Having recently announced that they would be producing five more films through 2019, expectations were astronomical as Marvel took the stage in Comic-Con’s 6,500-seat Hall H.That pressure was nothing for the world’s greatest super team, the Avengers, who showed up today in full force to wow audience members with new footage from the upcoming film,Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Before things got under way, fans chanted and cheered, waiting for the panel to begin. Moderated by longtime champion of comic book culture, Chris Hardwick, the presentation began with the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, who remarked that next week’s release of Guardians of the Galaxy will be the tenth film in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Then talk moved on to next year’s Ant-Man, which will be released on July 17, 2015. In addition to stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), it was announced that Ant-Man will feature actress Evangeline Lilly as Pym’s daughter Hope Van Dyne, and actor Corey Stoll as lead antagonist Darron Cross, a.k.a. Yellowjacket. Director Peyton Reed joined the cast on stage, reflecting on his years of personal Ant-Man fandom, and the audience was treated to a clip of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, shrunken down, trying to control a “giant” flying ant, with instructions from his mentor, Pym.
Next up was the biggest moment of Comic-Con, as the Avengers assembled once again to talk Avengers: Age of Ultron. While director Joss Whedon wasn’t able to attend, guests did include Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), as well as newcomers to the franchise Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Paul Bettany (The Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), and James Spader (the villainous Ultron). Always full of surprises, Robert Downey Jr. presented each member of the cast with a rose as they walked onto the stage. The group reflected on their time as Avengers, how it feels to redefine the iconic characters they play, what it means to them to be a part of such an exciting universe, and how much fun they’ve been having together making the film.
Scarlett Johansson, awaiting the birth of her child, wasn’t able to make it to the panel, but sent a video message along in her place. Luckily for fans, that message was a request to president Kevin Feige that he roll some footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron!
In the clip, the Avengers take part in a playful game of ‘Who can pick up Thor’s hammer?’ Each of them takes a turn trying to flex their super powers in an attempt to lift the famously heavy weapon, Mjolnir, before an unwelcome addition to the party appears: the 8-foot-tall robot and villain of the film, Ultron. A montage of action sequences followed, showing some explosive glimpses from the film, including Iron Man in his enormous custom ‘Hulkbuster’ armor, a much-anticipated look for the character that we haven’t seen on screen before. As if it wasn’t already hard enough to wait for Avengers: Age of Ultron’s May 1, 2015 release date to arrive, the Comic-Con teaser ended in what appeared to be no less than the demise of almost the entire Avengers team–all but Iron Man, the last man standing among his downed comrades. The dramatic moment drew a standing ovation from the crowd. Surely this can’t be the end of the Avengers, right?! We’ll have to wait until more footage from the film is released to answer that question. (An interesting note: the clip featured a rendition of “I’ve Got No Strings,” originally written for 1940’s Pinocchio, an iconic song that makes a clever reference to the robot antagonist Ultron’s origin as a creation of Tony Stark’s who becomes sentient over the course of the film.)
Once the clip ended, there were still a couple more surprises left in store. First, actor Josh Brolin walked onto the stage holding the Infinity Gauntlet, a super weapon wielded by the character Thanos, who Brolin will be portraying in the film.
To end the presentation, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and star Chris Pratt (Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord) made a final announcement via video, as the two are currently promoting their new film in London: there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy 2, coming to theatres on July 28, 2017. We’re already looking forward to it–and are pretty sure you will be too, once you get to experience how great Guardians of the Galaxy is for yourselves when it opens on this Friday, August 1, 2014.