Comic Con 2012: Marvel panel, with Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Shane Black and more!

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Marvel is having a pretty decent year, you may have heard. Coming off the success of THE AVENGERS, the studio could have shown up at Comic-Con with a flip-book or drawings on a napkin and the crowd would have loved them for it. They didn’t do that, however. They brought IRON MAN 3. And a bit more.

The panel began with a short video, arranged by Marvel, depicting the evolution of the Marvel film universe within the confines of Comic-Con. Starting in 2006, we saw many of the past panels that Marvel put on, from IRON MAN to THOR, that epic moment when all the Avengers were on stage together, etc. The video ended with the words: PHASE TWO BEGINS… NOW!

Kevin Feige then introduced Marvel’s next four movies – although I’m pretty sure you already heard about them. IRON MAN 3, which is currently still in production and comes out in May of next year; THOR 2: THE DARK WORLD, which comes out on November 8, 2013; CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, which hits on April 4, 2014; and, finally, THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which will debut on August 1, 2014.

A special guest appeared from out of nowhere: Edgar Wright. He had apparently tweeted earlier that he was in London, which killed hopes that some had that he would indeed be attending this panel. Well, turns out he lied. Wright then introduced some test footage he recently filmed for ANT-MAN.

– While completely unfinished, the ANT-MAN footage gave us an idea of the possibilities of the character. It starts off in a sterile hallway, where a door is guarded by two intimidating MIB-looking dudes. Ant-Man, who is positioned in an air duct overlooking the hallway, springs into action. He thoroughly whips the guards’ butts, utilizing his ability to grow big, then small again. At one point he jumps on one of their guns, runs along it, then punches the guard in the face. (The face-ripple effect is used nicely.) Still miniature, he grabs a guard by the tie, and swings him around, then grows big and finishes him off by throwing the guard over his shoulder, out of a window. Ant-Man then calmly walks into an elevator and departs the scene.

– No release date or significant production information was dished out regarding ANT-MAN, but it’s obvious that it’s moving forward. Wright is just commencing work on THE WORLD’S END, so obviously there’s much time to go before ANT-MAN hits the big-screen. (Have to believe it will happen before AVENGERS 2 though.)

IRON MAN 3 then began, with an elaborate, Tony Stark-like intro for Robert Downey Jr., who pranced down the Hall H aisle wearing an Iron Man glove while Luther Vandross played. To say that the audience adores RDJ is a severe understatement, and the feeling is mutual: When he appeared on stage, he asked: “Three questions: Question one, how much do I love you? Question number two, how much do you love me? Question number three, we aren’t we watching any footage yet?”

The footage indeed began, depicting Tony Stark in his workshop assembling his new suit, which actually assembles itself to him by flying onto him one piece at a time. Of course, there are a few snafus, pieces end up flying all over the place. But he eventually gets it right, ending with the mask zooming onto his face and doing a flip with a flourish.

This leads into a trailer, starting with Jon Favreau’s “Happy” talking to Tony via Skype. Happy complains that he doesn’t work for Tony anymore (I like how unsubtle that is), that people used to laugh at him for saying he’s Iron Man’s bodyguard, and that he hardly ever sees Tony now that he’s hanging out with the “super friends.” This goes into…

A montage of images: we see Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, James Badge Dale, Rebecca Hall, War Machine all briefly. A voice over from a man who I believe was Pearce can be heard: “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes. There’s no such thing.” We see rockets destroying Stark’s house and burning up the old Iron Man suits. Iron Man falls to the bottom of the ocean, dragged down by the wreckage. It looks like Pepper was in danger too, and we don’t see what the result is…

Then, at the very end, we see Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin, slipping on his rings, cocking a gun, sitting in a chair, looking very badass indeed. He says something, but, as usual, the Hall H crowd did not allow me to hear it through their whoops and cheers.

There wasn’t really enough footage to give one a solid idea of what to expect from IRON MAN 3… except, of course, that it’s an IRON MAN movie, with humor, action and heart all prevalent. Kingsley made the whole thing; I must admit that the Mandarin reveal in the finale was outstanding, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect him to be the best IM villain so far by far.

Highlights from the Q+A:

– They’re about halfway through filming in North Carolina right now. Shane Black quipped, “We’re halfway through, if we don’t f*ck up the rest, it’s gonna be great!”

– Robert Downey Jr. commented that shawarma sales went up 700% after THE AVENGERS.

– One fan asked whether or not we’ll ever get to see Pepper Potts wear the “Rescue” suit. RDJ obviously didn’t know what she was talking about, but Favreau did. (In the comics, Tony makes Pepper a suit.) Then Kevin said “we all want to see Gwyneth kick a little ass,” but gave up nothing else.

– Downey Jr. gives Shane Black a lot of credit for casting him in KISS KISS, BANG BANG, and in effect, getting him IRON MAN. He said that Favreau saw that film and it sort of acted as a screen test for IRON MAN.

– RDJ said “the Mrs. hates living with me when I’m playing Tony Stark.”

– RDJ said that in this sequel, Happy Hogan is “off the chain, like SWINGERS at 40.” Favreau then said it was weird to walk on the set of an IRON MAN movie that he’s not directing. Also, that he was always worried about everybody’s feelings in the past, so he never was able to have that much fun with the role, but now he’s able to. He also equated being a producer instead of a director on the film to being a proud grandfather who doesn’t have to change the diapers of a baby, he just gets to play with it.

– When asked if we might see Iron Man appear in another of the Marvel films, RDJ said that his deal runs out after IRON MAN 3, and now they have to decide what Brink’s truck they want to deliver to him to make him continue. He then said the future is uncertain.

– Black said his main task was to make IRON MAN 3 be the conclusion of the trilogy, not just another episode. He also said that Downey Jr. is Tony Stark RDJ asked, “So I’m an asshole?” Cheadle replied, “A rich asshole!”

– Asked if they were going to go back to the “Demon in the Bottle” storyline, and Black responded, “Robert doesn’t fall off the wagon in this movie.” RDJ then made it clear that Tony has the “plug in the jug this time,” so it doesn’t appear as though they are continuing with that subplot.

– Favreau thinks Kevin Feige has the right nose for the right guy and believes Shane Black is the perfect person to helm IRON MAN 3. the relationship between Black and Downey Jr. really comes through in the film.

– Black wanted to make special mention of his co-writer, Drew Pearce, who was in the audience.

– Robert Downey Jr. led the entire Hall H crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a girl who said it was her 15th birthday. She seemed pleased with this…

– A fan asked if Bruce Banner/Hulk might appear in IRON MAN 3. Kevin Feige said, “Well, if you remember, he jumps into Tony’s car at the end of THE AVENGERS… then he dropped him off at Port Authority and we’ll see him again someday.”

And that was that! Well, not quite; of course they had to play the teaser again, a Comic-Con “must.” I’m definitely glad they did.


About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.