The Marvel Studios presentation Saturday evening at Comic-Con International began appropriately enough, with a sizzle reel taking a look back – namely shots of its Hall H announcements from 2006 to last year, intercut with footage from “Iron Man” to “The Avengers.”
The final frame read, “Thank you for making ‘The Avengers’ the biggest superhero movie of all time. And Phase Two begins … NOW.”
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige then arrived onstage to roaring cheers from the packed house, which only intensified after he admitted, “We put that piece together because we thought it’d do a better job than I could of thanking this crowd and this hall and this audience for everything that’s happened to Marvel Studios in the last five years.”
Feige wasted no time dropping four of Marvel’s major announcements. “Wanna hear a little bit about what’s coming up?” he teased, to cheers of approval. “We’re working on about four movies in active development right now – the first one is halfway through production. It’s called ‘Iron Man 3.’
“And as we speak, a new director named Alan Taylor who worked on a little show called ‘Game of Thrones,’” he said as a title card appeared on the surrounding screens, reading “Thor: The Dark World” and the Nov. 8, 2013, release date. “The entire cast is returning,” he continued, but then confirmed the rumor that Josh Dallas will not be returning, saying, “We have one new cast member joining us. His name is Zach Levi, taking over the role of Fandral.”
Next, a logo for the sequel to “Captain America: The First Avenger,” officially called “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” appeared onscreen, triggering a wild reaction from the crowd. Feige said for the follow-up, which arrives April 4, 2014, “We have a pair of directors on this called the Russo brothers who you may not know right now but next year when you’re sitting here with the footage you will know them, and you’ll become as big a fan as I am.”
Saving the best for last, Feige confirmed the fourth film to be “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Scheduled for release on Aug. 1, 2014, it features Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. “There will be many more announcements to come in the next few months about that,” he promised.
Next, the moderator asked about “Ant-Man,” leading Feige to introduce director and co-writer Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World”), who entered waving an Ant-Man comic. “Basically, myself and Joe Cornish. the director of ‘Attack the Block,’ we wrote two more drafts last year and so it’s something that we have continued to work on,” he said.
Wright confirmed he made a test reel, saying, “It’s only a teaser – I shot a little test … but it’s completely unfinished, we shot it two weeks ago.” The crowd cheered as the lights dimmed, and the footage showed a shot of a hallway through a grate, which pulls out to reveal Ant-Man in his tiny form, peering out at two security guards.
He attacks the duo, rapidly grows to full size, and then shrinks back down, an effect that goes on throughout the fight. There’s plenty of Wright-esque humor and style involved – clear even through the green screens and wires, especially when Ant-Man runs across a gun barrel to dislodge one of the guard’s teeth. After kicking proper butt, Ant-Man steps into the elevator the men had been guarding and takes a somewhat comedic pause before pressing the button.
Ant-Man’s helmet has something of an Iron Man style to it, with a vintage undersea diving bent, including a mouthpiece and ventilation pipe on the left and right side, curving around to a pack on the back of his neck. The armor is dark gray with deep maroon plates in the center of his chest, legs and helmet.
“We wanted to do a costume that looked a little more practical,” Wright admitted, “but it manages to mix the silver age and the contemporary. It’s supposed to be a nod to the original ‘Tales to Astonish.’”
Perhaps generating the film’s slogan, he continued, “It is action-packed! Ant-Man will kick your ass one inch at a time.”
When asked about casting, Wright said there’s no news, although he did joke, “Ant-Man has been here all day,” nodding to an Ant-Man nameplate next to his own on the panel table.