The panel began with a sizzle reel that included the awwww-dorable original 1999 audition of Hugh Jackman for Wolverine. "You think I asked for this, eh?"
Jackman was the first one out to the panel, who said, "Man, have I aged....I have three words for you: Old Man Logan. Take from that what you will."
He called Wolverine the greatest superhero ever made. "I may be biased," he said, thanking the fans for being "the most loyal, passionate, honest, sometimes brutally honest" people in the world.
"I know they killed off Wolverine in the comic books recently, but in the movies, hey, he's not dead yet," he said of his character.
"This next time is going to be my last time putting on the claws. One. Last. Time," Jackman said. "This has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me."
Jackman introduced director Bryan Singer, who entered the stage at a run.
"I had never known more in my life that I had not got a job," Jackman said of the audition tape that ultimately led to a decade-plus journey with the X-Men franchise. Obviously he was wrong: Also captured in the reel was Singer's on-the-spot job offer to Jackman. "I really want this work out."
The duo hugged it out and said their "I love yous" before Singer called out Evan Peters, Lucas Till, Lana Confor, Kody Smit-McPhee, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp and writer-producer Simon Kinberg.
And, surprise! The cast brought the first bit of footage, cut into trailer form, after just five weeks of filming. As Singer set up, the world that "Apocalypse takes place in is in 1983 and "the world has now accepted mutants thanks to the great heroism of Raven, Mystique. Mutants are for the most part accepted and embraced by society. In some places, most places."
Singer warned that the footage -- which looked amazing -- was very much unfinished.
"Film school disclaimer, this is sort of cut in trailer format but it represents only about 5 weeks of shooting, no finished visual effects or anything like that," he said. "But what it does represent are the tastes and tone of the movie we’re making."
And that tone is awesome.
We got our first look at Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse, a slick-looking blue man with black markings on his face, while an ominous voiceover played.
"I’ve been called many things over many times of my life," he says. "I was there to spark and fan the flame of man’s awakening. To spin the wheel of civilization."
Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) introduces him as perhaps "the world's first mutant."
"You are all my children and you are lost, because you follow blind leader," Apocalypse intones. (!!!!) "Everything they’ve built will fall and from the ashes of their world we’ll build a better one."
McAvoy, as Professor X, wears a helmet and cries in amazement. "What do you see?" he's asked.
"Oh god," is all he can answer. (Same.)
Later in the footage, his eyes turn pure black. "I've never felt power like this before."
And, of course, the last shot in the trailer introduces Professor X as we know him: turning slowly to the camera in his wheelchair, bald and serious.
If this is what Singer can do after five weeks, we can't wait to see the finished product next summer.
It was, as Hoult later said in the panel, "Cool as s--t."