SDCC 2014: Marvel Studios Rules Comic-Con with 'Avengers,' 'Ant-Man,' and More

Saturday, 26 July 2014 17:24 Written by  iamrogue
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SDCC 2014: Marvel Studios Rules Comic-Con with 'Avengers,' 'Ant-Man,' and More

Marvel Studios, the reigning king of Comic-Con hype, once again emerged with the most talked-about presentation in San Diego this weekend.

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so bright Hulk might as well have been wearing shades tonight as Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron took over Hall H with star-studded panels and outstanding footage.

That's not all, either.  While no star or release date for Doctor Strange was revealed, Marvel did formally announce Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

By the time Marvel's presentation started, almost thirty minutes later than planned, fans were on the verge of tearing down the convention center, stomping, shouting, and generally getting all worked up for the presentation moderated by Chris Hardwick.  All 6,000+ people packed in Hall H were ready when Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige kicked the night off with the Ant-Man panel.

Peyton Reed (Down With Love), who replaced original director Edgar Wright earlier this summer, immediately established his nerdlinger bona-fides by mentioning that this is the twentieth Comic-Con he has attended.

Reed was joined onstage by Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll.  For the first time, Marvel confirmed that Lilly is playing Hope Van Dyne, daughter to Douglas's Hank Pym and, in the comics, eventual adopter of her mother Janet's alter ego, the Wasp.

"We’ve been fans of Evangeline for years, and couldn’t be more pleased that she’s agreed to join us on Ant-Man’s journey to the big screen," said Feige."We look forward to audiences learning more about her character when she joins forces with Hank Pym and Scott Lang in 2015.”

Stoll, Feige revealed, plays the Darren Cross, who becomes the villainous Yellowjacket over the course of Ant-Man.  “Corey brings depth to every role he plays.  As a major part of the Ant-Man ensemble, we all wanted an actor who could be both cunning and sympathetic, and help create a character as dynamic as Marvel’s best antagonists," said Feige.

Douglas laid out a bit of the Phase 3 film's story, saying that Cross, Hank Pym's business partner, takes over his tech company, steering it an unethical and perhaps even evil direction.  In order to wrest back control of his own science, Pym recruits con man Scott Lang (Rudd) to take up the mantle of Ant-Man and participate in an audacious heist.

Production on Ant-Man begins in Atlanta, Georgia on August 18th in order to meet a July 17, 2015 release date. 

Even though principal photography hasn't begun, Marvel still showed off footage: a visual effects test reel almost certainly shot by Wright before he left the project.  In the footage, Lang's wearing the Ant-Man suit, with Pym coaching him through the helmet.  Lang is terrified and Pym jokes, "You’d think someone only shrunk your balls."  The footage jumps from a classic laboratory to a rooftop, where a tiny Lang is being pursued by thugs.  With his helmet damaged, Lang's only getting partial info from Pym.  Lang leaps from a ledge, plummeting downward until an ant flies in to catch him.  Cue logo.

With no Q&A, the Ant-Man crew left the stage and Hall H went bonkers as the cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron took the stage.  Well, much of the cast, from Robert Downey Jr. on through Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, and James Spader.

Unfortunately, Joss Whedon could not attend because, as Feige explained, he was recovering from knee surgery in London, where the sequel continues filming.

After throwing out roses, Downey Jr. cracked that he becomes less significant with every new addition.  The cast showed off their impressive and infectiously funny chemistry as they discussed the Comic-Con experience.  Ruffalo got a "Hulk" chant started and seemed genuinely bowled over by the attention, while Hemsworth had a topical comic joke, replying to a question about what he'd like to see Thor do in the future by saying, "Turn him into a woman."

Bettany, who goes from J.A.R.V.I.S. voice actor to full-fledged castmember as the android Vision, joshed that the sequel is a huge change of pace since he was used to showing up, recording dialogue, and walking away with "bags of cash."

Evans, though, revealed some real insight on Captain America's arc in the sequel.  Cap's more or less caught up with this modern age, but since S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dissolution he has been seeking a place to belong, fighting as part of an Avengers team that lacks coherent leadership.  Spader also mentioned that Ultron stands a whopping eight feet tall.

Finally, Whedon introduced the much-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron footage in a brief recorded message.  The footage begins with the Avengers out of costume, partying together in Avengers Tower.  Having a ball, each member attempts to hoist Thor's hammer, Mjolnir.  Even with an Iron Man glove on, Tony Stark can't make it budge.  Rhodey (Don Cheadle) even tries to help, but to no avail.  Bruce Banner is also unable to lift the Asgardian weapon.  Same goes for Steve Rogers, though he does manage to at least move Mjolnir. 

Their revelry is interrupted by a ruckus as Ultron enters the scene, declaring "There's only one path to peace: Your extinction!"

From there, the footage was virtually all action, including Hulk in fisticuffs with Stark's Hulkbuster armor.  The brief look at Age of Ultron ends with a stunning visual: all of the Avengers laying dead in front of Stark, Cap's shield broken and Earth's Mightiest Heroes utterly defeated.

There were still a few surprises left in the presentation, though.  Josh Brolin, who plays Avengers 3 mega-villain Thanos in next week's Guardians of the Galaxy, took the stage wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, or at least a cheap plastic toy version.  Brolin joked with Downey Jr. before Feige teed up a video from London featuring Guardians star Chris Pratt and director James Gunn

The giggling duo announced that Gunn is returning to direct Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and the video ended with the sequel's new official release date: July 28, 2017.

And that was it for Marvel Studios in Hall H this year.

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