CBR camped out over night for Marvel’s massive Hall H panel, in the hopes of catching a first look at footage from Joss Whedon’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Word ’round the campfire is that Marvel will also trot out sneaks of other hotly-anticipated Phase Three films. Does that include a peek at “Ant-Man” or an announcement regarding who will play Doctor Strange?
We’ll find out soon — our live blog starts now…
Almost 15 minutes late… fans chant “Avengers: Assemble!” and “We want Marvel!”
The lights have dimmed twice now, signaling nothing but false starts. Fans are getting restless. Some have even started doing — shudder — “the wave.”
Like they have done in the past, the panel begins with an action-packed highlight reel of Marvel’s most recent films. The footage ends with a shot of a grinning Thanos sitting in his floating throne as it drifts into space…
Chris Hardwick takes the stage and introduces Kevin Feige, who reminds the crowd that “Guardians of the Galaxy” comes out August 1 — their tenth film.
Feige kicks off with talk about 2015 slate… first up: “Ant-Man.”
Director Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas are called out on stage to standing ovation and lots of excitement. Corey Stoll, AKA “Yellowjacket,” the film’s villain, is brought out on stage.
Feige tells the crowd that this marks Rudd and Douglas’ first Comic-Con appearance.
Evangeline Lilly finally confirmed to play the daughter of Hank Pym. Feige brings her out last.
Lilly calls Rudd a Comic-Con virgin. Crowd laughs. “I’m popping my Comic-Con cherry,” Rudd said.
Douglas is rocking a very shaggy goatee for the role of Hank Pym… Douglas says he has looked at Marvel’s films with “tremendous envy” and this marks the first time he has ever made a film of this scale, with this much CG, as his career as tended to favor more grounded fare.
“It’s the story of a heist… Pym’s corporate partner, played by Stoll, is involved in that,” Douglas said. He added that his character is passing the suit over to Scott Lang (Rudd) and all the research regarding the suit’s shrinking abilities.
Lilly shares that she is transitioning from finishing the last “Hobbit” film to starting the first “Ant-Man” film.
Stoll talks about his character, Darren Cross. He is taking over Hank’s company and will wear the Yellowjacket suit in the film — in a fight opposite Rudd in the Ant-Man suit.
They start filming Aug. 18, so they have no footage… BUT they have something to show us. Feige is about to cue it up.
Voiceover of Pym telling Lang he needs him for a job, which plays over a one-take shot through a dark lab… the camera settling on the helmet to Ant-Man’s suit for an instant — and then, in a flash of blue, the helmet shrinks.
The next scene shows (an all CG) Ant-Man running through what seems like a computer grid of sorts, as Pym talks to him over a headset telling him how to summon a flying ant to help him make a getaway.
Lang struggles to summon the ant to his will, because one of the transmitters in his helmet is busted and visibly sparking. He smacks the side of his helmet with an open palm but that just makes it worse.
Pym instructs Lang to just jump over a ledge to get out of the area and Lang does it… About to fall to his death when the flying ant catches him and takes him soaring out of an air vent, which leads back to some kind of mainframe. (The scene shown is what was depicted on the Comic-Con exclusive poster revealed earlier this week at the convention.)
Lang jumps on a flying ant and flies out of an air vent. End of clip.
Next up… Avengers 2!
Joss Whedon is laid up on bed rest, could not attend. But RDJ comes out on stage and dances to a Michael Jackson song!
RDJ brings out the entire cast of “Age of Ultron.” All the Avengers are here – minus ScarJo due to her pregnancy. Cobie Smulders, James Spader, Paul Bettany, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen round out the “longest bench of talent” that Downey Jr. has ever shared a stage with.
Samuel L. Jackson is also on stage, called out as still being the “former head of SHIELD.”
Hardwick takes back the mic from Downey, asks Jeremy Renner if he ever imagined being apart of something like this. “No” is the actor’s answer, and his dry delivery draws laughter.
Hardwick asks Jackson if it “feels good to put the eye patch back on?” Jackson offers a witty answer before talking about how “pumped” he is to come to Hall H for a film like this. “It energizes me,” Jackson says. “And I can’t wait to come back with the next one next year!”
Evans denies rumor that he and Hemsworth compared “muscle rippage.” The once and future Cap is also very happy about the success of “Winter Soldier” and comments that the character is still “looking for a place to still belong” since SHIELD fell apart in the last movie. In “Age of Ultron,” Cap is still looking for a “sense of home.”
Taylor-Johnson is next up for Hardwick’s Q & A. Hardwick asks the actor if his previous work prepared him for a film and franchise of this scope. Johnson compliments Whedon’s work on the first film, juggling the “emotional and sadder moments” with the comedy and “action-packed” moments.
Hardwick — and the crowd — are very excited to see Bettany make the jump from JARVIS to The Vision on the big screen.
“Everybody has been incredibly welcoming… It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to my children,” Bettany said in response to what it is like playing The Vision. He has kept his casting a secret for over a year (minus reports that leaked to the internet which spoiled the secret.)
