This year could have been special. A year after Marvel Studios announced the bulk of the Phase 4 slate in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, odds were high that a 2020 panel would have been even bigger. We might have seen footage from Eternals and trailers for the Disney+ shows, and gotten some juicy news about Captain Marvel 2, Black Panther 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Who knows what else?
Alas, covid-19 has not just cancelled Comic-Con this year, but also delayed the production schedules and releases of most, if not all, of those Marvel Studios projects. So, as we wait for next year’s panel, we thought we’d take this moment to look back and remember the very best, most exciting Marvel Studios moments in Comic-Con history.
7. The Beginning
The year is 2006. Marvel has released some good (and bad) X-Men and Spider-Man movies over the past few years but things have slowed down. Enter Kevin Feige, a producer on those movies, who has an idea. What if a bunch of movies were made, like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk (scheduled for two years later), that linked together? Hypothetically, you could do The Avengers? It didn’t happen in Hall H, and not that many people were in the audience, but Feige’s first tease of a notion that would change Hollywood forever has become mythic.
6. Black Panther’s greatness begins
The year is 2017. The first trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther is fresh in everyone’s minds, having just been released. There couldn’t be more footage shown at Comic-Con, could there? Yes. Yes, there could. It was an extended scene from the casino fight we now all know and love and the cast’s excitement at seeing the footage was only rivaled by the standing ovation it got from 7,000 fans. A few months later, Black Panther would go on to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time and give Marvel Studios its first Oscar nomination. But the first spark of that came in Hall H.
5. The Guardians of the Galaxy debut
The year is 2013. Marvel is in the midst of its most epic panel to date, announcing all these movies that will continue the story after The Avengers. They’re all interesting — Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and then… what’s this Guardians of the Galaxy thing? The movie had only been filming for a few days but James Gunn debuted a hilarious piece of footage that instantly hyped everyone up for this wild, mysterious movie. Oh, and the whole cast flew to San Diego to say hi.
4. The first Iron Man footage
The year is 2007. Marvel Studios has just only begun to make those movies Kevin Feige talked about the previous year, and audiences haven’t seen anything from them yet. Jon Favreau’s Iron Man is still a little over a year from release, but the director says, screw it, let’s play a long-arse trailer anyway. The moment set the surprising and exciting tone for Marvel Hall H panels for years to come.
3. A New Thor
The year is 2019. Marvel Studios is dropping news up, down, and sideways about all the new movies and TV shows that’ll make up the future of the franchise. And as Taika Waititi comes out to discuss the fourth Thor film, Love and Thunder, he reveals that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will be back… and that she’ll be Thor. The buzz and excitement in the room is palpable, as if the entire MCU had just shifted.
2. Loki Reigns
The year, once again, is 2013. Phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has just begun with Iron Man 3. But what’s next? Tom Hiddleston, in full Loki costume and character, comes on the Hall H stage and makes all of Comic-Con bow to him in order to find out what’s next. And bow they did. You can watch it here:
1. Avengers Assemble
The year is 2010. Fans have seen exactly three MCU movies: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2. And yet, Marvel Studios blows everyone’s minds by bringing out not just Iron Man, not just a new Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), but Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. It was the first time we all stepped back and thought, “Holy shit, they’re going to do this.” And did they ever.
There have been so many other great moments, too: introducing Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Mahershala Ali as Blade, and Josh Brolin as Thanos; everyone reuniting in 2016 for the 10-year anniversary; the list goes on and on. And, hopefully, in the future, it can go on and on some more.