San Diego Comic-Con's 10 biggest moments from the last 10 years

Contributed by
Jul 18, 2016, 1:44 PM EDT

San Diego Comic-Con is a beast. It's four days of pop culture mania that's become a focal point of the geek calendar year. What started as the humble Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 has become one of the biggest entertaiment events ever.

Films and TV shows pull out all the stops to impress their diehard fans. Over the past decade, we've seen SDCC take drastic steps to ensure visitors have a memorable experience. From panels to parties, here are 10 breakout moments that defined the last 10 years.


Marvel makes its mark

In 2007, Marvel debuted the first trailer for Iron Man to much fanfare. The studio set a high standard for not only itself, but its peers. Ever since then, it's been a game of who can top who. Marvel still trumps the competition every single time. Remember when we first met the Avengers? What about Tom Hiddleston's surprise appearance as Loki? Or that tender moment between Iron Man and Thanos' alter egos?


Lost the Great

Remember Lost? Yeah, that show was a gamechanger.  Lost was a series that both sci-fi geeks and the general public loved. It proved this in its ratings and more importantly, its panel turnout. If you didn't camp out, you weren't getting in. When Lost was hot, it was HOT!


TRON's neverending legacy

Disney legitimately promoted TRON Legacy at SDCC for three years in a row. The studios' marketing efforts were in a league of its own. They brought out the big dogs like Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxlietner, and even sponsored TRON themed events offsite. Has anyone pushed a film that hard since?


Vampire mania

Whether you want to admit it or not, 2009 happened. It was the peak of pop culture's obsession with vampires. Led by the unholy trinity of Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, SDCC became a stomping ground for the sexy undead. And mainstream media was all over it.


Scott Pilgrim vs Comic-Con

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was built for SDCC. It's one of the few comic book adaptations that takes the literal approach. It was an example of something that was for us, by us, with fan favorite Edgar Wright at the helm. The cast and crew delivered a panel that was larger than life followed by an early screening of the film. Much like the first Kick-Ass panel, it embodied everything Comic-Con should be.


The World's Finest

Following 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. and DC made an unexpected announcement. For the first time ever, Batman and Superman would appear in a live-action film. It may not seem exciting now (Bad reviews be damned!), but at the time it was all the rage. They broke the news in 2013 and introduced us to the Trinity in 2014. People's hearts couldn't take it.


DC's TV takeover

DC and Warner Bros. may still struggle on the film front, but their TV game is undeniable. In 2014, they held a panel featuring the casts of their biggest live-action shows. This included Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, and Contantine (RIP). It was sensory overload, but in a good way.


Fox's super selfie

Fox gave fans a taste of their shared Marvel Universe at the 2015 panel. They had castmembers from X-Men: Apocalypse, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and Gambit join the iconic Stan Lee for a photo op. Marketing level achieved: Elite.


The Force is still with you

For months, Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been hidden under the JJ Abrams shroud of secrecy. But thanks to SDCC, you finally saw the ensemble cast, which included original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Did this moment break the Internet? Possibly.


SDCC's expanded universe

This isn't a moment as much as it is an evolution. One of SDCC's biggest changes has been downtown San Diego. If you never make it to Hall H, you could still have the time of your life at sponsored events that take place offsite. Nerd HQ offers intimate panels with the stars, there are concerts galore,  and enough parties to keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.