Our 7 “You Should’ve Been There” Moments From Comic-Con

Every year, networks and studios have to really do their best to wow fans and cosplayers at Comic-Con, and they certainly outdid themselves this time—just maybe not in the way you assumed. Though some of 2015’s most anticipated panels were worth the wait (holy moly, Star Wars), others failed to deliver anything new (like the contractually-silenced Game of Thrones cast). Our favorite moments, the ones we find ourselves talking about over and over, were ones we certainly didn’t expect—plus a couple that just filled us with too much joy to ignore. Here are our seven absolute favorite moments that happened at Comic-Con that you’ll pinch yourself for having missed. (And if you haven’t been yet and are planning on attending next year, check out our First Timer’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of Comic-Con 2016!)

Billy Murray Kicks It Off with Surprise Appearance

Making his debut appearance at Con, Bill Murray rocked into Hall H to the tunes of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water to promote his new flick, Rock the Kasbah. Reminding us all why he’s a legend, Murray joked about how “insane nerds” have been a part of all his favorite parties, commented on South Carolina’s move towards lowering the state Capitol’s Confederate flag as being a marker of societal evolution, and when asked about his favorite role, said: “Once upon a time, I did save the City of New York and I had the coolest damn car to ride around Manhattan.”

Star Wars Reunites Cast & J.J. Abrams Takes Hall H to a Concert

The anticipated Star Wars panel was huge and will go down as the reason why people will wait days to get into Hall H. Exceeding expectations, J.J. Abrams showed over three minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, the audience met the new cast and were reintroduced to their beloved favorites, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. “I never thought [Star Wars] would come back to bless me instead of haunt me,” Ford said. “I was very gratified when I read the script, because I read something that I thought was really remarkable. Well written, with some intriguing developments. So I was delighted to be involved.”

As if the panel wasn’t enough (Han Solo and Leia kissed!), Abrams ended it in a way that’s never been done before by asking the audience, “Who wants to go see a live Star Wars concert right now?” And then a group of Stormtroopers actually led the 6,500-person crowd to a secret Star Wars symphony hand-picked by the iconic composer John Williams. Plus, everyone was given a lightsaber to swing in the air while fireworks were set off

Kevin Smith Meets His Worst Nightmare with Harley Quinn at His Side

As a direct result of J.J. Abrams’ surprise concert, Kevin Smith got to experience one of his worst nightmares: playing to an empty hall. As you can see in the video, Hall H almost completely cleared out—which is unheard of between panels—which left Smith wondering if anyone was going to show up (22 people actually skipped the concert so they could see Smith). Though he thought about canceling and going to the concert himself, Smith powered through and walked out to around 2,500 people—which seems like a lot, but isn’t when the room holds over 6,000. While his people checked to see if there was room at the concert for us all (there wasn’t, but it was kind of Smith to try), the indie icon still did what he does best, which is tell funny stories that have a huge heart at the center. 

Not only full of jokes, Smith spoke frankly about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people, commented on needing to get everything planned for the Mallrats sequel before approaching Ben Affleck, told a lot of Johnny Depp stories from Tusk, and brought his teenage daughter Harley Quinn out to introduce the trailer for their next flick, Yoga Hosers (which is basically Clerks with girls and monsters—in other words, amazing). More than anything, Smith reminded us all just how accessible and friendly he is when fan after fan approached the microphone to thank him for inspiring them to create. The gratitude tied in well with a touching story he told about being taught the business by the late film great Jim Jacks (I almost started crying), reminding us all that, “Your voice is your only currency in this life.”

Sure, it wasn’t cool that Smith wasn’t warned ahead of time, but he still prevailed and delivered a fantastic panel that he (and we) will certainly never forget, ending it by saying, “Make yourself known and write your name on the wall. Let the world know you were there.” 

Bryan Cranston’s Mic-Dropping Answer at Nerd HQ

Bryan Cranston is getting a lot of love after answering a fan’s question in a way only Walter White can. Just watch the video.

The Superhero Moment of Epic Proportions

Moderated by Nerdist Chris Hardwick, the Fox panel brought in the big guns from its Marvel lineup and showed footage from the highly anticipated Deadpool. In an effort to see just how many superheroes one can fit into a selfie, Hardwick gathered his famous buds from Wolverine, X-Men, Deadpool, Gambit, and Fantastic Four for a photo that is the nerd’s answer to that Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the Oscars. With comic book legend Stan Lee front and center with Hardwick, also in the shot is Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Miles Teller, Ryan Reynolds, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Mara, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, T.J. Miller, and Olivia Munn. 

Joss Whedon Wins Icon Award

For the first time, Joss Whedon was given his own panel in Hall H to chat about his many projects and what the future may hold. Coming off of the Avengers whirlwind, Whedon affirmed that he is still the self-effacing guy we all know and love. We were given a glimpse at his new six-issue comic book Twist (which deals with the dilemma of: “Why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?”), laughed at the advice he’d give his younger self (Rogaine!), and swelled with pride as he was presented the Icon Award in front of a standing ovation. Summing up everything that is noble and beautiful about Comic-Con, we can only hope that a solo panel for Whedon becomes an annual event. 

Quentin Tarantino Blows Our Minds

While promoting his upcoming flick The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino reminded us all just how much the 70mm format matters in cinema and dropped some amazing news. Using the platform to give a history lesson, Tarantino fascinated fans by reminding us all that while he certainly knows how to deliver epic brutality, he really knows film—The Hateful Eight is the 11th film in history to be filmed in Ultra Panavision 70mm. The lenses used were the exact same that filmed Ben Hur. No big deal. He commented on his reaction to the script being leaked, brought out the cast—Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Demian Bechir, Michael Madsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, and Samuel L. Jackson (via a pre-recorded video)—and even played a full seven minutes of actual footage from the film that gives more insight into each character’s background. Tarantino unveiled that The Hateful Eight boasts an entirely original score by the iconic Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West), marking the composer’s first western score in 40 years. 

Tarantino also announced that he has another western in process (because if he’s to be a “Western director,” he needs three movies) and commented that he would “never say never” about a third Kill Bill. When asked about his previous statement regarding retiring after 10 films, he clarified: “That wasn’t so much a mission statement and more me trying to have a serious discussion of an artist’s vitality in public in a world where that’s not really a good thing to do. But there is an aspect. I do kind of like the idea of ‘10 and done.’ I do like the idea of getting out and leaving everyone wanting a little more. I don’t want to ever be out of touch.” He even suggested that maybe television is in his future, since it would give him more freedom to expand his stories.

All in all, Tarantino delivered in a big way and if you missed this panel, we feel sorry for you. 

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