCC moment? Sound off in the comments below after you take a look at our ranked list.
To help you get prepared for this year's event, we've rounded up an SDCC schedule that covers the big events and panels to look forward to. We'll also have in-depth coverage of everything that's shown and announced.
15. James Cameron brings the first Avatar footage to SDCC
Say what you will about Avatar, but director James Cameron knew he was making something special with that film and let Comic-Con know as much when he debuted 25 minutes of footage from the movie during an appearance in Hall H. As you probably know, Avatar went on to become the biggest grossing movie of all time. Still, it started in San Diego and is a perfect example of how special the exclusive sneak peaks inside of Hall H can be. -- Chris E. Hayner
14. Rhys Ifans hates everything
There's more than one strange Rhys Ifans story about his first and only trip to San Diego Comic-Con, while promoting The Amazing Spider-Man. The tale many recount is how the actor, who played the villain in the 2012 Spider-Man film, was arrested on a charge of battery over an alleged confrontation with security. While the charge was eventually dropped, it was the only thing regarding Ifans anyone talked about, which is strange given his other Comic-Con moment.
While appearing onstage with his Spider-Man co-stars, the actor was clear about his feelings for those attending the event. "You people disgust me, with your self-important justifications for your stunted development and your elaborate, mask-ridden drag shows," he said to the audience. "It's sad wretches like you who have made it well-nigh impossible to earn a living as an actor without either making dick jokes or putting on fetish wear and calling it a 'superhero costume.'" During the rant, he also claimed to be "drunk as a lord" before capping the moment off with, "I hate you all. Goodnight." -- Chris E. Hayner
13. Edgar Wright takes us to the movies
2010 was a pretty big year for me while working San Diego Comic Con--you'll find out later why. On the Friday of the show, I spent the entire day, open to close covering the panels inside Hall H. Closing out the day was the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World panel--a movie coming out a month later. During the panel, everyone received a Scott Pilgrim button, and everyone in my row had one different than mine; it was a "1-Up" button.
At the end of the actual panel, Edgar Wright said that if your button had a "1-Up" symbol on it, you got to go with him to an early screening of Scott Pilgrim, along with the cast, who had yet to see it for themselves. So, I, along with a couple hundred lucky folks got to go to the movies. I sat right behind Edgar Wright and Michael Cera. It was a cool experience. However, I learned a valuable lesson: don't go to movies at Comic-Con. People will loudly talk through the whole thing. --Mat Elfring
12. Loki takes over Hall H
He may be a villain most of the time, but it's hard to imagine a more beloved character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Loki. Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the god of mischief is just too perfect to hate, even when he derails an entire Hall H panel and runs off Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige before spending a few minutes turning the audience into his army and unleashing the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World. -- Chris E. Hayner
11. Bryan Cranston's Breaking Bad cosplay
If Bryan Cranston is going to cosplay and walk the San Diego Comic-Con floor, who better to dress as than...Bryan Cranston? When taking the stage with his Breaking Bad co-stars, the actor was a spitting image of his on-screen character Walter White. However, he quickly revealed that it was actually not his face, but an incredibly lifelike mask he was wearing.
"It was extremely fun," Cranston said. "It was the most fun I've ever had walking the floor, taking a lot of pictures and trying to use a higher voice." So if you managed to get a selfie with a truly great Walter White cosplayer in 2013 at SDCC, it's possible you were actually posing with the actor himself. -- Chris E. Hayner
10. Karen Gillan shows off her bald head
When Karen Gillan commits to a role, she's not messing around. Fans learned that when the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy hit Comic-Con to promote the movie in 2013. When asked about portraying a bald Nebula when she had long red hair, Gillan snatched her wig off and revealed she'd shaved her head for the role.
In the chaos of the moment, she even tossed the wig into the audience, which drove the crowd wild. The actress also admitted she was concerned before taking the clippers to her cranium. "I was a little worried that I was going to look like an overgrown fetus," she said. -- Chris E. Hayner
9. Andrew Garfield cosplays as himself
Whether you like The Amazing Spider-Man or not, it's hard to argue that star Andrew Garfield was a true fan of the comic books the film was based on. If you don't believe that, look no further than his first appearance at Comic-Con to promote the movie.
What, at first, looked like an over-excited fan in attendance commandeering the microphone in a Spider-Man costume, was unmasked to reveal it was the actor himself. "You have no idea how much this means to me," he said. "I've always wanted to come here as a fan and this is my first time, so here I am as a fan." He even quoted Stan Lee. I dare you not to love Andrew Garfield for that alone. -- Chris E. Hayner
8. Twilight changes the game when it comes to Hall H
Hall H has been the main stage of San Diego Comic-Con since it first started being used in 2004. It's the biggest hall available and becomes home to the biggest and most popular movies and TV shows every year. In 2008, though, Hall H was forever changed, and the credit for that goes to--of all things--Twilight.
The second film in the Twilight franchise, New Moon, brought the series to Hall H in 2008 and with it came the Twihards. For the first time, fans lined up the night before to secure a seat in Hall H just to get the chance to see the stars of their favorite movies in person. Since then, it hasn't stopped. Take a stroll around the convention center in the middle of the night during Comic-Con and you'll be sure to find people camped out to see whatever is happening the next day in Hall H. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on how much you enjoy sleeping on the ground. -- Chris E. Hayner
7. Supernatural brings a rock concert to their panel
The cast of Supernatural is practically Comic-Con royalty at this point. The show has appeared at every single San Diego Comic-Con since 2007 and routinely packs Hall H with fans of the series. In 2017, though, it was the show's 11th panel at the annual event and it went the extra mile in giving a special treat to fans.
