Following a trailer-filled, DC Films-heavy presentation from Warner Bros. earlier on Saturday, it was Marvel Studios‘ turn inside Hall H at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Previews of upcoming films like “Doctor Strange” were a given, but there were plenty of surprises — including the confirmation of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.
The presentation began with a retrospective reel highlighting films from 2008’s original “Iron Man” to this year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” culminating in the reveal of a new Marvel Studios logo. “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick joined the panel as moderator.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was next out, telling the crowd that the new Marvel Studios logo and fanfare just shown to the crown will be in front of every Marvel film going forward.
“We only want to come when we have a lot of stuff to show you,” Feige said, of Marvel Studios sitting out last year’s Comic-Con.
Wasting little time, Feige introduced “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, noting that the film will start filming in January.
“I’m a big comic book fan,” Coogler said. “in 2009, I went to my first Comic-Con and I sat way, way, way back there, so this is absolutely crazy to be looking at my people from this view. We’re working crazy hard on the script right now.” That led to the introduction of the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman.
“Thank you for everything I’ve heard from the fans about the character, and what you hope to see in ‘Black Panther,'” Boseman told the crowd. “Ryan has some beautiful things in store for us.”
Coogler brought out more of the cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and “The Walking Dead” vet Danai Gurira, who will play Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje. Coogler confirmed that Jordan will play the film’s villain, Erik Killmonger, and that Nyongo’s character is Nakia. All three briefly expressed their enthusiasm for the film.
“Thank you for your energy,” Coogler told the crowd.
This led to a focus on Thor, with Feige introducing a Taika Waititi-directed short (and genuinely funny) comedic film on what Thor was up to during “Civil War” — living with a meek office worker named Darryl in an effort to take a vacation from the superhero life.
After that was a brief “Thor: Ragnarok” sizzle reel, showing concept art (including Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster and Idris Elba’s Heimdall in battle) and early CGI tests — including Hulk wearing “Planet Hulk”-esque gladiator armor, ending with the reveal of the colorful “Thor: Ragnarok” logo.
Following the “Thor” section was a very auspicious intro — utilizing super-wide screens on the sides of Hall H, smoke and lights — building to “Doctor Strange” star Benedict Cumberbatch entering the stage. “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson soon joined, saying that the film is a “left turn” for Marvel Studios much as the “Doctor Strange” comic was a left turn for Marvel Studios when first introduced decades ago.
Much of the rest of the cast then took the stage: Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen and Benedict Wong.
“Any of us could be the Ancient One,” Swinton told the crowd. “Who knows could end up being the Ancient One? The Ancient One is a title. The Ancient One is there pulling it all out of everybody. It’s going to mean a lot to everybody.”
Mikkelsen on his role, Kaecilius: “My character believes a better world, a better universe. He just thinks there’s a better way to find this path. He’s not a villain in the classic sense. He’s a believer.”
Benedict Wong on playing the fictional Wong: “I wasn’t really comfortable being the manservant, tea-maker. We’re bringing him to a modern update.” Wong called his character a master of mystic arts and “drill sergeant.”
The “Doctor Strange” gang didn’t leave without sharing some footage, including a clip of Strange meeting the Ancient One for the first time, and her separating his astral form from his physical form — an early form of Doctor Strange’s famous astral projection abilities. That led to a reel showing more from the film, including the first encounter between Strange and Wong.
As Feige and Hardwick talked while the “Doctor Strange” director and cast left the stage, they were interrupted by music — specifically, an instrumental version of the ’60s “Spider-Man” theme. That prompted a short reel of Spider-Man’s appearances in “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” title star Tom Holland and director Jon Watts joining the presentation.
“It’s a pretty cool universe to be a part of,” Watts said. “It’s a high school movie. It’s about a 15-year-old kid. This is the ground level of the Marvel Universe. We know what it’s like to be a billionaire playboy inventor, we know what it’s like to be an alien god, we’re going to know what it’s like to go to the astral plane, and now we’re going to know what it’s like to just get finished with puberty and be in 10th grade.”
A stylish cut of some high school footage was shown, highlighting different times in Peter Parker’s day in high school — leading to him having to excuse himself to act as Spider-Man. A classmate seems to be on to him — “Where do you have to go, Peter,” she asks in an accusatory manner — before admitting that she doesn’t actually care where he’s going. The footage ends with a quick glimpse at the Vulture in action.
Next film on the session’s schedule: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” with director James Gunn joining the panel, thanking the dedicated fans who camped out in the heat. As Gunn was talking, a group of in-costume, in-makeup, in-character Ravagers — including Taserface — took the stage from the crowd for some comedy.
Gunn then brought out the main cast: Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Dave Bautista (Drax), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Kurt Russell.
A scene from the film played for the crowd, with Baby Groot assisting a captured Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) by retrieving (after multiple attempts) Yondu’s “experimental fin,” which brings the character’s visual much closer to the comic book incarnation. Yondu, Rocket and Groot then escape, with Yondu’s arrow gleefully dispatching dozens of the Ravagers who captured them; to the tune of “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans.
Rooker then joined the panel, in full Yondu makeup and costume.
Gillan expressed her appreciation that she didn’t have to shave her head for this film. Klementieff shared some brief insight on Mantis: “I spent my life with Kurt Russell’s character before meeting all the Guardians.”
“If anything he’s just more confused,” Bautista said of Drax. Debicki said her character, Ayesha, enlists the help of the Guardians before “things go sour.” Russell said he can’t say much about his character. Russell said he’s fortunate to have played memorable characters in the past, and that he hopes this is another one. “I had a great time with these guys, they were fantastic.”
Time for an announcement: theme park attraction Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout is coming to Disneyland California Adventure. Footage is shown of Pratt, Saldana and Bautista filming material for the ride, and it was confirmed that Benicio del Toro would reprise his role of the Collector for the ride. As rumored, it appears that it’ll take the place of the Tower of Terror.
That led to the first “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” trailer, which included a look at Sylvester Stallone in the film and a huge revelation: Kurt Russell’s character is Ego — as in, Ego the Living Planet from Marvel Comics — who took human form. And he is indeed Star-Lord’s dad. Also, another song from “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” was heard: “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac.
One last revelation before the end of the panel: Brie Larson was confirmed as Captain Marvel. All the Marvel stars in attendance gathered for a group photo, and Feige said it wouldn’t be complete without the latest addition — leading to the official introduction of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, which had been previously rumored.
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