Monday, 16 July 2012

Some GiANT news from Marvel at this years SDCC

I've never been to Comic-Con in San Diego, although I am registered for pre-registration for tickets to next years event (I kid you not, you have to register your interest in registering for tickets before the tickets even exist!) they do NOT make it easy to get your hands on the geek worlds equivalent of one of Wonka's Golden Tickets, so this year, like many others I am left to trawl the internet for info about what went down in Hall H over the weekend.

First up is the news from Marvel Studios, who made some huge announcements on Saturday about what they have planned post Avengers, in what they are calling "Phase Two" of their self-produced movies.

Some of the announcements were expected, whilst others were a bit of a surprise. So, what did we learn?

Well, we learned that Thor 2 will be titled Thor: The Dark World. Captain America 2 will be called Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and confirming recent reports, they announced that their other 2014 release besides Cap 2 will be Guardians of the Galaxy.

I'm guessing that this one will be geared more towards the kids, as I can't see it interesting your average 20 to 30 - something movie goer, who I can imagine will quickly dismiss it as a bit, well, daft really.

Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed that the lineup of the Guardians for the movie will be the current one from the comic, which means we're talking Star Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Yes, you read that right - Rocket Raccoon. Think Bucky O'Hare but, well, a Raccoon. Check out a piece of concept art for the movie unveiled at the 'Con below.

For Thor 2, details were pretty thin on the ground, the below promo image being the only real reveal, sparking speculation as to who or what the main villain/s will be and what story line it will follow.

The Dark World could be a reference to Dark Elves, a powerful race who've been giving  Thor a hard time since the 1980s, but rumors have suggested that popular villains The Enchantress and The Executioner (the latter thought to be the role that Mads Mikkelsen was in talks for before dropping out) to be the bad guys in the sequel. So who will be giving Goldilocks a hard time come next Summer? I guess we'll find out soon enough...

In Cap'n America news, Marvel were a little more forthcoming with information on the sequel, what with their subtitle it making it pretty clear where the plot will be heading. 

The Winter Soldier is an alias of Bucky Barnes, Cap's best pal & sidekick from the first film, and last seen falling off a train to his death. In the comics, Bucky seemingly perished in the same incident which freezes Steve Rogers, but in a recent plot twist in the comics continuity it turns out that his body (minus an arm he lost in the explosion) was found by a Soviet submarine, taken back to the USSR, where he's rehabilitated, albeit with a total loss of memory, and trained to be an assassin (The Barnes Identity?).
Although I imagine that his role won't be strictly villainous , I'm expecting a 3rd act crisis of conscience plot twist leading to him and Cap save the day from another baddie, perhaps Winter Soldiers current employer? Maybe it'll be a returning Red Skull, or Arnim Zola? Or even Baron Zemo being the real antagonist. Either way, this story will give a nice emotional weight to the plot, which will play well with Cap's difficulty to adapt to modern life in the Avengers.

For Iron-Man 3, there have been some sketchy details floating around about Marvel's next picture for a while now but the biggest news from the panel came in the confirmation that Ben Kingsley will be playing Tony Stark's arch-nemesis The Mandarin. Hinted at in the first film, but ditched by director Shane Black, who dismissed him as a "racist caricature," clearly a new take has been found, with Kingley's voice ominously narrating over the promo footage: "Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes. There is no such thing. As you cry out for mercy, you will be silenced."

It's not yet clear how he'll fit into the rest of the plot which looks set to follow the "Extremis" run in the comics by Warren Ellis, which focused on nanotechnology, but other than a few brief shots of him in full garb (along with a confirmation that War Machine's new armor is red, white & blue, modelled after the Iron Patriot character), very little else was revealed about Ol' Mandi. They did have a nice stand showing off the new armor for the film though.

But that wasn't all Marvel revealed. To finish out the panel they brought out writer-director Edgar Wright who showed the excited crowd his recently filmed test footage for Ant-Man. 

Unfortunately there is no shaky camera phone footage on Youtube of the test reel so you'll have to make do with this description of it from 
  • Opening shot pans down from inside a vent looking down a brightly lit hallway, lined with silver colored panels. Inside the vent is a very small Ant-Man looking down the hallway to a door at the end, guarded by two men in suits.
  • Angle changes to corridor looking up to vent and we see little Ant-Man jumping down, changing size to normal as the armed men pull out side-arms to shoot.
  • Ant-Man shrinks, jumps up and we see a slow-mo shot of him punching the guard to his in the mouth.
  • Ant-Man goes full size as he engages the second guard, shrinks again as he jumps and grabs the guard’s tie, going full-size as he goes over and using the momentum to flip the guard over his should through a glass window.
  • Ant-Man, then patiently walks and enters the elevator door as a few more glass bits fall from the window.
According to people lucky enough to see the footage, Ant-Man’s helmet concealed his face entirely but is very similar to the books, but having a slightly more dive suit feel to it. 

As for who will fill the tiny boots of Dr Hank Pym, Wright joked that Ant-Man has actually been here all day in the audience, before placing an Ant-Man name tag on the table. Wright also hinted at a possible tag line for the movie, saying after the footage: “Ant-Man will kick you ass one inch at a time.”

Well, it looks like it's going to be a good couple of years for Marvel fans. 
If this doesn't prompt DC to pull their collective finger out of their power ring I don't know what will...

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