Marvel panel with Guardians, Strange, Spider-man, and Thor (Comic Con 2016)
As Saturday comes to a close, Comic Con's most dedicated fans were given the treat they had been waiting hours to see. With some sleeping outside overnight for the chance to see Marvel's presentation, these fans were in various stages of consciousness as they did everything they could to hold out through the debut of new footage from several Phase 3 films. Well, I am happy to say that Marvel Studios has done it again and delivered a show worthy of the hype I have heard about for years and finally got to experience in person. Those of us in Hall H were treated to new reveals about BLACK PANTHER, DOCTOR STRANGE, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, THOR: RAGNAROK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and yes, CAPTAIN MARVEL.
To kick things off, the Marvel panel began with a brand new extended introduction showcasing all of the superheroes in the MCU to date, wrapping with a new fanfare composed by Michael Giacchino (who was in attendance) along with a brand new logo which you can see below. Moderator Chris Hardwick then brought out Marvel's head honcho, Kevin Feige who kicked off the festivities by bringing out the cast of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR's breakout new hero.
Director Ryan Coogler came out to massive applause as he explained that they are still in the early stages of writing and putting BLACK PANTHER together but recalled how excited he was to be in Hall H after first attending as a fan back in 2009. He then brought out Chadwick Boseman who shared the same sentiments.
Coogler and Boseman then welcomed to the stage the newest additions to the BLACK PANTHER cast: Lupita N'yongo joins as Nakia, a Wakandan warrior, Michael B. Jordan as villain Killmonger, and The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira as Okoye. This was the first confirmation of N'yongo and Jordan who had been in talks and breaking news about Gurira.
BLACK PANTHER hits theaters on February 16, 2018.
Kevin Feige disclosed that while THOR: RAGNAROK has only been in production for five days, director Taika Waititi wanted to share a short film that he had made explaining why the Asgardian demi-god was not involved with CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. What followed was an exclusive only for us in attendance. Fans of Waititi's WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS would have been rolling on the floor at this documentary short about Thor moving into a home with an Australian man named Daryl. Jokes follow about Infinity Stones and Thor being lonely. Hopefully this hilarious five minute film will be released on the eventual Blu-ray of THOR: RAGNAROK as it was hilarious.
As the short ended, we were treated to a flurry of behind the scenes footage of the film in production. Concept art flashed by showing Heimdall and Loki along with Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster. A quick glimpse of Thor with a buzzcut and warpaint on his face was followed by some pre-visualized effects of Hulk in his Planet Hulk armor going to battle against Thor. It was intense and clearly looks like the best THOR movie to date.
The end of the montage gave us a look at the new retro style logo for the film along with a chilling look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. The clip ended with Thor plunging into a massive hellbeast (could have been Mephisto) that was hundreds of times his size. It was awesome and breathtaking and exactly what we have been waiting for out of that franchise. The footage felt more in line with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY than anything else and teased
THOR: RAGNAROK hits theaters on November 3, 2017.
As soon as the THOR footage ended, the lights dimmed and we were treated to a show of lightning and ancient rune symbols as Benedict Cumberbatch came on stage. Cumberbatch had spent the previous night greeting the dedicated fans hanging around outside waiting to get into Hall H and was soon joined by the rest of the cast including Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Some jokes were made about Mads looking like a serial killing (#Don'tStopSmilingMadsMikkelsen) and Tilda Swinton being immortal in real life. Scott Derrickson spoke highly about the film and introduced a clip from the film.
In the exclusive footage, Strange is brought by Baron Mordo to meet the Ancient One. Swinton plays her role in a very Yoda-like manner as she explains about how the human mind can be tricked into healing itself at a cellular level. She then projects Strange out of his body, rocketing him into space where he disintegrates and reforms. When Strange returns to his physical form, he begs her to teach him.
Mads Mikkelsen insisted his character is not a villain but rather trying to find a way to make the world a better place. That plan just so happens to involve the deaths of many people.
Swinton loved her role and explained that The Ancient One can be anybody, which is why this version is a woman and not an old Asian man like in the comics.
The new trailer online is slightly different than the one shown in Hall H, but overall you can see the scope of the film and the magnificent effects of the magic Doctor Strange can cast. The dripping, electrical feel of the effects reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter films, but DOCTOR STRANGE looks more like a cross between INCEPTION and THE MATRIX. It looks really, really cool.
DOCTOR STRANGE opens in theaters on November 4th.
Another breakout star of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR was Tom Holland as Spider-man. Already in production under the direction of Jon Watts, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is the first MCU film for the fan favorite character. Kevin Feige gave a special shout-out to Sony's Amy Pascal as being the person behind the decision to bring Spidey to Marvel Studios, citing it as the right decision for the character.
Watts and Holland flew out from the production to show-off a first look at the new film which feels unlike any Spider-man movie we have ever seen. The trailer plays like an indie film in the same vein as John Hughes' classics SIXTEEN CANDLES and THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Structured like a normal high school day, we see Peter sneaking looks at a YouTube video of his fight in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, ogling girls, being teased by Zendaya's character for being a nerd, and overhearing some girls play F*ck Marry Kill using the Marvel superheroes. Peter even makes some of his webbing in chemistry class. The teaser concludes with a sweeping glimpse of Vulture who looks exactly like the concept art above. While it was not announced that Michael Keaton is Vulture, it seems like pretty likely at this point.
