The moment we (I) have been waiting for is finally here! The Marvel Studios panel didn't quite meet our expectations, but even a disappointing Marvel panel has its moments.
As the crowd in Hall H began to chant “We Want Marvel,” the energy in the room was clearly high. As the stage was set, The lights dimmed and a montage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe played out, highlighting key points from all the characters of the Avengers in the first phase. The montage moved through the second phase as well, highlighting a number of action moments from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World, ending on Thanos’ first appearance in the MCU during the mid-credits scene of The Avengers. This ended with some Guardians of the Galaxy footage, which included a shot of Thanos on his throne.
The panel was moderated by Chris Hardwick, who introduced MCU’s mastermind Kevin Feige. Feige stated that they would be focusing on 2015, which meant Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron, before bringing Ant-Man director Peyton Reed onto the stage. He was followed by Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, who play Scott Lang and Hank Pym, respectively.
They were joined on stage by Corey Stoll (House of Cards) and Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug), who play Darren Cross AKA Yellowjacket and Hope van Dyne, respectively. This would mark the official confirmation that Lilly and Stoll had in fact joined the cast, and that Stoll would be playing a new version of the Marvel character Yellowjacket, though rumors have persisted for a while. Lilly’s van Dyne was described as the daughter of Henry Pym, which is an interesting twist on the character, so maybe we will see a version of Janet van Dyne in the rumored 60s portions of the film.
The panel allowed us to get an idea of Peyton Reed’s own geek cred, which started with an interesting story about Reed’s past in a band. One of the band’s show posters was revealed, and showed the band members in a parody of Avengers #1, in which Reed coincidentally was depicted in the Ant-Man role. A quick moment to reassure fans that yes, the new director is indeed a fan. Rudd seemed very excited about playing the character and being at SDCC for the first time. Michael Douglas proved fairly knowledgeable about his character’s history, and a few interesting details about the plot of the film and how the characters relate to each other were released. Stoll’s Cross will be a business partner of Douglas’ Pym, who has taken the company in a dangerous direction, which causes Pym to enlist Rudd’s Scott Lang in some kind of heist within the company. The cast was careful not to reveal too much about the movie, and then some footage was shown to the room as the cast left without a Q & A.
The footage was described as showing both Lang and Pym in a lab, talking about Lang’s succession to the role of Ant-Man. The footage also featured Lang as Ant-Man climbing onto the back of an ant while Pym coaches him over the helmet, which appeared to be broken. The footage also showcased our first real look at how the microsized hero will look on the big screen.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) July 27, 2014
This was quickly followed by the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast arriving on the stage, without Joss Whedon unfortunately, who couldn’t fly due to recent surgery on his leg. The full assemblage featured Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, and Chris Evans, including newcomers Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, James Spader, and Elizabeth Olsen. Scarlett Johansson was also absent from the panel, as she just had a child.
It was obvious the cast was very comfortable with each other, even with some of the new members of the MCU. The fan reaction was clear, as a Hulk chant started up early on in the cast’s comments and gratitudes towards the fans. They even managed to sneak in a reference to the comics version of Thor turning into a woman interestingly enough. The returning cast each spoke a bit about their individual characters and their experience working on the films with Joss Whedon, whose absence on the panel was certainly noticed.
"Depicting Thor as a woman ….could be my Oscar…" Chris Hemsworth
— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) July 27, 2014
Aaron Taylor-Johnson spoke about his respect for the character dynamics, and how well Whedon was able to balance the solo heroes as a team in The Avengers. Paul Bettany discussed the change in his role in the MCU, moving from his easy gig as the voice of JARVIS to his now much more real on screen role. James Spader discussed his experience at the SDCC, his second year at the con, and his excitement at playing an eight-foot tall robot. Olsen remarked on how her and Taylor Johnson’s characters bring a new dynamic to the world of the MCU, though she was booed after using the word “mutant” to describe them, before correcting to “mutated people.” The cast Q & A wrapped up with a video message from Scarlett Johanssen, before the room darkened and the first footage was revealed.
The brief started with the Avengers, all out of costume, trying to lift Thor’s hammer. Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes (War Machine) is also present in the scene, which sounds pretty hilarious. The assembled group is soon introduced to an early version of Ultron in one of Iron Man’s old suits, followed by a montage of scenes featuring the rest of the Avengers in a number of action scenes with quotes from the characters. We also see the Hulkbuster armor in action facing off against the Hulk, which was teased previously with some concept images. The footage ends with a final image of Ultron, and Tony Stark in a wasteland surrounded by his fallen teammates.
“The thing about Marvel,” says Downey, “Is that they’ve always got the next thing up their sleeve…”
THANOS is here! pic.twitter.com/3CXbBlgZFA
— Ryan Turek (@_RyanTurek) July 27, 2014
And with that Josh Brolin walked on to the panel, wearing the Infinity Gauntlet! The cast leaves, and Kevin Feige remained on stage. On the big screen James Gunn and Chris Pratt popped up to officially announce Guardians of the Galaxy 2, hitting theaters on July 28, 2017. A motion logo of GotG popped up, with a 2 scribbled over top of it. With that the panel ended, leaving more than a few fans wanting more.
Where were the film announcements we so desperately crave? Where was the Doctor Strange announcement? Who is the fourth female lead in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Why can’t I have the things that I want? While the footage from both Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron sounded amazing, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that we didn’t get any announcements besides Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which was pretty much already announced at SDCC, though not officially.
Let’s recap. We got a taste of Ant-Man along with some official confirmations of cast members, some great footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron, and confirmation of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in 2017. not quite what we were expecting from this panel, but Marvel Studios might not need to show us all their cards quite yet. It certainly is keeping this fan waiting suspensefully for more information on the future of the MCU, so mission accomplished, Marvel.
What did you think of the Marvel Studios panel? Were you hoping for more? Sound off in the comments below or on the Geek Facebook page and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram to experience SDCC 2014 along with the rest of our San Diego Comic-Con coverage.
Images: Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics, Entertainment Weekly