Behind the Buzz

While DC Comics may won the No-Prize for biggest Comic-Con 2013 announcement (at least if our traffic is any indication) with the <a href=>reveal of 2015’s <i>Superman/Batman</i> film</a>, Marvel almost certainly took the prize for most interesting, buzz-worthy and eventful <i>panel</i> of the weekend. <p>Joss Whedon’s <b>Avengers: Age of Ultron</b> revelation in the closing moments was just the topper to a <a href=>Hall H hour filled with implication-heavy announcements</a> that will be discussed for years to come, not evening mentioning Tom Hiddleston bringing down the hall in character (and costume) as Loki in an appearance that will be remembered as one of Comic-Con’s most memorable moments. <p>Marvel Studios has seemingly got this San Diego thing down to a science that would impress even Tony Stark… although come to think of it, dancing Iron Man girls was presumably his idea, so maybe that’s faint praise. <p>We had a ton to talk about here at Newsarama immediately following the panel, so we thought we’d share some of our thoughts with you.


As we wrote Saturday evening, while the consensus speculation has been that Vin Diesel will be cast as the Vision in what we now know is <b>Avengers: Age of Ultron</b> — speculation that he’s deliberately stoked — it makes more sense to us here at Newsarama that the actor’s distinctive voice would make a better fit as Ultron. <p>The Vision is essentially emotionless — or at least the Hollywood sci-fi iteration of that, think Data or Spock — and while Diesel would provide the requisite bald head for the character, his voice would be somewhat an odd pairing. Why would the Vision’s creator program him to sound like Dominic Torreto? <p>When Diesel talks, you can almost hear the crackling ‘Kirby’ energy coming out of his mouth. And playing cold-hearted and malevolent seems right up Diesel’s alley. <p>But if he <i>is</i> cast as the Vision, Marvel could then always make Ultron…


Hear us out on this one. <p>While Marvel has certainly used the comic books as inspiration for the films, they haven’t married themselves to them either - JARVIS being a textbook example. Marvel took a middle-aged, bowler-wearing English butler and turned him into a dry-witted, disembodied artificial intelligence inside Iron Man’s helmet. <p>Having a version of JARVIS, (a corrupted one, obviously) serve as the brain of Ultron would play on the strong bonds of the already established Marvel Cinematic Universe, and all those remote armors from <b>Iron Man 3</b> could also serve as the spare parts Ultron is ‘born’ from, freeing Joss Whedon from having to establish Ulton’s origins completely from scratch. <p>And let’s face it, the evil voice of Paul Bettany might be even cooler than the evil voice of Vin Diesel. <p>And speaking of Ultron’s origins…


With <i>Ant-Man</i> scheduled to debut just months after the <b>Avengers</b> sequel, the natural assumption is that strong ties to the two films will exist, and that may be so. But Hank Pym’s "abilities" have always been something of a stretch, even in a superhero comic book frame of reference. <p>He’s like the da Vinci of the Marvel Universe — a bio-chemist who invented a method to shrink and grow, plus a means to communicate with ants (not even sure what scientific discipline that falls under); <i>and</i> he invented the world’s most sophisticated A.I. <p>Whedon has now <a href=>reportedly confirmed this assumption on our part</a>. And on another level, it doesn’t make sense for Marvel to introduce a character that would make Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark look like a DeVry University dropout. <p>As we say, we’re looking for Whedon to efficiently use already-established elements of the MCU to create his Ultron, so as not to bog down the film with exposition. <p>And speaking of Hank Pym…


It was not until Marvel’s panel was over that we realized — "Hey, they never even mentioned <b>Ant-Man</b>." <p>Thinking it over, it’s not too much of a surprise. <b>Ant-Man</b> has clearly been defined as the beginning of "Phase 3" of the MCU and <b>Avengers: Age of Ultron</b> the close of ‘Stage 2’ so ending the panel by making that the big climatic panel reveal makes perfect sense. <p>And Edgar Wright joining the panel would have likely seemed underwhelming considering Marvel had cast members and footage from all of the three "Phase 2" films featured. <b>Ant-Man</b> hasn’t started casting or filming yet and the test reel of Ant-Man SFX was shown at <i>last</i> year’s Comic-Con. All Wright would have likely been able to do is come out and maybe read a passage from the reportedly newly completed final script. <p>But while perfectly understandable, it was still somewhat conspicuous for the film to not have been mentioned at all. <p>But then, they also didn’t mention…


Not 1, not 2, but 3 unnamed Marvel movies have staked their opening weekends claims in 2016 and 2017. <p>But then, hell, it’s entirely possible Marvel/Disney doesn’t even know what they are yet. Given Marvel films are taking on a ‘printing money’ quality for the House of Mouse, perhaps Disney reserved dates before even deciding what to actually schedule on them. But Marvel had to know there was some expectation we’d hear a brand new title over the weekend. <p>But then again, it may be becoming easier to take an educated guess, because…