We do see Robert Downey Jr in clips from CIVIL WAR along with quick shots of Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, and Zendaya but no looks at Hannibal Buress, Donald Glover, or Logan Marshal-Green. The teen actors were all in attendance and clearly excited to be a part of this brand new fresh take on Peter Parker. There is no Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy in this film, but it feels more like a Spider-man film that even what we saw from Sam Raimi. There were a few quick shots of Spidey in action, but they are saving the best for when the film hits theaters next year.
Tom Holland was extremely excited to see the footage and wanted them to roll it again, but we only got the one look. Seeing as the teaser has not appeared online yet, I would venture to guess you will have to wait a while before the footage is unveiled to the general public.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is slated to premiere on July 7, 2017.
The centerpiece of the panel was the debut of footage from James Gunn's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. With Gunn on stage, a group of fully dressed Ravagers came through the audience and took the stage, heckling Gunn and teasing the nerds in the room. Led by new character Taserface, the Ravagers were soon shooed off the stage by the arrival of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki and Kurt Russell. With the cast fully assembled, we learned a lot of facts about the new film.
- VOL. 2 picks up mere months after the conclusion of the first film.
- Peter Quill finds himself viewed as a hero but isn't doing a good job of staying out of trouble.
- Mantis is an empath and has been living with Kurt Russell's character, whom Klementieff wasn't sure she should name yet.
- Karen Gillan is now a member of the Guardians. The actress did not have to shave her head this time around.
- Zoe Saldana said coming back was like returning to school after a long summer break. Gamorra is now like an old lady breaking up the constant fights amonst the Guardians
- Drax is even more confused as the team has grown and now more people speak in metaphors
- Elizabeth Debicki plays Ayesha, leader of the Sovereigns, who enlist the Guardians to stop an intergalactic threat. She also appears to be the villain of the film.
We were treated to two clips. The first focused on Rocket and Yondu as they are trapped by the Ravagers. They enlist Baby Groot to help break them out but he keeps bringing the wrong item. Yondu needs a prototype plate for his head and now looks more like his comic book visage. When Groot finally brings the right item, they get out and slow motion walk in homage to the original film. Yondu kills dozens of Ravagers in a very cool shot. Baby Groot is absolutely going to be a fan favorite even without Vin Diesel's voice. There is no doubt that James Gunn has created a character that embodies everything perfectly marketable and Disney must be drooling to get their marketing going with this character.
A teaser trailer was then shown which served as a character rundown of our heroes. We see everyone wearing their new gear. Star Lord gives Gamorra crap about using a gun instead of a sword, making her inconsistent. Rocket talks trash to the all gold Sovereigns, and Drax goes apeshit in battle with an alien monster. We also get a quick glimpse of Sylvester Stallone in Nova Corps gear. It is still unknown who his character is, but it is now confirmed he is not playing a Ravager as previously thought.
The big reveal comes as we now know for certain that Kurt Russell is playing Peter Quill's father, Ego. Yes, that is Ego The Living Planet in the comics. Here he explains he created a human form so that he could meet an Earth woman. Drax asks if he made himself a penis which results in a hilarious exchange and what I believe to be the first cock jokes in an Marvel Studios film. All together, the action looks to top the first film and deliver something that fans are going to love as much as the original. The music was stellar as well, so get your mixtapes ready. James Gunn has not confirmed if these songs will be on the soundtrack, but they were good.
Overall, I am more excited than before to see this since they went all out with their presentation. The focus of the panel really was on Yondu. Michael Rooker explained that he begged James Gunn for more screen time in the sequel and it looks like that has been delivered. Rooker showed dedication to the role by coming out on stage in full costume and was having a great time with it, much like Tom Hiddleston did a couple of years ago. Kurt Russell looked to fit right in with everyone. It was not confirmed but I am hoping we see a mini TANGO AND CASH reunion in this film.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 hits theaters May 5, 2017
At the close of the panel, all of the various actors showcased through the panel were brought back out for a special group shot. Kevin Feige also figured the photo should include the newest member of the MCU and formally introduced Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in the CAPTAIN MARVEL movie. Larson did not take the mic, but the new logo for the film was displayed and the actress joined her comrades for the photo op. While this news was not a shock to anyone, the formal confirmation of the Academy Award winner in the title role means that production can ramp up for the female-led superhero film.
CAPTAIN MARVEL is slated to hit theaters March 8, 2019.
Call me Captain Marvel. pic.twitter.com/IgqRIb9ijM Brie Larson (@brielarson) July 24, 2016
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was an amazing experience and Marvel definitely delivered a great show. Packing so much into a little over an hour, there was no shortage of amazing sights to behold. Marvel seems to be playing their videos close and not releasing them the same way that Warner Bros did earlier in the day, but the rabid response from the fans in attendance clearly shows this brand is not slowing down at all. DOCTOR STRANGE looks better than before but it was the astounding visuals teased in THOR: RAGNAROK that blew me away most. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING looks like a home run and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is going to be a massive success.
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