In the final moments of Marvel’s rousing panel at Hall H, Marvel chief Kevin Feige brought out Joss Whedon, who showed a very early teaser of the sequel The Avengers and revealed that the film will be called Age Of Ultron with a May 1, 2015 release date. Marvel Comics aficionados might know that the title and the baddie Ultron are the subject of 10-issue limited series comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involves the return of Ultron and his conquest of the earth. Ultron and his Sentinels should prove a worthy antagonist for the Avengers and it looked like all will be back though there was no mention of Vin Diesel, who is rumored to be in line to play The Vision. The comic series was published between March and June 2013 and features a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through eight. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.
After DC’s announcement earlier today that the sequel to Man of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for Marvel to top that bombshell during their own Hall H Comic Con panel. Marvel delivered with the announcement of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn’t just Avengers news that electrified the assembled throngs of fanboys and fangirls. Marvel put on a highly theatrical presentation that featured never before seen footage of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some of the most elaborate fan service seen at this year’s Comic Con courtesy of Loki actor Tom Hiddleston.
After a brief introduction from panel moderator Chris Hardwick and Feige, Hiddleston came onstage dressed in character as Loki to present new footage from Thor: The Dark World. “Silence, you mewling quims,” a scenery chewing Hiddleston said, referencing The Avengers‘ most notorious line of dialogue. Delivering a speech based heavily on his lines from the blockbuster, Hiddleston exhorted the crowd to shout his name. The Thor footage included scenes previously seen in the recent teaser, but mainly offered a much expanded look at the film’s larger scope. It was small on actual plot details but demonstrated that Marvel intends to keep doing what has worked for them for the last 5 years.
Likewise, footage from Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed off how the post-Avengers Marvel universe will play out, emphasizing a more political tone that directors Anthony and Joe Russo said was “influenced by the political thrillers of the 1970s”. Star Chris Evans agreed, describing his character’s dilemma as an inability to fully accept the uncertainty of the modern world, and citing infringements on civil liberties as something “that’s hard for [Captain America] to swallow.” The footage reflected this, with one scene showing Captain America telling Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury “this isn’t freedom, it’s fear.”
The final panel discussion focused on Guardians of the Galaxy, the James Gunn-directed adaptation of Marvel’s space-set science fiction series. The property lacks anything close to the household name recognition of previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films like Iron Man. But Marvel seems confident of its ability to succeed even with relatively unknown properties. Footage shown demonstrates that Gunn’s specific comedic sensibilities remain fully intact. Gunn compared his work on Guardians to making an indie film, in terms of creative freedom. “It’s important to me to work with people I not only respect for their talent,” he said, “but also who I like as people.” Disney, he said, has completely supported his approach.
Ross Lincoln contributed to this report.