While Whedon has reportedly confirmed <b>Age of Ultron</b> will <i>not</i> be a literal adaptation of the just completed Brian Bendis-written comic book limited series event (more on that in a minute), the fact that they’re using the title shows that creative synergy is important to Marvel. <p>The upcoming <b>Infinity</b> limited series is in no doubt part of a branding strategy for Marvel’s ‘cosmic’ corner of the Universe in anticipation of next year’s <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b> and wherever Thanos pops up on the big screen next (again, stay tuned for more on that). <p>So the smart money would be to look to the comic books to start gathering clues to Marvel’s future movie plans. <p>Our guess — take careful note of the <b>Inhumans</b> push beginning in the comic book realm post-<b>Infinity</b>. The early press for the series suggest Marvel seems quite intent on creating a new, very mutant-like facet to their Universe, noteworthy considering that, you know, they already have one. <p><i>But</i>, Marvel Studios does <i>not</i> hold the live-action movie or TV rights to the X-Men characters, so creating a substitute property they <i>do</i> hold the full media rights to makes perfect sense at the Disney-era Marvel. <p>Look for this new take on the Inhumans to pop up on <i>Avengers Assemble</i>, <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i> and <i>Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.</i> over the next year or so just like the Guardians have and/or will be. And if <i>that</i> happens, our money will be on the Inhumans making their movie debut in one of those reserved slots.


Again, another conclusion Whedon has already reportedly confirmed, and it was expected. Regardless of whatever your feelings on <b>Age of Ultron</b> the event series was, one thing we can all agree on, you really had to know who Ultron was for it to make the best sense. <p>Ultron, in fact, had a pretty low profile in <b>Age of Ultron</b> (go figure). The whole premise of the story is based on his <i>long</i> existence in the Marvel Universe. <p>Having a character come from the future to conquer the past makes little narrative sense in a film that still has to establish who Ultron is in the first place, which Whedon is reportedly prepared to do. <i>And</i> you can’t travel to the past that you haven’t seen happen yet. <p>We’re also dubious on Marvel opening the door to time-travel at this stage in the Marvel movie game as well.


Captain America has had a <i>lot</i> of costumes, all featuring some form of stars, stripes, and a combination of blue, white, and red (but not always all three). There were rumors that for the sequel, which is said to be more of a spy thriller than all-out superhero movie, he'd be in something a little closer to the "Super Soldier" costume. With footage that started with an entire scene in an elevator, featuring Cap systematically taking down about 10 armed thugs on his own screened at Comic-Con, we got to see that costume in action, and indeed, it was very much like the concept art. <p>The costume has less of a sheen to it than the leaked art, and was slightly less bulky, facilitating quicker, more fluid movement — it also looked considerably less garish on screen than previous efforts, and seemed like something someone might actually wear in real life. <p>The costume isn't the only change to a Cap solo movie — Natasha Romanoff fans rejoice, because according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige she "shares this movie in a big way" with Captain America, mimicking the storyline from the comics that this is based on. While it's not a Black Widow solo movie just yet, it should be welcome news to see a female hero featured more strongly in a movie (not to mention Agents Sharon Carter and Maria Hill).


There was an explosion of buzz about <i>Superman/Batman</i>. Fans went crazy over the entire assembled cast of <i>X-Men: Days of Future Past</i> and talked sporadically Sunday about the footage shown (and how awesome Blink looked). And of course, between <b>Thor: The Dark World</b> footage that showed Loki seemingly winning, <b>Captain America: The Winter Soldier</b> footage that showed Bucky in full Winter Soldier mode, even holding Cap's shield, and the hilarious and action-packed <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b> footage (and cast reveal), Marvel Studios was the first thing out of everyone's mouth on the show floor for the final day of the convention. <p>All of that adds up to not hearing a <i>single</i> mention of Sony's <b>Amazing Spider-Man 2</b> around the convention floor. Despite massive advertisements, no one was talking about Spider-Man, about Electro — if we didn't <i>know</i> there was a panel featuring the movie — it was on the schedule, there are some recaps floating around out there, we would've sworn Sony had skipped the show altogether. What that says about the Spidey franchise, the villain choices, or the way Sony is marketing so far is left to be seen, but it was a very loud silence at Comic-Con.


Following the fleeting-but-memorable debut of cosmically powerful supervillain Thanos during the mid-credits sequence of last year's <b>Avengers</b>, many fans assumed that he'd likely be the main bad guy of the 2015 sequel. <p>Then, word came of 2014’s <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b>, which also seemed like a natural place for the Mad Titan to pop up next. <p>But now that we know that the second <b>Avengers</b> film is <b>Age of Ultron</b> and centers on the titular nefarious artificial intelligence, and <b>Guardians</b> seems pretty full on villains — with The Collector, Ronan the Accuser, Nebula and Korath all in the mix — where exactly does Thanos fit in? <p>At a <a href=>press conference shortly following the Hall H presentation</a> Saturday at Comic-Con, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated that Thanos was the link between <b>Guardians</b> and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seemingly confirming that the guy has <i>some</i> part to play in that film. But it seems dubious at this point that there's room for him to really make a splash as "the" bad guy; more likely figuring in as a background player continuing to manipulate things from behind the scenes. <p>There's always the third <b>Avengers</b> film, but in lieu of filming back-to-back — and there's no indication that they're doing that — the earliest that could reasonably be expected would be 2017 or 2018, five or six years after the initial tease.

10 Thoughts Following MARVEL STUDIOS' Comic-Con Panel

Date: 22 July 2013 Time: 05:49 PM ET