iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — As expected, Comic-Con International: San Diego kicked into high gear on Saturday, and the talk of the convention was a triple superhero tease: Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, and Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The latter film remains on a collision course with Marvel’s Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016.
Marvel brought the big guns to bear in Hall H and managed to reassemble most of the Avengers — minus a pregnant Scarlett Johansson, who sent a greeting via video, and writer/director Joss Whedon, laid up from knee surgery.
Robert Downey Jr. entered the hall in full Tony Stark mode, grooving to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” while pulling out a bunch of roses from a sleek looking case. He tossed the flowers into the crowd, saving one white one each for Ultron’s female cast members Elizabeth Olsen and Cobie Smulders, the latter reprising her role as Maria Hill.
Introduced prior were their Avengers co-stars Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), and Olsen’s fellow newcomer and onscreen sibling Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays Quicksilver to her Scarlet Witch. James Spader was also making his first appearance on a Marvel panel ahead of his role as the movie’s baddie Ultron. Paul Bettany, known in the Marvel universe as the voice of Iron Man’s computer sidekick J.A.R.V.I.S., was on hand, too as he will be seen for the first time in the 2015 film as The Vision.
Near the close of the presentation, Josh Brolin surprised the crowd, wielding the golden Infinity Gauntlet, which gives his character Thanos nearly unlimited power. “Where’s my rose?” he growled to Downey, who pulled out the final flower — this one purple, which not coincidentally matches Thanos’ face. Brolin, who appears as the character for the first time in Guardians of the Galaxy, then took the flower in his hand and chomped it, to the crowd’s and Downey’s delight.
The panel also screened a snippet of the film, that started with a party in Avengers Tower, features a Hulk vs. Iron Man battle, and ends with the team bloodied and battered, and Cap’s nearly unbreakable shield metaphorically shattered.
Another Marvel project, Ant-Man, also brought its stars to a Q&A panel Saturday, including director Peyton Reed, and stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, and Evangeline Lilly. The presentation also included some footage of the movie’s titular hero exercising his science-based powers: the ability to shrink down to ant size and back, and the ability to call the insects to come to his rescue. Rudd called joining the Marvel universe, “a mind-bender,” while Douglas admitted, “I’ve always vicariously looked at Marvel films from afar with tremendous envy.” Ant-Man crawls into theaters June 17, 2015.
On Warner Bros.’ side of things, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill made an appearance to plug their onscreen face-off between Affleck’s Caped Crusader and Cavill’s Man of Steel. The teaser was just that: Batman strides onto a roof, his eyes glowing as they appeared in the comics, and fires up the Bat-Signal. The beam cuts through the rainy night to reveal Superman, his eyes burning a furious red. The crowd went ape. The reaction was mixed for a later reveal of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume — with some fans digging it and others digging at it, by saying it looked just like Lucy Lawless’ outfit from Xena: Warrior Princess.
One coming attraction that those who didn’t go to San Diego Comic-Con get to enjoy is the first trailer for WB’s Mad Max: Fury Road, the Road Warrior reboot that features Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy taking Mel Gibson’s place as a drifter in a violent, post-apocalyptic world. Mad Max’s original director George Miller is calling the shots once again. The movie rolls into theaters May 15, 2015.
Other Comic-Con-related tidbits include:
- Director James Gunn tweeted that he’s writing and directing a sequel to his Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens Friday. The sequel is set for July 28, 2017.
- Hobbit fanboy Stephen Colbert made a surprise appearance — dressed as his “Lake Town spy” cameo character from The Desolation of Smaug — to moderate a panel for the third Hobbit film, the Battle of the Five Armies. Co-star Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to geek-friendly fare, thanks to his voicing Smaug, and roles in Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness, but he’d never been to Comic-Con. He told ABC News Radio he’s plotting coming back next year in disguise. “I’d love to get more into the thick of it a little bit. you know,” says the actor, “I would love to just mix in amongst the people a little bit more. Because the amount of devotion of the people coming out — these are fans who have already paid for their ticket to see your film, then paid to come to the convention, who spend a fortune on their costumes and travel and you know, their, their stay — It’s just, it’s just mind-blowing, and it’s for the love of what you do!”
- Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series star Andy Serkis told ABC News Radio that this Comic-Con felt different for him than the others he’s attended, as the performer realized Battle of the Five Armies is his last J.R.R. Tolkien-related film. “This one has an extra layer of emotion attached to it, obviously, because it’s the last one with Middle-Earth, really,” the Planet of the Apes and Star Wars: Episode VII actor explained. “And…it was a really big achievement I think to get, to get everyone from both sets of films — you know The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, together in one room, you know, as many, as…we could.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio