Fans and members of the press entered the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood for a special screening of Marvel Studios' newest One-Shot short, "All Hail The King," in advance of its official release as an extra on the "Thor: The Dark World" Blu-ray and DVD.
The evening's event kicked off immediately with the short film, written and directed by "Iron Man 3" scribe Drew Pearce and starring Sir Ben Kingsley. For 15 minutes, viewers get a glimpse into the life of fake Mandarin, Trevor Slattery (Kingsley), after the events of the third "Iron Man" film. In lock up at a high security prison due to his part in the Aldrich Killian/Mandarin plot, the story unfolds as a documentarian with access to Trevor attempts to dig deeper into the apparently shallow actor, digging up footage of Trevor's first big acting break on a CBS '80s TV show called "Caged Heat" (complete with a score by "The A-Team" composer Mike Post) and watching as Trevor interacts with his fellow inmate "fans" -- and one very unimpressed Marvel movie villain.
Following the short, Pearce and Kingsley joined President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige on the Arclight floor to discuss the making of the short and the astonishingly resilient Trevor Slattery.
"He's like a cockroach in the apocalypse," Pearce joked, adding that Trevor had survived not just the events of "Iron Man 3" but multiple drafts and reshoots of the Shane Black directed film. The idea for the short came during the shooting of "Iron Man 3," Pearce and Feige told the small crowd, saying that the One-Shot was originally planned to be a short "Iron Man 3" prequel before the decision was made to follow Trevor's early prison adventures.
Kingsley told the audience he felt the character "was so beautifully conceived by Drew and Shane and Kevin, that he's not actually as two dimensional as one might expect -- he's a great survivor, he's arrogant, but the bubble that he lives in is part of his survival."
With a laugh, Kingsley copped to fleshing out the character by pulling inspiration from acquaintances he knew during his time with the Royal Shakespeare Company. "He's an amalgam of actors that I've worked with -- actors who I drank with in the pub afterwards who would go on and on and on about their playing King Lear in Croydon, [England]," Kingsley said, causing his fellow Brit Pearce to chuckle and add that no one knows where Croydon is located.
"If the people of Croydon are listening, I have nothing but respect," Pearce joked as the audience laughed. "To be fair, we've put Croydon in a big film!"
"It's a salute to the struggling actor who suddenly gets an enormous break and is propelled into infamy," Kingsley added.
The classically trained Kingsley joked Marvel should actually send him to Croydon to play King Lear in a local theater -- but in character as Trevor Slattery. "Not only are we doing the most elaborate Blu-ray extra in history, but now we're actually going to do a spin-off tour of Trevor in Lear?" Pearce deadpanned, the three men cracking up as the audience cheered the idea.
Speaking about the Marvel One-Shot concept as a whole, Feige told the theatre that when it comes to making the shorts, "It really is about what's the idea, not, 'Oh, we have to add another feature on the Blu-ray.' It's an added bonus when you have someone like Drew and you get Sir Ben Kingsley to agree to appear in your short."
"It's amazing, and it doesn't happen often!" Feige agreed.
"It is quite weird to essentially have followed up one of the biggest movies of all time with a small student film," Pearce quipped.
"I missed Trevor -- I was worried about him!" Kingsley stated when asked why he agreed to come back to the role. "I visited him in rehab and told him there was going to be a sequel and he was like, 'Oh, that's wonderful. I'm really delighted,'" Kingsley continued, slipping into Trevor's drunk slur.
Chuckling when Pearce pointed out Feige allowed them to put Kingsley in a giant '80s wig "made of real Russian hair" and film a monkey drinking vodka for the short, Feige added, "The whole purpose of Trevor is to go off the rails!"
Pearce also took the time to explain that the "Caged Heat" Mike Post music credit was not a joke; the Emmy and Grammy-winning composer actually wrote the theme song to Trevor's rejected CBS pilot, which Pearce described as "Russian Magnum P.I."
"I love movie soundtracks -- my love of that started when I had a little tape recorder and I would tape the themes to 'Simon And Simon' and 'The A-Team' and play it back, and those were all Mike Post," Feige explained. After contacting Post, the veteran composer ended up not only writing the music, but pulled out his old instruments and equipment from the '80s in order to do so.
As for Trevor's future in the Marvel cinematic U, anything is possible. "He lives in a weird kind of bubble, so nothing is bad news for Trevor," Kingsley said. "Aside from a gun to his head."
"And CBS," Pearce added as Kingsley nodded.
Feige, wearing a "Winter Soldier" sweatshirt, then announced that he had brought the first ten minutes of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" to screen for the audience. The three dimmed the lights and left the theatre as the "Winter Soldier" footage began playing, starting with the appearance of Sam Wilson (AKA Falcon, played by actor Anthony Mackie) as he watched Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lap him during a run around Washington D.C. Introducing himself and trading jokes over what Rogers should listen to in order to catch up on life in the 21st Century (Marvin Gaye topping that list), the action began in earnest when Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) appeared to pull Rogers into a mission to free a S.H.I.E.L.D. cargo ship from a group of pirates as Captain America. Though Rogers expresses his distaste at cleaning up after S.H.I.E.L.D., he still takes command of the night-time infiltration of the ship, taking out pirates with Black Widow and a covert team, avoiding both detection and Widow's suggestions for improving Steve's non-existent love life.
With that, the footage loped directly into the newest "Winter Soldier" trailer, concluding with the promise of more action when the film hits theaters April 4 and the thunderous applause from the audience.
"Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and HD Digital copies of Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World."