Why Is Marvel the Only Studio Still Doing Comic-Con’s Hall H Right? – Vanity Fair
Day after day, panel after panel, the news out of San Diego Comic-Con’s famed Hall H was the same. The cast of your favorite shows and movies arrived, charmingly shared some behind-the-scenes anecdotes, vaguely answered audience questions, dropped a trailer or two that immediately appeared online, and called it a day. This was true of Justice League, Westworld, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and more. All but three major movie studios skipped the convention altogether, and even with massive comic book film projects on the horizon like four (or more) new X-Men movies and just as many Justice League properties, neither the Twentieth Century Fox nor the Warner Bros. panels extended their scope beyond what’s coming immediately down the pike.
But even as these popular networks and film studios retreat over piracy and secrecy concerns and spread their Comic-Con presence elsewhere in San Diego, one company still knows how to reward those die-hard fans who sleep out overnight in the hopes of a show-stopping presentation. Once again, Marvel—the heavyweight champ of comic book movies—blew the roof off Hall H.
Marvel is always the biggest and last presentation on Saturday, the most well-attended day of the convention. As in years past and despite having had a mini-convention of its own just a week prior, Marvel was bursting with news, exclusive footage, and showmanship. Let’s break down everything we learned.
Thor Ragnarok: First up: the next movie to premiere on Marvel’s fully-loaded Avengers slate. The third installment in the Thor franchise has already been feeling the benefit of hype, thanks to a wildly popular first trailer that promised to bring plenty of director Taika Waititi’s trademark humor to the occasionally dour tales of Asgard. But the second trailer, which dropped immediately online, promised even more to love, including a quasi-articulate Hulk, some new threads for Bruce Banner, some killer new villains and heroes played by Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, and Cate Blanchett, and the Loki/Thor reunion you’ve all been waiting for.
Marvel also debuted an eye-popping Ragnarok poster that should make Sony feel even worse about that Spider-Man: Homecoming debacle.
The visual echo between this poster—featuring Blanchett’s death goddess, Hela, and classical depictions of the Hindu goddess of death (among other things), Kali—is only one of many layers to unpack in this impressive graphic.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: This follow-up to director Peyton Reed’s charming Marvel debut won’t come out until July 2018, so there was no footage to share with the Hall H crowd. But Marvel did break some massive news: Michelle Pfeiffer will be slipping back into an elaborate comic book jumpsuit and defecting from DC to play for the other team. She’s been cast as Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp from the comics who, in the MCU version of the story, was lost to another dimension while fighting crime with her husband, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym, leaving her daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) to grow up without her. The title Ant-Man and the Wasp likely refers to both Hank and Janet as well as Scott (Paul Rudd) and Hope.
Rounding out the cast are newcomers, including Walton Goggins—who has played villains for years on both television and in Quentin Tarantino films, and may menace Scott and Hope as a weapons mogul named Sonny Burch. Randall Park will play S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jimmy Woo, and Laurence Fishburne will appear as Dr. Bill Foster, a.k.a. Black Goliath, a scientist who grows rather than shrinks.
Captain Marvel: Marvel’s Kevin Feige dropped the mic on the Hall H panel last year when he announced that Brie Larson would be taking on the role as the first female Marvel superhero to headline her own film. This film, directed by Half Nelson’s
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck is a long way off (March 2019, to be exact) so there was also no footage of Larson to share. There was, however, some gorgeous concept art, which Marvel previously debuted to journalists in a behind-the-scenes tour back in April.
Feige also announced that Captain Marvel will be a period piece set in the 1990s and will feature Samuel L. Jackson’s eyepatch-wearing Nick Fury with both of his eyes. Captain Marvel will be fighting the Skrulls, which are classic alien villains co-owned by Twentieth Century Fox (it’s complicated). Larson wasn’t on hand to help break the news, though she was, endearingly, monitoring it all on social media.
In fact, Marvel didn’t go very heavy on talent at all this year, perhaps because it had just amassed an insane number of actors the weekend before at D23.
Black Panther: There may not have been a ton of Avengers on the scene, but there were an awful lot of Wakandans. The cast of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, which will premiere next February, was on hand to debut a new poster (above) and a bunch of footage that was exclusive to the room. (So rare these days.) “I wanted to find a comic book character who looks like me. The shop owner took me Black Panther,” Coogler said of his history with the character, adding that the coolest thing about this hero is that he draws his power from the people around him. We can’t share the Black Panther footage here, alas, but for a sense of how well it went over, here’s the cast reacting in shock and awe to what they just witnessed.
The footage—which, among other things, featured Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa debuting a dramatic new way of donning his battle suit—got a massive standing ovation in the room. It was the biggest reaction of the day, until. . .
Avengers: Infinity War: Feige pretended the panel was over until the three Avengers in the room—Boseman, Hemsworth, and Ruffalo—as well as famous Hall H ham Tom Hiddleston stormed the stage to insist he show the Avengers: Infinity War footage that closed out last’s week’s D23.
The crowd was all riled up, thanks to Black Panther and these four handsome hype men, and reacted to the footage (once again, exclusive to the room) with thunderous applause and another standing ovation. Every single fan in the room surely went home happy with the knowledge that one studio still knows how to put on a show.