That Costumed Character Next to You May Be Your Favorite Celebrity
In addition to panel sessions, pop culture tchotchkes, and attendees parading around in costumes, Comic Cons also provide the opportunity to see celebrities. Movie and television studios bring major stars to events like Comic-Con International San Diego for appearances at stage presentations and panel sessions.
Given the free-wheeling nature of San Diego Comic-Con, celebrities also often mingle less formally with fans. There’s a good chance you’ll run into a movie or TV star in the corridors of the convention center, on the show floor, or in a hotel lobby.
You might get a wave from comic book impresario Stan Lee as he heads to his next appointment; or run into The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman on the show floor; or catch a glimpse of actor Gillian Anderson and X-Files creator Chris Carter as they head to their next autograph signing.
When celebrities want to surprise fans or peruse the show floor unimpeded, however, they sometimes follow the lead of many of the show’s attendees and don costumes.
When Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in Marvel’s Thor and Avengers films, wanted to make a surprise appearance at Comic-Con International San Diego 2013, he knew word would quickly spread if he were spotted traveling to San Diego. “The hardest thing in our world now is to keep something so secret that it’s actually a surprise,” Hiddleston told the Los Angeles Times.
His solution: travel in costume. “I flew in to San Diego from London as Jango Fett from the Star Wars films because I knew that if I was seen in San Diego there would be a picture on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, ‘I’ve just seen Thomas in the San Diego airport, I’ve just seen him in the hotel. He’s obviously here for Thor 2.’”
Other celebrities use disguises to roam around the convention like regular attendees.
At the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con actor Jack Black was spotted walking around sporting a lucha libre wrestling mask.
Underneath a large Bart Simpson mask was Dr .Who star Matt Smith.
Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston strolled around San Diego Comic-Con that year disguised as… himself. Cranston wore a realistic mask of Walter White, the character he plays on Breaking Bad and revealed his true identify on the panel stage.
Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage turns his costumed adventures into a scavenger hunt for fans. Once disguised, he tweets hints about his costume and his whereabouts using the #AdamIncognito hashtag, awarding a prize to the first fan to discover his identity. His costumes in recent years have included a Ringwraith from The Lord of the Rings, the Rocketeer, No-Face from Spirited Away, and Star Wars characters Admiral Ackbar and Chewbacca.
In 2013 he also joined dozens of other fans who were disguised as Adam Savage himself.
So, as you’re jostling through the crowd on the show floor at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, be gracious to the next costumed character you run into. It just might be your favorite celebrity. Better yet — treat everyone as if they were a celebrity. At Comic-Con, they’re the real stars of the show.