The madness of San Diego Comic-Con is upon us, and that means it’s speculation time. Marvel is always a highlight of the event, and this morning the studio “announced” that its Hall H panel is set for Saturday from 5:30-6:30pm. I say “announced” because the official description of the panel is as follows: “Marvel Studios President and Producer Kevin Feige and special guests will provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.” That’s incredibly vague, but not altogether surprising given that Marvel loves to keep things under wraps.
However, even though no official Comic-Con announcements have been made, we actually have a pretty good idea of what the panel will entail. Much more after the jump.
With Guardians of the Galaxy being a focus of last year’s panel, and given the fact that it opens on August 1st, Marvel has already said it won’t be featuring that film during its Hall H panel. Clearly the studio will be highlighting at least one of its upcoming projects, and since Avengers: Age of Ultron is the next Marvel pic set for release on May 1, 2015, that’s our prime candidate. For further confirmation, Mark Ruffalo recently revealed to us that he and the entire Avengers 2 cast are flying down to San Diego to Comic-Con, so you can bet that Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and their fearless leader Joss Whedon will appear on the Comic-Con stage in Hall H.
I’d also imagine that Marvel will want to show off a bit of footage from the film. Even though Iron Man 3 had only been shooting for a short while, Marvel teased a sizeable portion of that film during Comic-Con 2012. We’ll likely get to see the first footage from Age of Ultron this year, but given that Marvel is one of the only studios that keeps its Comic-Con footage exclusive, don’t expect it to pop up online anytime soon.
Another project that will be highlighted is Ant-Man. Marvel is going to have to work hard to win back fans who were justifiably upset that the studio somewhat forced co-writer/director Edgar Wright to walk away, and Michael Douglas recently revealed to us that he is also coming to Comic-Con. That means some or all of the cast of Ant-Man—Paul Rudd, Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Patrick Wilson, and Michael Pena—could grace the stage, as well as director Peyton Reed. Filming hasn’t yet begun so there won’t be any footage to show, but maybe we’ll get a sneak peek at Rudd in costume for the first time? Again, Marvel has a lot of work to do in order to get the fans back on it side for Ant-Man, but this would be a start.
As far as news goes, Marvel will also likely be unveiling its official lineup for Phase Three. This current Phase Two closes out with Avengers: Age of Ultron next May, kicking off the third phase next July with Ant-Man. A couple of years ago, Marvel unveiled logos and titles for all of its Phase Two movies, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t do the same for Phase Three here. We know that Captain America 3 is slated as the second Phase Three film, and Doctor Strange now has a director in Scott Derrickson, so I imagine the studio has gotten its ducks in a row and is ready to set official release dates.
Speaking of Doctor Strange, many are also expecting Marvel to bring Derrickson onstage and possibly reveal the actor who will be taking on the lead role. Rumors have run rampant as to whom the star might be, but so far Marvel has done an incredibly swell job of keeping things under wraps. Either that or they really haven’t started casting yet. Derrickson only recently got the job so it’d be understandable if they didn’t have much to show, but it would be neat to hear him talk briefly about his take on the material and unveil a logo of some sort.
While all of the above sounds entirely plausible, Marvel is also known for surprises. Last year, Whedon took the stage to introduce a short video teaser that revealed the subtitle for Avengers 2. In 2010, the entire cast of The Avengers took the stage and tore the house down. Marvel is anything but predictable, so be prepared for something unannounced or unanticipated to occur.
I’ll be down in San Diego for this year’s Comic-Con along with the rest of Collider’s trusty team, so be sure to stay tuned for our numerous panel recaps and interviews—including a full rundown of what actually happens during Marvel’s Hall H panel.
San Diego Comic-Con runs from July 23rd to July 27th.