The Biggest Surprises Of Comic-Con 2013

The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Batman/Superman, anyone?

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This year's San Diego Comic-Con was busier and more exciting than ever, and despite having a packed schedule of stuff we already knew was going to happen, it managed to cram in any number of surprises that were stuffed up the organisers' sleeve until the last moment. On Saturday in particular, Hall H was the scene of the sort of mass hysteria usually associated with particularly wild rock concerts, like Glastonbury without the mud (just as many tents though). The crowds who camped out to see the first footage from films like Gravity and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes were rewarded with a veritable ocean of A-list guests and some huge announcements. Here were the biggest shocks...

The Warner Bros. panel on Saturday morning had already over-delivered on footage and guests by the time that Zack Snyder bounded onstage to finish things off with a quick announcement. But what he had to say raised the roof on Hall H in a way that's impressive even for this hysteria-prone establishment. Not only was he officially confirming that planned Man Of Steel sequel, but he brought out actor Harry Lennix to read a quote that he said gave an idea of the thing that they're going for with the sequel. That line came from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, and was spoken by Batman to Superman, and it was followed by the two characters' logos appeared interposed on the huge overhead screens. Yes, the World's Finest will be appearing together in their next screen incarnations, and while the project is in the earliest of early days yet, it was enough to make fans scream, cry and generally swoon with delight. It's set for 2015, officially the biggest year for blockbusters that there has ever been, and the still-untitled film was unquestionably the biggest news to come out of the 'Con. Read the full story

Comic-Con 2013: X-Men: Days Of Future Past's Entire Cast Surprises Us

It seemed impossible that 20th Century Fox could make an impact after the excitement of Saturday morning in Hall H - but they had an ace up their sleeve. Well, about 17 aces actually, because Bryan Singer turned up with the entire principal cast of X-Men: Days Of Future Past and debuted a sizzle reel of the film that revealed quite a bit about the plot (So it's Wolverine who goes back in time! And we see Stewart and McAvoy share the screen) and showed a whole lot of action for mutants in both time-frames. It all looks like they've taken the spine of the classic comic book story and built something even larger and more exciting around it, so let's hope this is the epic that The Last Stand could have been. Read the full story.

There was an odd little moment halfway through Warner's presentation when Legendary Pictures head Thomas Tull called to say he was running late and offered some footage as an apology. Playing without introduction, it showed a man standing on a blasted waste, drinking the last of his water and scavenging a shield from a corpse. But it was only when the camera revealed his opponent, a troll-like figure holding a war hammer that the crowd went wild. This was the first concept footage for Duncan Jones' World Of Warcraft movie, and the director followed to assure the crowd that he knows how lucky he is to be doing it, that he's stopped playing the game so much so that he can focus on making it, and that things are moving forward. All good things, because the WOW fans might just march him off to the deepest dungeon on Azeroth if he doesn't manage to pull it off. Read the full story.

As if surprises from various films weren’t enough to send the crowd into frenzy, Marvel managed to find time for just… one… more. In came Joss Whedon to a heroes’ welcome, promising to announce something. What we got was a nifty teaser trailer that blended voice-over from Avengers Assemble with what appeared to be Iron Man’s helmet getting pounded by forces unseen until it became the iconic headpiece of malignant machine Ultron and the Avengers sequel was revealed as The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. The rogue robot – an accidentally maniacal product of scientist Hank “Ant Man” Pym – will be the Big Bad for the new film. Hope Tony and co has the number for a good tech support service… Read the full story.

Edge Of Tomorrow, formerly All You Need Is Kill, was not scheduled for Hall H on Saturday, but Doug Liman, Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Christopher McQuarrie (or "McQ" as Cruise calls him) turned up with a lengthy trailer that explained more about the film. Cruise's character is a desk jockey at army headquarters who ends up in the front lines of an alien war, but he can somehow go back in time and alter his actions in a way that may win the war for humanity - maybe. The panel, inevitably, largely became The Tom Cruise Show, with the star singing for the crowd and dragging Bill Paxton (also in the film) from the audience for a quick Aliens-quoteathon. But the footage looked icily cool, even if it seems that London's in for another bad cinematic day. Read the full story.

Marvel's barmy space-comedy Guardians Of the Galaxy is less than two weeks into shooting in London, so no one would have been surprised if they'd limited themselves to, say, a video message from director James Gunn, or a quick dialogue scene if we were lucky. Instead, we got a fully-rendered series of scenes around Chris Pratt's Star-Lord and his gang, and a first look at Rocket Raccoon (looks like a raccoon, basically) and Groot (looks like a palm tree after a really heavy night), and the principal cast all flew over for the afternoon to explain why it is that Karen Gillan's entirely shaved her hair - something she revealed by stripping off her wig mid-panel - and what the heck it is they're making. We're still not entirely sure, but what we saw was funny. Read the full story.

Not everything at Comic-Con is a blockbuster starring a superhero - just most things. But one exception was Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem, which previewed on Thursday with a demented-looking sizzle reel followed by the first ten minutes of the film. A paranoid but perky Gilliam, by video link, claimed to be locked up by his producers until he finishes the film and sending this message via the ever-present NSA spies. But the film itself looks to have a similar streak of mistrust and manic energy, and it's a wonderful mismatch of bright neon and derelict browns and greys. In other words, not only has Gilliam succeeded in making another film - always something to celebrate - but it seems he's made one that's firmly in his natural wheel-house. Read the full story.

The Amazing Spider-Man’s panel featured one big surprise besides the expected footage reel – Andrew Garfield showed up in his film costume, swinging towards the convention centre in a funny short before striding on stage and conducting the first part of his panel duties in character as Spidey. Jamie Foxx’s Electro was the star of the short clips from the movie itself, though, with the energy-manipulating villain clearly defined as the film’s big bad. Though we did also see early moments with Paul Giamatti’s Aleksei Sytsevick, the man destined to be known as Rhino. What we saw raised hopes that the Spider-sequel will be more defined and muscular that the first film, with a firmer grasp on the quippy style that makes Spidey work. Read the full story.

One surprise was what wasn't there from Marvel. While they brought out Tom Hiddleston, in costume and in character as Loki, to accept the crowd's submission and adopt them as his own, and while the Captain America team were out in force, there were no big announcements about the Marvel projects beyond 2014. There was no casting for Ant-Man, no further word on the Doctor Strange plans, so it seems that whatever Marvel's cooking up next isn't quite ready to come out of the oven yet. Perhaps now that Edgar Wright's launched The World's End things will move more quickly on one of those films at least, but for now there's no big Marvel announcement to match Superman/Batman. Read the full story.

Clark Gregg, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ming-na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton & Melinda May

The ever-coy Mr. Joss Whedon arrived at the panel for Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a sheepish claim that they couldn’t show clips from the show’s pilot because of legal reasons. Of course, it was a ruse, and the entire episode screened for a delighted audience. The response was largely positive afterwards, with praise for the show’s concentration on character over the spectacle it can’t necessarily sustain on a telly budget (though it had its moments), the typically entertaining banter and solid performances from the likes of Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Brett Dalton and more. And, of course, the always-reliable Agent Coulson, played by character acting rock star Clark Gregg. Read the full story.

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