Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
The Warner Bros/Legendary panel was a tough act to follow, but Marvel came through. A montage of past Hall H guest panels interspersed with prior movie footage was shown, with thanks to fans for making Marvel’s The Avengers the biggest superhero movie of all time, and finally declaring: “Phase Two Begins.” Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirmed that the next four movies are Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Edgar Wright came out to reveal some Ant-Man test footage he shot two weeks ago (unfinished). It featured Ant-Man in a costume that looked like a hybrid of the comic costume and Ultraman – full body suit that appeared to amplify his strength. We saw him run down a corridor, grow to full size, leap into the air, shrink again, super-punch the bad guys inside their mouths, then return to full size again and enter the elevator again.
Then Robert Downey Jr strolled down the aisle through the crowd, to the sounds of Luther Vandross music. “I’ve got three questions: how much do I love you? How much do you love me? Why aren’t we watching any footage yet?” The footage obliges. It Tony Stark trying to get armor pieces to fly onto him automatically, which they do, but in some cases too hard. He has an iPad conversation with Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who mocks Tony for hanging out with the “super friends.” Tony says, “We handled it,” then looks up as a new offscreen threat emerges. Helicopters destroy Stark’s house, sending it tumbling into the ocean, as a voice-over informs us that heroes don’t exist. That voice is revealed to be Ben Kingsley…as The Mandarin. (We kinda knew, but this is the first time they’ve admitted it publicly.)
Panel moderated by the Los Angeles Times’ Geoff Boucher had Downey, Kevin Feige, Shane Black, Jon Favreau and Don Cheadle. Downey was wearing an Iron Man glove, and observed that “I think every movie I ever do is going to be one of the three biggest movies ever, and it finally happened.” Cheadle will have “more to do” in this one, he promised. A fan asked if Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) will ever get the Rescuesuperhero suit. Downey responded by joking about lawsuits. Favreau said he’d get Downey the appropriate comics — everyone wants to see Gwyneth kick a little ass.
Director Black noted they were halfway through filming. “If we don’t fuck up the rest of it, it’s gonna be great … We’ve got all these interlocking parts. It’s not like Spider-Man 3 where they’re all separate!” He said this movie was conceived as the last part of a trilogy, not just another installment, and ties back to the first one. The alcoholism storyline from the comics isn’t going to play a part – they keep talking about liking the idea but can never find the space in the script.
Downey said Favreau in this movie is like “Swingers at 40. You’re gonna love it.” Freed up as an actor, no longer having to worry about directing, “like a proud grandfather who doesn’t have to change the diapers but gets to play with the baby.” Downey’s contract runs out after this movie, but said he’s “super-happy” playing the character. A fan in an Iron Man costume asked Downey if he could borrow the suit, to which Downey said “Of course. Be like Rhodey (Cheadle), you don’t ask, you just take it and you never bring it back!” Downey then got everyone in the room to sing happy birthday to a 15 year-old fan who said it was her birthday today.