After a video played of stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles driving to San Diego to meet the fans, the familiar opening vocals of Carry On Wayward Son--an important song on the show--could be heard before the lights came up to reveal that rock band Kansas was there to perform it live. Lots of crazy things have happened in Hall H, but a rock concert was a rarity. Even Metallica didn't perform when they held a panel for their 3D movie Through the Never. Tenacious D did, though, in 2005. -- Chris E. Hayner
6. The Dark Knight's Joker invades San Diego
One of the best things about 2007's Comic-Con actually happened outside of the convention center. While The Dark Knight didn't have a panel in Hall H--or any panel at all--the event did serve as the beginning of the movie's massive viral marketing campaign, which saw the Joker's phone number written in the sky, tons of people running around San Diego in Joker face paint, and a massive scavenger hunt that led fans to a teaser trailer for the film.
Viral marketing campaigns have been done for a variety of movies over the years, but none as well as The Dark Knight. And it all started with a sea of clowns storming the streets of San Diego, trying to find the trailer for a Batman movie. What's more Comic-Con than that? -- Chris E. Hayner
5. A Batman/Superman movie is announced
Alright, maybe the movie didn't turn out like we all hoped it would. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will go down in history as being, well, nowhere near the best Batman or Superman film. The excitement around it, though, was palpable.
When Zack Snyder came to the Warner Bros. presentation at Comic-Con in 2013 to thank fans for supporting Man of Steel, those in attendance had no idea what to expect when the lights went down and Superman's iconic logo appeared on the screen. Surely this was a sequel to Man of Steel, right? Wrong, because moments later Batman's logo appeared behind it to confirm that a film starring both of DC's top superheroes was going to become a reality.
This was the stuff of fanboy and fangirl dreams. Finally, we'd be getting a World's Finest film! Alas, you remember how that went. Still, hearing the excitement of the audience when that bat appears still shakes me to my core. -- Chris E. Hayner
4. The first Iron Man trailer kicks off the MCU
Believe it or not, Comic-Con existed before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That must seem crazy, given the massive presence Marvel Studios tends to have at the annual event, but it's true. In fact, the MCU didn't arrive until 2008 when Iron Man director Jon Favreau stopped by to talk about the film.
Fans weren't expecting much, though, as filming on Iron Man had wrapped up merely days before. So fans were delighted when Favreau told then he brought a clip from the film to show. Instead, what was shown was a four-minute trailer from the film, showing Robert Downey Jr. in all of his Tony Stark glory. Just like that, a universe was born. -- Chris E. Hayner
3. Star Wars fans get a live concert
In 2015, Star Wars was the thing everyone at Comic-Con cared about most. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was heading to theaters that December and Disney brought the film to Hall H to get fans riled up. The panel included the full cast, some new footage, and even a live example of how some of the movie's creatures worked. Still, this was all just the pre-show for what was to come.
At the end of the panel, director JJ Abrams invited everyone in attendance to a live Star Wars concert outside of the convention center. Together with the cast, fans walked to the event and spent the night listening to Star Wars music performed live, while swinging around lightsabers and creating a truly unique moment. It even ended with a firework spectacular.
2. The Avengers assemble for the first time
Over the years Marvel Studios has become known for their Comic-Con surprises. Whether it's the first Iron Man trailer in 2007 or Brie Larson making a special appearance to announce she would be playing Captain Marvel in 2016, the people at Marvel love to drop the mic when it comes to their panels.
In 2010, though, Marvel even outdid themselves. After panels for Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, Samuel L. Jackson stepped up to the podium and introduced the cast of Marvel's Avengers for the first time. It was the perfect Comic-Con moment as the Avengers assembled while the audience went completely insane. Over the years, Marvel Studios has been good about bringing its casts to Comic-Con, which must be tricky when they get so big. It will never get better than this, though. -- Chris E. Hayner
1. The stabbing heard 'round the con floor
In 2010, I was working my very first Comic-Con as a freelancer for Whiskey Media's Comic Vine. I, along with GiantBomb's Matt Rorie, spent all day in Hall H, covering all the July 24 panels from Resident Evil: Afterlife to Paul and beyond, but everyone in the hall was there for the Marvel panel, which would actually have the cast of the film on stage for the first time. Right before the Paul panel, I heard people yelling about 20 feet away from me.
Back a row, and the next section over, I saw a group of people standing around someone. Even though I was pretty close to the action, I couldn't figure it out, so I went on Twitter to find out what was going on. Someone got stabbed in the eye with a pen or a pencil. By the time I made my way over to see what was happening, the person who was stabbed was on a stretcher and being taken to the hospital. I found out from someone sitting next to them that the two were fighting over a seat, things got heated, and one dude stabbed another in the eye. I'd like to point out that in this hall, which sits over 6,000 people, we were sitting 3/4ths of the way back from the stage. We did not have good seats.
2018 marks the 9th year in a row I'll be covering Comic-Con, and nothing has even come close to topping that moment. Is that weird to say? That someone getting stabbed in the eye is a moment that can be topped? -- Mat Elfring