Sunday, July 27, 2014

SDCC '14: Marvel Studios Hall H Recap

While Marvel did not reveal much about their Phase 3 films, they did have a huge presence again at this year's San Diego Comic Con. After the jump, I'll share my thoughts and give you a collection of what I've found around the web.

While many people, myself included, expected quite a few announcements about Marvel's Phase 3 films: some subtitles, an official Doctor Strange release date, maybe even some new franchises. While we didn't get any of those, we did get an official announcement of a Guardians of the the Galaxy sequel, set to hit theaters July 27, 2014. The announcement came via a video from James Gunn and Chris Pratt and was accompanied by the following image:

This is clearly a very aggressive move for Marvel. Guardians of the Galaxy was supposedly a "risky" film for Kevin Feige and crew; to greenlight a sequel before the wide-release of the first film shows a great deal of confidence in the potential successes hidden in the Cosmic corner of the Marvel universe. Given the positive early word of mouth and the fact that James Gunn already has a direction in mind for the sequel, it's unsurprising that a sequel is in the works. According to Feige in an interview with Screen Crush's Mike Ryan, the Guardians franchise will likely introduce some of the other Cosmic heavy hitters such as Nova:
I think, you know, if ‘Guardians’ works the way we certainly hope it works, that would probably be the franchise to meet a lot of those people, that would be our entrance into numerous other cosmic folk. If we spin any of those out into individual movies, that’s a question for down the line, but I think we would see a lot of those characters in a future ‘Guardians’ movie.
 And that's about all we can hope for. We know Richard Rider was cut from the original Guardians script and we also know that if Marvel goes forward exploring the Cosmic universe, they'll need a super-powered Nova to beat the odds.

Marvel spent a good chunk of their time hyping up their most-troubled production to date: Ant-Man. Marvel brought director Peyton Reed on stage along with stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Marvel also brought out Corey Stoll and confirmed him in the villainous role of Darren Cross, a former mentee of Hank Pym who has run astray of his mentor's goodwill. Cross, it seems, will be playing around in the Pym particles and will suit up as Yellowjacket, a one-time alter ego of Pym in the comics. Evangeline Lilly, who has denied involvement with the film quite a bit as of late, was also introduced in the role of Hope Van Dyne, the daughter of Pym. In the comics there was no Hope Van Dyne, but there was a Hope Pym, though she played a small, villainous role in a non-616 comic. It's not likely that Lilly, who says she has not read the script, will be playing a direct adaptation of that character. Check out the video embedded below to watch the full SDCC panel describe above and check out the official release HERE!

UPDATE: As of 7/28 it looks as though Marvel has just gone ahead and changed Lilly's character to Hope Pym as is reflected in the changes to the official press release linked above.

Marvel also ran a quick teaser for Ant-Man and while that's not included in the footage above, a very detailed description of the footage exists over at iO9:
There are two components to this pretty zany footage: a scene in Hank Pym's lab, where the camera just pans across the space, showing off all of the weird scientific equipment and bubbling beakers and creepy anthills, before finishing up at an Ant-Man helmet.
During this, Michael Douglas is convincing Scott Lang to do something. Lang protests that Hank seems nice but "I'm not a superhero." That means he's not an egomaniac, and he's not an "undisciplined moron causing more destruciton than he stops," Pym retorts. Superheroes are a "ridiculous concept. You're doing this because it's the right thing to do."
"Someone already stole your balls," Pym taunts Lang. "It's just a small job, he adds.
Cut to a tiny Scott Lang in the Ant-Man suit, running away after completing the "small job" — his Ant-Man helmet is on the fritz, and he keeps losing his connection to Hank Pym, who's barking instructions.
He's supposed to use the helmet to control "the transport" — which turns out to be a small flying ant. He tries to convince the flying ant to help him out, but the ant isn't listening. And then some flying lights show up, chasing him — so Scott has no choice but to jump off the building onto the flying ant, which he doesn't have a very stable grip on. He's trying to reach a rendezvous with Hank, but first he has to survive.
With that the Ant-Man portion of the panel came to an end, but the cast and crew stuck around press row for a while and gave a slew of interviews which I've embedded below:

Director Peyton Reed on taking the job after Edgar Wright's very public departure:

Paul Rudd, who will co-star as Scott Lang, on Wright's departure:

Corey Stoll on his role as Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket:

Evangeline Lilly:

Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd:

Ant-Man, which is considered another risky property for Marvel, is scheduled to begin filming in Atlanta on August 18th.

Next up, Kevin Feige brought the Avengers to the stage one at a time. Director Joss Whedon, who had knee surgery, and Black Widow actress Scarlett Johannson were not present. After the Avengers assembled on stage, Marvel showed what was reportedly an incredible sizzle reel from Avengers: Age of Ultron, a description of which can be found below. But before closing down the Avengers panel for the night, Marvel brought out Josh Brolin, the voice of Thanos, the Mad Titan! Check out the official Marvel release HERE!

