Every year, hundreds of thousands of eager fans descend on San Diego, Calif., for Comic-Con, an increasingly inaccurately titled showcase of some of the most anticipated movies and TV shows (and yes, occasionally comic books). This year's Comic-Con was no different, offering a slew of major updates on popular franchises like The Avengers, The Hunger Games, and Man of Steel.
If you decided you'd rather not spend your weekend waiting in seven-hour lines to get into the panels, don't worry — we have all the info you need right here:
1. Batman and Superman are going to be in a movie together
Man of Steel may have polarized critics and fans alike, but it has also grossed more than $600 million at the box office this summer, which puts its squarely into "guaranteed sequel" territory. But while an announcement for Man of Steel 2 was roundly expected — and applauded — fan reaction went into overdrive when cast member Harry Lennix was called out to quote a key piece of comic book lore: "I want you to remember, Clark. In all the years to come. In all your most private moments. I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
For those of you not well-versed in classic comic books, that speech is the crux of Frank Miller's beloved The Dark Knight Returns, which saw Batman and Superman square off against one another in a brutal and climactic battle. As Lennix spoke, the screen revealed the Superman logo superimposed over Batman's.
In other words, it's official: The next Superman movie will co-star Batman, uniting the two most famous superheroes in history on the big screen for the first time.
2. The Avengers 2 gets a new title and villain
Of course, Marvel pioneered the superhero team-up extravaganza with movies like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, forging the trail for 2012's The Avengers, which eventually became the third highest-grossing movie in history. Expectations for the sequel are understandably high, and though it won't hit theaters until 2015, its newly revealed title sheds some light on the film's probable storyline. Joss Whedon took the stage to announce that The Avengers 2 would be called The Avengers: Age of Ultron, resulting in an absolute frenzy of cheering.
Confused? In brief: In Marvel comics, Ultron is a robot designed by Hank Pym (better known as Ant-Man) that develops sentience and wages war on the heroes. Ultron is widely regarded as one of the best villains in the Marvel stable, and while Marvel will have to adapt the comics character in order to fit the continuity it has established on the big screen, it's an early indication that the Avengers sequel will be every bit the event that the first film turned out to be.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy looks strange, hilarious
The Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn't the only superhero flick that Marvel showed off. In addition to glimpses of upcoming sequels Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the company provided a window into its most offbeat offering yet: Guardians of the Galaxy, which follows a ragtag band of intergalactic heroes that includes a green-skinned alien assassin, a walking tree, and a fast-talking space raccoon, to name but three. "They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy," says costar John C. Reilly in the teaser. "What a bunch of a-holes."
It's definitely the "something different" Marvel president Kevin Feige had promised fans, and a sign that the company is willing to expand the boundaries of the superhero genre.
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire gets an extended trailer
It wasn't all superhero movies at Comic-Con. Attendees also got an extended glimpse of the highly anticipated Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire — including a long look at fan-favorite Finnick Odair, who director Francis Lawence described as a "sex god."
5. Marvel screens the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot — and Cobie Smulders appears in it
Of course, there were also plenty of exciting moments for TV fans, even if the biggest one also tended toward the superhero genre. ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is set to bring the world of The Avengers to the small screen, is easily the most anticipated TV pilot of the fall season. After holding the pilot back from critics, ABC made a splash by screening it, in full, for a rapturous audience of fans at Comic-Con.
The biggest revelation? Cobie Smulders, who played Agent Maria Hill in The Avengers, appears in a meaty role in the pilot, despite reports that her commitment to How I Met Your Mother would keep her from participating. While she's not a full-fledged cast member, she's expected to put in regular appearances — especially after How I Met Your Mother airs its final season this year.
6. Ted's adult children reappear on How I Met Your Mother
And speaking of How I Met Your Mother, the CBS sitcom made its first and last appearance at Comic-Con to promote its swan song. In addition to a clip featuring series protagonist Ted's now-grown children — poking fun at the show's seemingly endless story line — the cast and crew appeared to drop some hints about the final arc, including coy references to the return of fan favorites like Robin Sparkles and the slap bet.
7. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter movie gets its first teaser
Earlier this year, cult favorite TV series Veronica Mars earned an unlikely resurrection when fans donated $5.7 million to bring the teen detective back to the big screen. And at Comic-Con, backers finally got the chance to see where all their money is going. The film's cast and crew showed up to demo the first footage of the film, which included actors like Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring reprising their beloved roles for the first time in years.