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By starting off with Tom Hiddleston as Loki making a speech in character, driving the audience to chant “Lo-ki, Lo-ki, Lo-ki,” and ending with the reveal of the title and villain for the sequel to The Avengers.
After a presentation that included strong footage from Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as a look at Guardians of the Galaxy, director Joss Whedon took the stage and said, “I have one more thing to add.”
Whedon introduced a video that included snippets of dialogue from The Avengers as the view rounded over a metal surface, giving the impression it could be Captain American’s shield or Iron Man’s helmet. But the camera pulled back to reveal it was actually the head of a Marvel signature villain, Ultron.
Then the title of the sequel came up: The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While his origin is hard to easily encapsulate, in the comic books Ultron is an artificial intelligence created by the original Ant-Man, Dr. Henry Pym. Ultron tries to destroy his creator — and humanity — and goes on to create an android named The Vision. Vision initially attacks the Avengers at Ultron’s behest but later becomes a member of the team.
The crowd predictably went ape at the announcement, just as they did dozens of other times throughout the presentation.
The audience was frothing even before the panel began and was primed when Hiddleston made his entrance. Calling Hall H “a meager palace of Midgard,” he stayed in character, ordering one fan to kneel and making a speech about how the assembled were now part of his army. That led to the first of several video presentations, all of which impressed. Marvel knows what its audience is looking for and delivers.
Then the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier took the stage, with actors present including Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie. Footage from the movie was screened, which among other things showed off screen legend Robert Redford.
The directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, said the new movie’s tone hails from 1970s political thrillers, such as those Redford starred in, and that it feels like he has “come full circle.”
The first big surprise for fans came when Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige brought out the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy, its sci-fi adventure movie that serves as the first film to deviate from its now classic superhero mold.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker and director James Gunn were among those that the studio flew in from London that very day just to make an appearance. They were set to fly back later Saturday night.
Pratt talked of how he trained for the role (he had to lose some weight), while Bautista described how he cried when he nabbed the part of Drax the Destroyer after auditioning six or seven times. “And he won it based on his acting,” said Feige.
And then, although the movie is only about a dozen days into shooting, Marvel showed a montage of shots and scenes from Guardians. The footage established that the movie will have a totally different tone and attitude than Marvel Studios’ other films. The word “asshole” is used and Pratt’s character gives the camera the finger in shots filled with irreverent humor.
The footage also offered the first glimpse of the cult favorite character Rocket Raccoon, a diminutive rodent with an attitude that will be created by CGI in the movie.
Find below a logo for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as new concept art for Guardians, The Winter Soldier and The Dark World.
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