Here's a VERY detailed description of the footage courtesy of iO9:
We saw a ton of Avengers: Age of Ultron footage, which starts light-hearted. We see the Avengers sitting around trying to untangle the "whosoever is worthy" thing, regarding who gets to hold Thor's hammer. And they all think it's a trick, or a circus sideshow.
"If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?" Tony asks. And Thor says yes. Tony says he will be fair but firm, and maybe work out the "wench clause." Tony can't lift it — even after he puts on an Iron Man glove and gets Rhodey to help him. Soon everybody is trying to lift it — including Bruce Banner, who gets kinda upset — and only Steve Rogers even comes close.
Black Widow doesn't even want to try lifting it, because "That's not a question I need answering."
Tony guess it's keyed to Thor's finger prints, or some other biometric, but Thor says the answer is simpler: "You're all not worthy."
Then there's a ringing sound and they're all deafened, and Ultron strides into the room, with a crude Avengers logo painted on his slightly misshapen chest. "How could you be worthy? You're all killers," Ultron says. "You want to protect the world, but you don't want to it to change. There's only one path to peace: your extinction."
Then a shit ton of robots burst through the wall and attack all of the Avengers, plus Maria Hill.
Then we hear Ultron's voiceover saying he had a vision of the whole world screaming for mercy, and everybody tangled in it.
And we see glimpses of some city in what looks like Africa being reduced to rubble by an attack. There's a closeup of Loki's staff, and everybody looking freaked out on the Quinjet — most of all Bruce Banner, who is holding himself and shaking with a terrified look on his face. People are running everywhere, and the debris is flying like crazy.
 Ultron gives a menacing look, as he surveys all the destruction.Then there are some hero moments: Captain America enters a place shooting some guns. Stuff is blowing up. Banner staggers to his knees in a snowy forest, looking sickly. Thor uses his hammer to smash a tank. Black Widow is in a medical bay, reaching for some surgical tools. We glimpse Nick Fury looking the way he did at the end of Winter Soldier. And Scarlet Witch is on a bus, approaching some people at the back of the bus with magic in one hand.
Tony Stark is looking forlorn and guilty. "It's the end, the end of a path I started us on," he tells Black Widow, who says everything ends.
Scarlet Witch sinks to her knees shouting. And there are more shots of Scarlet Witch using her powers, just quick glimpses of her projecting magical energy.
At this point, the trailer starts playing the clasic song "I've Got No Strings."
Tony, in Hulbuster armor, confronts Hulk on a city street, and there are several shots of them brawling and Tony getting the shit beat out of him. Quicksilver runs through a crowded room that seems to be standing still. Captain America is fighting someone in what looks like a knock-down brawl.
And because this is Joss Whedon, there's a glimpse of girls doing ballet.
Then we're back to Black Widow shooting shotguns, and more of the Hulk/Hulkbuster brawl. Thor grabs Tony Stark's throat and lifts him off the ground. Captain America is riding a motorcycle and then running. Cars are tumbling in mid air. Black Widow touches her hand to the Hulk's massive green hand, like she's calming him down. We glimpse a confrontation between Black Widow and Scarlet Witch.
And then Ultron finishes the song saying, "There are no strings on me," clenching a fist as he celebrates that he's no longer a puppet.
And we go a shot of Captain America's shield — shattered to fragments. We pull back, and all of the Avengers are lying prone, apparently dead, in the rubble. Tony is leaning over them, and he looks totlaly horrified and ashamed.
An incredible amount of footage was shown and I've yet to find anyone's description that didn't include praise for how director Joss Whedon has seemingly done away with the "TV-ish" look for which he was criticized on The Avengers. This footage is dark and forboding and the ending, while probably misleading, is interesting. It's likely that the final footage, which many people are interpreting as the Avengers dead, in space, near the throne of Thanos, is some sort of mental manipulation caused by the Scarlet Witch. It's unlikely that it's a true part of the story for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it most certainly seems like something we could see in the third Avengers film.

While the teaser footage for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has already leaked, I've yet to see the Avengers: Age of Ultron footage myself. I'm sure it's out there and will be made available, though I won't be putting it up here. Following the panel, the cast members all stuck around and did a TON of interviews, many of which I've embedded for you below by cast member. Enjoy!

Paul Bettany:

Josh Brolin:

Robert Downey Jr.:

Chris Evans:

Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo:


Chris Hemsworth:

Jeremy Renner:

Mark Ruffalo:

James Spader:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen:

That's what's out there. Hopefully there's enough there for each of you to get your own fill. Given the fact that by next year's Comic Con Cap 3 will likely already have finished filming and the July 2016 film, presumed to be Doctor Strange, will be underway, it looks like those films won't be getting the big Comic Con tease that we've come to expect in the past, but that just means we'll have plenty of other reveals throughout the year.