Comic-Con: Marvel’s ‘Age of Ultron,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

July 20, 2013 | 11:39 p.m.

Marvel Studios pulled out all the stops for its Hall H panel presentation during Comic-Con on Saturday, wowing with surprise after surprise, including an introduction by Tom Hiddleston in full Loki costume, an unannounced discussion with the entire cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and an appearance by “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon, who unveiled the sequel’s title: “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

The panel also focused on “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

The lights cut out as the panel began, and a disembodied voice hissed, “Humanity, humanity, look how far you’ve fallen,” chastising the audience for “sweltering in line” and “huddling in the dark like beasts … in this meager palace of Midgard, the arena they call Hall H.”

A spotlight revealed “Thor: The Dark World” costar Hiddleston, decked head to toe in his green and gold Loki attire.

“I am Loki, of Asgard! And I am burdened with glorious purpose. Stand back, you mewling quim!”

The audience erupted in cheers and began chanting, “Lo-ki! Lo-ki! Lo-ki!”

Hiddleston, fighting a grin to stay in character, raised his arms to accept the worship before silencing the 6,500-seat arena simply by bringing his finger to his lips.

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

“You should have let me rule you when you had the chance, yet here you are,” Hiddleston said. “Your ears yearn for untold stories. Your eyes crave unseen sights. Your imaginations ache and hunger. Where are your Avengers now? … Say my name. Say my name!”

When the fans took up the chant again, he said, “It seems I have an army. Feast your eyes!”

Actress Scarlett Johansson at the Marvel panel. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Actress Scarlett Johansson at the Marvel panel. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

If the preview footage that followed is any indication, Loki will have a large role to play in “Thor: The Dark World,” and just might betray Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-wielding hero once again. The teaser also showed dark elves, giants and some fun banter between Thor and Sif, the Asgardian warrior woman played by Jaimie Alexander. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) gets rainbow-whisked to Asgard, and in one scene slaps Loki across the face, saying, “That was for New York,” referring, of course, to the climactic battle in “The Avengers.”

The “Thor” presentation was followed by a panel discussion with the directors and stars of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” In the film, Chris Evans’ titular character is still adjusting to the modern world after his 65 years frozen in the Arctic.

“He’s getting there,” Evans said. “It’s not so much about his shock with tech.… It’s more about the societal difference with the ‘40s to today. I think he comes from a world where the people were more trusting.… The world today, it’s harder to know who’s right and who’s wrong.”

Evans mentioned that the compromise of civil liberties in the name of protecting the public is “harder for him to swallow.”

Evans was joined on the panel by directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo as well as costars Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Anthony Mackie (new character the Falcon), Frank Grillo and Emily VanCamp.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige noted that Bucky Barnes’ role in the film will adhere closely to Ed Brubaker’s comic book story line of the same title. Fans caught a glimpse of the character picking up the Cap’s iconic shield in a teaser for the film. The preview footage also featured a brutal fight scene, in which Steve Rogers is trapped in an elevator and ambushed by goons. Of course, he single-handedly takes them all out.

“This film is gritty,” Johansson said. “It’s got some down-and-dirty, knuckle-baring fighting.”

The footage introduced Anthony Mackie as the Falcon, who appeared to be facing off against fighter jets.

“I have wings and guns,” Mackie said. “That’s all you need, right?”

Actors Anthony Mackie and Cobie Smulders at the Marvel panel. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Actors Anthony Mackie and Cobie Smulders at the Marvel panel. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The footage also showed off Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, who tells Rogers, “Captain, to build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down.”

Redford’s casting was in keeping with the tone the directors were hoping to strike.

“The movie is really based on, its tone is derived from ‘70s political thrillers,” Joe Russo said, calling the directing gig “a dream come true.”

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Afterward, Feige brought the entire cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy” on stage, flown in this morning from the London set just for Comic-Con.

Director James Gunn took the stage, along with Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Benicio Del Toro (the Collector), Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser) and Djimon Hounsou (Korath).

Pratt, best known for his comedic “Parks and Recreation” role, talked about the physical transformation he has undergone for the part.

“I got the role six months ago, and they were like, ‘Great job, but you’re too fat,’” Pratt said. “I was like, ‘All right, I can work on that.’”

“Doctor Who” alum Karen Gillan also underwent a transformation for her character Nebula, who is bald in the comics.

“I might have done something a little bit crazy,” she said, pulling off a red-haired wig and revealing her shaved head to the stunned audience.

“I was a little worried that I was going to look like an overgrown fetus,” she said. “Maybe that’s true. But it’s liberating. It’s very liberating. Everyone here should shave their heads.”

Gillan and “The Walking Dead” actor Michael Rooker later compared head-smoothness, rubbing each other’s shorn scalps.

Promotional artwork for "Guardians of the Galaxy." (Marvel)

Promotional artwork for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” (Marvel)

Perhaps most movingly, Dave Bautista appeared overwhelmed as he talked humbly about landing the role.

“There’s a point where I go to set every day and I still can’t freaking believe I got this job,” he said. “It’s something that I wanted more than anything I ever wanted in my life. When I got it, I broke down and cried like a little baby.”

Feige dismissed the notion that Bautista, best known for professional wrestling, was cast merely for his hulking size, saying that he auditioned seven or eight times for the part.

“Dave earned this job based on his acting ability, which is tremendous,” Feige said.

Marvel showed some scenes from the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which has only been filming for 10 days. The tone is strikingly different from previous Marvel films, with more snark and irreverent humor. At one point, Star-Lord slowly cranks out his middle finger.

Pratt described his character as a scoundrel.

“He had a hard time as a kid, and now he goes around space, making out with hot alien girls and just being a rogue and a bit of a jerk, and through teaming up with these guys, finds a higher purpose for himself,” he said.

After “Guardians,” the audience chanted, “More! More! More!”

Feige introduced Joss Whedon to unveil the title of the “Avengers” sequel — “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

It’s unclear how closely the film will tie to the recently finished “Age of Ultron” story in Marvel Comics, or whether Ant-Man (the protagonist in another upcoming Marvel film, directed by Edgar Wright) will be part of the film. In the comics, Ultron is an insane, sentient robot who tries to destroy his creator, Dr. Henry Pym, the original Ant-Man.

Which Marvel film are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


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5 Responses to Comic-Con: Marvel’s ‘Age of Ultron,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

  1. Bryan Johnson says:


  2. Rob Mitchell says:

    When are we gonna see Beta Ray Bill?!

  3. Cassius says:

    “mewling quim”, really? How many editors do you think missed that double cat pun, outside of the UK?

  4. Sérgio says:

    Congratulations Batista!

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