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SDCC: Marvel Studios Presentation

by  in Movie News Comment
SDCC: Marvel Studios Presentation

One of the most anticipated panels of the entire Comic-Con International in San Diego is here: the Marvel Studios presentation, featuring Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige giving Hall H fans a look at what’s coming up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While Avengers: Infinity War dominated Marvel Studios’ section of the D23 Expo last weekend, Saturday evening’s panel had a heavy focus on Marvel’s next two movies on the schedule: Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. Fans also heard some fresh announcements surrounding Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, along with an encore presentation of the Infinity War footage that debuted at D23.

After about a 20-minute delay (it’s fairly typical for Hall H panels to run a little bit behind schedule), Chris Hardwick entered to moderate the panel. Well, first the screen went black, leading to a video of Paul Rudd and Michael Peña — as themselves, not their Ant-Man characters — humorously recapping every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far (though Iron Man 2 seemed to be skipped, and The Incredible Hulk was glossed over: “I actually never saw The Hulk, Rudd said). Another funny moment was Rudd holding up an image of Chris Evans from Fantastic Four when describing what Steve Rogers looked like before he became Captain America.

Following a recap of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Rudd said now that the person he and Peña was talking to off-camera now knows everything she needs to play Janet Van Dyne — with the reveal that they were talking to Michelle Pfeiffer, who said that the MCU sounds like a “total sausage fest.” Evangeline Lilly appeared and agreed, saying she was glad that Pfeiffer was there.

This led to an early look at Ant-Man and The Wasp, a combination of footage, concept art and CGI test footage — plus the reveal of a red-and-yellow logo, a concept art look at Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) inside of an Ant-Man suit, and a fun shot of Ant-Man (in Giant-Man mode) hiding behind a building.

Feige then confirmed more Ant-Man and The Wasp cast members: Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch, Randall Park as Jimmy Woo and Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster.

Moving to Captain Marvel, Feige showed off the character design of Brie Larson in costume — which looks very similar to the Jamie McKelvie design — and revealed that in the movie, Nick Fury will indeed appear, but he’ll have two eyes, as its set in early 1990s. Also, the villains of the film will be the Skrulls, in their first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance.

Following that, Feige was presented with Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award for his contributions to bringing comic book culture to the mainstream through Marvel Studios.

Next up was Thor: Ragnarok. Joining the panel: director Taika Waititi, and stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Cate Blanchett (Hela), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Karl Urban (Skurge) and Rachel House (whose role has yet to be revealed).

Hemsworth said that Ragnarok is not only a different type of movie for Thor, but for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. “As long as the actors know their lines and are saying them convincingly, it doesn’t matter what the budget is,” Waititi said, adding, jokingly, “and most of these people did not learn their lines.”

Hiddleston said he’ll be “eternally grateful” to Hall H for the reception they gave him a few years back when he appeared in costume and in character as Loki. He explained his character’s role in the film, which picks up after Thor: The Dark World. “Thor comes home and things are a little different on Asgard,” Hiddleston said. “Loki has directed most of his efforts to self-absorbed glorification, not so much good governance. Ragnarok is coming, and he’s still the god of mischief. What his part is in all of that — you’ll just have to wait and see.”

Hardwick asked Ruffalo about how the Hulk fits into Thor: Ragnarok. “Hulk refuses to turn back to Banner, and he’s actually enjoying his time on Sakaar,” Ruffalo said. “He’s enjoying his life for once, and he’ll be damned if he’s going back to Banner.” Ruffalo added that the Hulk now has the vocabulary of a two-year old, because he’s been the Hulk for two years straight.

“It’s a universe that I’ve been happily dragged into because of my kids,” Blanchett said of her prior exposure to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“We’re the oldest living creatures in the universe,” Goldblum said of his character and his character’s brother, The Collector (played by Benicio del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy). "Now I rule this planet Sakaar, and I put together games," Goldblum added, including the gladiator fight between Hulk and Thor. Thompson on Valkyrie: "She has a relationship with the Grandmaster. It's not romantic. Maybe it used to be -- who knows. He's a friend from work. She picks up little pieces around town that may be of interest, and one of them happens to be a big godlike thing. So she brings him to the Grandmaster, and it takes us off on our story." Hardwick turned to Urban, who asked the crowd if they were "out of their Vulcan minds," in a nod to his Star Trek character. House discussed her history working with Waititi — she’s been in four of his five films.

Waititi told the crowd about his role in the film as the rock-like creature Korg, which led to the reveal of new footage — and a new trailer.

In the footage, Thor is seen restrained, in a chair, being taken to Sakaar. Voiceover: “Fear not, for you are found. No one leaves this place, but what is this place? The answer is: Sakaar. It lives on the edge of the known and unknown. Here on Sakaar, you are significant, you are valuable.” The voiceover mentions Sakaar’s “Contest of Champions,” a title lifted diretly from the Marvel Comics.

