Marvel Studios held its annual crowdpleaser panel in the vastness of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon. The casts of Ant-Man and Avengers: Age Of Ultron were both on hand -- but there wasn't much in the way of announcements, beyond confirming a lot of things we already knew. No new movies announced. No casting news that hadn't already leaked long ago. But with those disappointments suitably girded against, here's what we learned...
Evangeline Lilly has joined the cast of Peyton Reed's Ant-Man as new character Hope Van Dyne, while Corey Stoll has been confirmed as the villain Darren Cross -- who will also be the movie version of Yellowjacket.
Lilly's character is the daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) -- and presumably of Janet Van Dyne, though if Janet is in the movie the role has not been cast. It's not much of a stretch to speculate that Hope will be a romantic foil to Paul Rudd's Scott Lang.
The existence of Hope Van Dyne might suggest that Janet will be too old (or, who knows, too dead) to ever be an active Avenger in the movies. Maybe Hope will don Wasp's wings and take her place. It would be a shame if the first woman in the Avengers is never invited to be part of the on-screen team, even if it's not quite the same version we know from the comics. (It's also a shame that Marvel's movies take so much of their aesthetic from the Ultimate versions of the characters, yet Marvel couldn't put an Asian American Janet Van Dyne on the screen.)
Corey Stoll has long been linked to the Ant-Man movie, but his role is now confirmed as the villain Darren Cross/Yellowjacket, and we now know that he'll actually don the (glorious) Yellowjacket suit to go ant-mano-a-mano with Rudd.
Ant-Man is released July 17, 2015.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
The crowd at Hall H was treated to some exclusive Avengers: Age of Ultron footage and to the ridiculous sight of the assembled Avengers cast live and in very attractive person in front of them. That, evidently, was enough for any mortal, as there wasn't a lot in the way of news.
One notable moment: Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the Scarlet Witch, said that the Marvel Cinematic Universe now contains magic and "m... mutated people," and there are probably lawyers scrambling to prep statements to disavow everything from that statement. Elizabeth Olsen will probably be taught her character's most famous line, "No more mutants." But this does confirm that there is now something like mutants in the Marvel Universe -- and Thomas Kretschmann's Baron Strucker already gave it a name in Captain America: The Winter Soldier: "miracles."
The last actor to join the stage during the Avengers section of the panel was Josh Brolin, wearing a toy version of the Infinity Gauntlet. It was already widely rumored that Brolin will play the villain Thanos in... probably every Marvel movie for the next eight years.
Director Joss Whedon was not in attendance, as he's poorly, and Scarlet Johansson was also absent. You can get a breakdown of the footage shown, and more details about the panel, courtesy of our buddies over at ScreenCrush.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is released May 1, 2015.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2
Perhaps the least exciting thing Marvel could have announced at the panel is the stuff we already expect. We know there's going to be a second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. We know Marvel's release schedule for the next several years. Now we know a little bit more about what goes where; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is confirmed for July 2017.
With that in mind, here's what the Marvel Studios slate through May 2019 looks like.
May 1st 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17th 2015: Ant-Man
May 6th, 2016: Captain America 3
July 8th, 2016: Unconfirmed, but probably Dr. Strange
May 5th, 2017: Unknown, possibly Thor 3
July 28th, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
November 3rd 2017: Unknown
May 4th, 2018: Unknown
July 6th, 2018: Unknown
November 2nd, 2018: Unknown
May 3rd, 2019: Unknown
That, of course, does not count Marvel movies being made at other studios like Fox and Sony.
And that was the whole panel. No confirmation for a Doctor Strange release date. No Doctor Strange casting news. No movies for Black Widow or Black Panther. Not a sniff of a mention of Carol Danvers showing up anywhere.
Marvel is used to dominating the convention with its Hall H announcements, but this was not a memorable year -- and that Black Panther movie drifts ever further away with each passing San Diego.