On July 20, 2013, several stars made “surprise” appearances at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Some of the surprises were expected, but others were definitely well-kept secrets.
Here are some of the highlights:
The biggest celebrity panel at Comic-Con was the one for 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The panel had these cast members from the movie: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Evan Peters, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Omar Sy. Most of these stars have been in at least one previous “X-Men” movie. It was Berry’s first trip to Comic-Con.
I had a front-row center seat for the “X-Men: Days of Future Past” press conference that was held before the panel. Journalists at the press conference were asked not to reveal the surprise until after the panel happened. Many people had expected there to be a Comic-Con panel for “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” but what wasn’t expected was that so many stars from the movie would be there. It was announced before the press conference that getting all these stars in the same room was a monumental feat, due to everyone’s busy schedules. It’s doubtful that all of these “X-Men” stars will be gathered together on the same stage again, so the “X-Men” panel and press conference at Comic-Con 2013 will be talked about for years to come. (More on that press conference later.)
Sandra Bullock (but not her “Gravity” co-star George Clooney) was at Comic-Con for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Gravity” panel. There had been much speculation that she would be there, so her appearance was not much of a surprise. She also did an autograph signing and interviews for “Gravity” at Comic-Con. (More on the “Gravity” press conference later.) It was Bullock’s first trip to Comic-Con.
Tom Cruise also made his first trip to Comic-Con in San Diego during a “surprise” panel appearance for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Edge of Tomorrow” (formerly titled “All You Need Is Kill”). His appearance was definitely a well-kept secret, since no media outlets had leaked any hint that he would be there. He was joined on the panel by “Edge of Tomorrow” co-stars Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes filmmakers.
One of the worst-kept secrets was the “surprise” appearances of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. The only surprise would have been if neither of them had shown up at Comic-Con this year, after the panel had already been announced.
During Warner Bros. Pictures’ series of panels, “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill made an appearance with “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder to announce that the “Man of Steel” sequel will have Superman and Batman. The movie, whose title is to be announced, is due out in 2015.
As for the Marvel Studios panel, the stars who would be on the panel were not announced in advance, but people already knew that the stars of “Captain America: The Winter Solider” and “Thor” The Dark World” would be there, since press conferences for those movies had been announced about a week prior to the event.
In the end though, Tom Hiddleston (dressed as his “Thor” character Loki) was the only cast member there for “Thor: The Dark World,” which did not have a press conference, but Hiddleston did do individual interviews with some media outlets after the panel took place. He introduced footage from the movie.
For “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the cast members at Comic-Con were Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp and Frank Grillo.
And, as expected, Marvel did a not-so-surprise introduction of the stars of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” with cast members Chris Pratt, Benicio del Toro, Zoe Saldana, Djimon Hounsou, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and Lee Pace. John C. Reilly was announced on the media tip sheet as being part the press conference, but he wasn’t there. Instead, Hounsou took his place. (More on the Marvel press conferences later.)
Comic-Con takes place every year for five days, from a Wednesday through Sunday. Saturday has traditionally been the biggest day at Comic-Con for movie panels, in terms of star power, major announcements and surprises. And this year was no exception.