Thor is them seen in the Grandmaster’s throne room, who offers this assessment: “He’s wonderful.” He’s put into a circular holding room with Korg (“a freaky circle,” not a real circle, Korg advises), and is then seen about to face-off with the Hulk. (Thor tells Hulk, his “Friend from work,” that he’s “kind of doing my own thing now,” since the Avengers have become “very corporate.”)

This leads to the reveal of a proper trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, which shows the team of Thor, Hulk, Valkyrie and Loki (who tells Bruce Banner his motivations vary “from moment to moment”) against Hela’s forces. We’ll embed as soon as it’s available.

Next up: Black Panther. Joining the panel: Director Ryan Coogler and cast members Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Forest Whitaker (Zuri), Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue), Winston Duke (M’Baku) and Letitia Wright (Shuri).

“He’s just learning how to become a real ruler,” Boseman said of where the Black Panther is when the film picks up, post-Captain America: Civil War. “It’s a transition period that gets interrupted very quickly.”

Coogler said he liked Black Panther growing up because he was a fan of superheroes, and was happy to find one that looked like him. “I thought the best thing about the comic book was that T’Challa was someone who got his powers from the people around him, his history,” Coogler said.

Wright on Shuri, T’Challa’s sister: the “technical whiz” of Wakanda, and a “strong black woman.”

Gurira said Black Panther was a new process for her that her role as Michonne on The Walking Dead didn’t prepare her for, even if there was “some” overlap. “She is really protecting [Wakanda],” Gurira said. “That’s what drives her as a warrior — love for her people and what her forefathers and foremothers put in place.”

Jordan on Erik Killmonger: “I feel that Erik has his opinion on Wakanda, and how it should be ruled. He has his eyes on the throne. I think he’s trying to do whatever it takes to get into Wakanda and make that a reality.”

Whittaker talked Zuri: “He’s been working as a spiritual leader. He was very close friends with [T’Challa’s] father, as a result he’s been working with him since he was a child.”

Hardwick complimented Kaluuya for his work in this year’s horror hit Get Out, and explained his character’s role as T’Challa’s oldest friend and the Border Tribe’s head of security.

Nyong’o discussed Nakia: “Nakia is a spy, and reports back to Wakanda about the goings-on. Wakanda is this isolated nation, and keeps to itself, so in order to keep safe, it has to put people like Nakia out there. Wakanda needs to know what’s going on in the world, the world does not need to know what’s going on in Wakanda.”

Serkis said he’s happy because he gets to “wear pants” in this movie, and told the crowd that he has a prosthetic arm in this film, after losing it in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. “I think Ryan Coogler is the most incredible director and human being,” Serkis said. “Everyone was able to literally operate at their maximum. He’s such a liberating director to work with. He allows you to explore and collaborate.”

Hardwick welcomed Duke to his first Comic-Con. “This is amazing,” Duke said. “The love and reception is something that is breathtaking.” “What really drew me, and I found really hot about this role, was the depth that was in this character, because he’s really loyal to his people, and faith-driven,” Duke said of M’Baku. “He’s a really cool character.”

That led to the reveal of a short scene from Black Panther — featuring a meeting between Klaue and Everett K. Ross, where the latter offers diamonds in exchange for Vibranium (which Klaue pulls out from his fly), that quickly spirals into an elaborate and stylish fight scene involving Black Panther, Nakia and Okoye. It’s seen that Klaue’s arm is actually weaponized.

That led to the reveal of a new trailer from the film — highlights include a face-off between Black Panther and Killmonger (in his own costume), a cool look at the high-tech way T’Challa’s Black Panther costume forms around him, Angela Bassett as T’Challa’s mother Ramonda, the sounds of “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar and T’Challa receciving the advice “You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.”

Sadly, it looks like the footage and trailer won’t be online for a while — Feige and Hardwick both made it clear that was meant for the fans inside the panel, not the general public (at least not yet).

With that, Feige feigned that the panel was about to wrap — before Hiddleston came back on stage, along with Hemsworth, Boseman and Ruffalo. “We didn’t come all this way just for that,” Hiddleston said. “I’m standing here with three Avengers.”

“There is no way in hell that we’re not going to show you some footage,” Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo said, joining the panel. This led to a screening of the same much-discussed footage from Infinity War that debuted last week at the D23 Expo — read a description of that here.

Fans naturally were ecstatic about the footage, with major cheers from everything to each time Doctor Strange was shown, to bearded Captain America and the hair standing up on Peter Parker’s arms (showing Spider-Man’s Spidey-Sense, something that was not shown overtly in Spider-Man: Homecoming). Unfortunately, this also hasn't been released online yet, though the buzz around it continues to build. With that, the panel wrapped. -- but keep reading CBR for more from Comic-Con International 2017!

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