“Life could never get weird or crazy enough for me,” Spader says. Adding that Hall H and Comic-Con “may be the weirdest and craziest place” he’s ever been to.
Spader teases his approach to playing Ultron. “I play an 8-foot robot in this movie. And it was… I’ve always played humans up until then. Shooting this film, it was as startling and surprising and exciting as coming [to Hall H] for the first time.”
The actor shared that he has a new appreciation for this type of film and the place it has in the overall Hollywood movie making machine.
Olsen is Hardwick’s last brief interview, where she refers to her character as a “mutated” person — which gets a “no she didn’t” kinda reaction from the crowd, as we all know the word “mutant” can’t be used in a Marvel movie unless it has “X-Men” in the title and is from Fox.
Feige cues up a message from Scarlett, which she recorded on her iPhone. She asks Feige to roll the footage.
The sizzle reel begins with the Avengers in civilian attire, post-party, in Avengers Tower. They lounge around a table where Thor’s hammer rests.
Hawkeye chides Thor about the whole “he be worthy” oath surrounding who can pick up the hammer. Tony Stark tries to prove that he can do it.
“If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard,” Stark asks sarcastically.
His first attempt — hammer doesn’t move. To much laughter from the crowd, he tries again — this time wearing his Iron Man glove. Still can’t move it.
Rhodey helps him for a third time, armed with his right War Machine glove, and neither one can budge it.
Cut to Banner using a double-grip on the hammer — nothing. He lets go, pounding his chest and roaring in mock-Hulk rage — much to the worry of the rest of the Avengers.
Next up is Steve Rogers. He manages to budge the hammer a little — much to the concern of Thor. The character’s reaction got another big laugh from the packed house.
Black Widow passes on a chance to pick it up, leaving everyone confused as to why no one could lift it.
“Because none of you are worthy,” Thor dead pans — moments before a piercing shriek sounds throughout the room, followed by the entrance of a tattered, metal robot skeleton.
It’s Ultron, in an early form. He is wearing some form of red plastic-looking armor which bears the “A” Avengers logo over the left side of his battle-damaged chest.
Ultron monologues to the startled Avengers: “How could any of you be worthy? You’re all killers.”
“I know you’re ‘good’ people,” he tells them. “I know you mean well. But you just didn’t think it through… There is only one path to peace — your extermination.”
How could you be worthy? You are all killers. You want to protect the world but you don’t want it to change.
Then two Ultron drones smash through walls, knifing toward the unarmed Avengers.
A montage of footage plays, scored to a slowed down, extra creepy version of “I’ve Got No Strings” as Ultron speaks ominous things over glimpses of a city intersection under attack from unknown aggressors.
Iron Man soars over a snow-covered European landscape, then looks out over a mountain range.
— Shots of Scarlet Witch aboard an elevated train. Thor landing atop a moving tank before smashing it with his hammer.
— A shirtless and dazed Banner stumbling up a snowy incline in a forest somewhere.
— Banner seemingly bound inside a stone room.
— Black Widow racing toward a target while riding Cap’s bike. There was also a tender moment — mid-battle — between Black Widow and Hulk that all but confirms rumors that the two characters have a romantic relationship in the sequel. It was a brief shot, but a scared and sad Black Widow runs a tender hand along Hulk’s trembling fist — which hovers inches from her face.
— Stark’s Hulkbuster armor locking into place while facing off against a really angry Hulk in Korea. Hulk throws a sedan at Stark’s Hulkbuster armor — Stark catches it a moment before Hulk head butts the car into Stark’s chest.
— In the same fight, Hulk charges at Stark, throwing a punch — which Stark’s metal hand catches — the inertia knocking him back a bit.
No shots of Vision, but we did glimpse Quicksliver in action aboard the aforementioned subway car — running in a slow-mo blur of sliver and blue.
An action-y montage ends with Ultron turning to camera, eyes flaring red, saying “There are no strings on me” moments before the “A” in Avengers burns onto screen, followed by the film’s title treatment,
The last shot sent chills through the audience. The camera drifts down a rocky surface to find Cap’s shield, shattered in half.
Cut to Stark, out of his armor, waking up next to the broken shield at the foot of a tiered, stone staircase. Wide to reveal bodies littering the staircase. All dead. All Avengers.
Smash to black. You can breathe now.
The “Ultron” panel ends with James Brolin walking out on stage to a standing ovation. Wearing a plastic Infinity Gauntlet.
The Marvel panel ends with a message from Chris Pratt and his “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn in the UK.
They announce the release date for the already-greenlit “Guardians 2”: July 28, 2017.
That serves as the verbal equivalent of a mic drop as Feige concludes the panel and the Avengers exit the stage.
So, that happened…
Marvel did not attach any more titles to the list of release dates the studio recently announced. And no casing announcements regarding “Doctor Strange,” despite recent reports that Joaquin Phoenix is currently in negotiations for the role.
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