San Diego Comic-Con: Marvel Studios Panel

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Marvel came to Comic-Con in a huge way this year. Following the massive Warner Bros. presentation in Hall H, Marvel took the stage to show that they could play “Who makes Hall H the loudest?” game too. Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios head made sure to bring his big guns this weekend, featuring an appearance by Edgar Wright and the test footage for ‘Ant-Man’, Robert Downey, Jr., Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, and director Shane Black for ‘Iron Man 3’, as well as new title announcements for their upcoming Phase 2 of the Marvel cinematic universe. Oh, and did I mention we saw about four minutes of ‘Iron Man 3’? Yeah, this panel was huge.

Starting things off, Marvel rolled a video that started with Marvel studios at their first comic con in 2006, talking about their future. It then fast forwarded through their six movies, their Comic-Con presentations, and really showing off what Marvel has done. It was a giant thank you letter from Marvel Studios, to the fans, for making ‘The Avengers’, and the Marvel cinematic universe, one of the biggest franchises of all time. The fans went crazy, and it was a really cool think to witness. Kevin Feige then came out and began talking about their upcoming slate of films for Phase 2. He started by talking about ‘Ant-Man’, which has been in development since the studio started, which Edgar Wright is directing. Wright had been tweeting all week he was in London, but much to everyone’s surprise, it was a red herring and he arrived to talk about the film. We found out he had shot some test footage for the movie. The audience went crazy as he asked if we’d like to see it, and we got an early look at what ‘Ant-Man’ would look like:

Their is a long hallway, with two guards sitting in front of an elevator door. We then see the same shot, but from behind a vent, where ‘Ant-Man’ is watching them. He jumps down in his tiny form and starts charging the guards, and as he’s almost to them, he grows to normal size, shocking the guards who begin shooting at him. He shrinks again, jumps up onto the barrel of one of the guns, and charges up straight at the face of one of the guards. He punches the guard in the face, knocking one tooth out, that flies out and breaks a camera. He then jumps on the second guard, grabs his tie, and begins running up his chest and then down his back. As he comes down the guards back, he becomes normal size again, flipping the guard through a window. Satisfied with his work, he gets in the elevator, only to have it playing ‘It’s a Small World’, much to the audiences surprise. Ant-man stands awkwardly, listening to the music, and the doors close, ending a rather awesome and hilarious scene. If the movie is anything like this test footage, ‘Ant-Man’ is going to be an insanely fun movie. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Next, Kevin Feige began talking about what else the studio has coming down the pipeline. We all knew that ‘Thor 2’ and ‘Captain America 2′ were on the way, but at the time, we didn’t know they had new titles. Feige went on to reveal that the movies will now be “Thor: The Dark World’ and ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, respectively. Fans of the comics will no doubt be very excited by the news, as the titles hint at very big events from the comics. But I believe it’s safe to say, without spoiling the story lines, that we’ll be seeing the return of a few characters in Captain America, and introduced to some menacing new ones in Thor. Then Feige announced that Marvel’s first cosmic film is moving forward, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Feige was very excited to announce the title, and he’s really looking forward to expanding the Marvel universe into it’s cosmic side. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the events of ‘Guardians’ have a direct effect on ‘Avengers 2’, so be very excited for it.

But we all know that next May, Downey, Jr. dons the Iron Man armor for his fourth time, so Downey, Jr., making a grand entrance, took the stage with co-stars Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau, and director Shane Black for ‘Iron Man 3’. Downey, Jr. got up front and looked at the audience, as he got a standing ovation, and said “I have three questions. First, how much do I love you?” and the hall got loud. Then he asked “And how much do you love me?”, with the hall getting even louder. He then concluded with “And third, why aren’t we watching any [Iron Man 3] footage yet?”, which made Hall H become the most deafening loud I’d heard it all weekend. What we saw was a four or five minute sizzle reel from the film, followed by what looks to be part of the first trailer of the film. And it’s incredible! Somehow, someway, Marvel looks to have made ‘Iron Man 3’ even bigger than ‘The Avengers’, which I didn’t think was possible. At all. The footage starts with Stark testing his new suit, to much hilarious effect, and then cuts to a conversation between Stark and Happy Hogan (Favreau). They banter about how Happy quit because people laughed at him for being Iron Man’s bodyguard, and also for the fact it didn’t matter anyway, he didn’t know what was going half the time because Stark was out playing with his group of “Super Friends” now. Stark brushes it off saying don’t worry about it, which Happy then retorts “You know, my grandma lives in Manhattan. She jumped out of a second story window because she saw giant snakes from space flying through the sky.” Stark looks at him and says “Hey, we took care of it.” It was a funny exchange, and I love the references to ‘The Avengers’ events, really making it feel like it’s part a larger story. We then saw a lot of action shots, with a voice over from the villain, talking about how he wants to make the world in his image. I won’t spoil the action, but I can confirm that Ben Kingsley is indeed playing Mandarin in this film. His reveal gained huge applause, and I’m very excited to see him in the roll.

The panel after was a lot of bantering back and forth, but one important thing did come out of it, which dealt with Downey, Jr. and his future as Tony Stark. After ‘Iron Man 3’, Downey, Jr’s. contract with Marvel ends, which has some fans worried about the future. But Feige and Downey, Jr. both said that once the film is done, they’ll begin talking about the future and figure out exactly how Downey, Jr. will go forward with the franchise. But he’s definitely wanting to stay around in the part. The room went crazy, and I think it’s safe to say that these fans want him to stay too.

Marvel Studios really came out swinging in Hall H this year, especially following WB’s massive panel. I was very impressed with what the studio had to bring, and now I’m that much more excited for phase 2, even though I was already hugely excited for it before. Marvel has so much cool stuff coming down the pipeline, fans are going to wanting to be watching the next few years to see how it all plays out. I for one can’t wait, and I’m sure you can’t either. It’s impressive how far they’ve come in just a few years, and lets hope they have many more.

  • Marvel Begins Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe(chipandco.com)

  • Comic Con 2012: What Disney and Marvel Fans Have to Look Forward To(chipandco.com)


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