Marvel Studios repeated last year’s triumph with another rousing finale to three days of Hollywood presentations that sparked near hysteria as virtually the entire cast of Avengers: Age Of Ultron descended on Hall H.
Saturday evening (26) was always going to be a crazed affair and 10 minutes before the panel started chants of “We Want Marvel” rang out through the air and impromptu Mexican waves pulsed through the 6,500-seat venue.
After an opening montage of Marvel films, studio head Kevin Feige arrived and amid an atmosphere of intense excitement said he wanted to talk about 2015 and promptly introduced the key cast of July release Ant-Man.
Peyton Reed, who recently replaced Edgar Wright and will start shooting in two weeks in Atlanta, chatted to cast members Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Corey Stoll – all Con debutants.
Con regular Evangeline Lilly arrived when Feige confirmed she would play the daughter of Douglas’ character, Hank Pym.
Douglas, who quipped “I have popped enough cherries” when his first-timer status at the event was mentioned, explained the set-up to Ant-Man, in which Pym creates a serum and mentors Ant-Man after his business partner becomes the villainous Yellow Jacket and stages a heist.
Hall H got to see a glossy sequence of Ant-Man in his suit and voice-overs as he flew a giant wasp.
Then Feige announced a special surprise as Robert Downey Jr walked on stage and threw red roses into the crowd to the naccompaniment of Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. One by one almost the entire key cast of Avengers: Age Of Ultron joined him to thunderous applause.
Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders holding a white rose, Samuel Jackson and Chris Evans all walked on to the stage.
Then came cast newcomers Aaron Taylor Johnson as Quicksilver, Paul Bettany as The Vision, James Spader as Ultron and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, also holding a white rose.
Later they were joined by Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos in August 1 release Guardians Of The Galaxy and was confirmed on the panel as a part of Ultron too.
Writer-director Joss Whedon was recovering from foot surgery in London and unable to attend. Also missing was pregnant Scarlett Johansson, although she appeared in a sultry video greeting that invited Feige to show footage from Ultron.
The sequence begins with the Avengers relaxing with drinks as each tries lift Thor’s hammer from the table. They all fail, although in a typically witty moment, Thor becomes slightly agitated when Captain America’s alter ego Steve Rogers steps up to give it a go, laughing with relief when his friend also gives up.
Moments later a slave robot commandeered by Ultron enters the room and taunts the Avengers before several invaders crash through the walls.
The footage switches to several action sequences including a full-on view of the robotic Ultron, culminating in a scene of devastation as the Avengers lie scattered on a rock somewhere in space.
To cap that, Feige then cued up a video from Guardians Of The Galaxy star Chris Pratt and director James Gunn as they lark about, pretending to be unaware that the cameras are rolling, and let slip that Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 will open on July 28, 2017.
That piece of news filled up one of several mystery release slots announced by Marvel Studios last week.
- Earlier in the day Warner Bros hosted its panel. The studio did not facilitate entry into Hall H for ScreenDaily, which was unable to report on the occasion.
- Marvel Studios confirmed separately that Patrick Wilson has left Ant-Man due to scheduling conflicts.