Marvel and DC both came out at Comic-Con 2013 this weekend fighting, with Marvel hoping to continue its moment and DC Comics trying to build on the success of “Man of Steel” and shift things in their direction. Hours after Warner Brothers and DC Comics made news by announcing a Batman versus Superman movie, Marvel fired back with further details on some of their upcoming projects, including “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Thor: The Dark World” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Fans were left without any announcements regarding Marvel’s “Phase 3,” the films set to follow the second “Avengers” film and lead up to “Avengers 3.” Director Edgar Wright was at Comic-Con to promote his new film “The World’s End,” but didn’t appear to talk about his Marvel film “Ant-Man,” set for November 2015. While fans speculated those announcements may be saved for corporate parent Disney’s D23 convention next month, “Avengers” maestro Joss Whedon did announce that the film previously known only as “Avengers 2” had a new name — “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” directing brothers Joe and Anthony Russo have a tough task in front of them, attempting to continue the success of characters last seen in the biggest box office success of all time with Joss Whedon’s “Avengers.”
Star Chris Evans addressed those fears. “You just want to make sure you’re not the weak link in the chain” of the whole Avengers franchise, Evans said.
Evans says there’s another challenge facing the creators — Captain America being too good of a guy. “His nature is to put himself last,” Evans said. “It makes it difficult to find an interesting film, because most complex characters have flaws.”
Evans said that the new film addresses this by dealing with the security issues facing America today. “What are we willing to compromise in terms of civil liberties?” said Evans, saying that the morals he faces in the film aren’t black and white.
They also need to find a way to make the film funny without all the jokes coming at the expense of Captain America not understanding modern technology.
“He’s not sarcastic, so it’s hard to find humor unless the humor is self-deprecating,” Evans said. Cap’s starting to get it now, though — Evans says he’s got a cell phone in the new movie.
Samuel L. Jackson dismissed concerns about whether anyone ends up liking it. “That’s not our problem. That’s somebody else’s problem.”
After first appearing in “Iron Man 2” and expanding her role in “The Avengers,” Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has yet to receive her own film, but returns once again in the new Captain America film, hitting a third leg of the Avengers franchise. She said she felt there was a natural kinship between Black Widow and Captain America.
“We’re fighting on the ground. It’s not like we have these superpowers that we use and fly around” like the other Avengers, Johansson said. This also marks Johansson’s fourth film with Cap star Chris Evans.
“Avengers” director Joss Whedon is known for great female characters, and Johansson is hoping the strong depiction continues in the new film.
She credited Whedon for “making [Black Widow] a character who could get punched in the face,” saying, “I think Joss really set the bar in ‘the Avengers’ to sort of celebrate these female characters that are usually bookends or ornaments.”
The “Winter Soldier” cast was asked about how the return of Agent Coulson in the new “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV show would affect Captain America, but actor Chris Evans and others declined to comment. However, Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, who appeared in “Avengers” and in the new Cap film, also appears in the pilot of “S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Jackson, who plays Nick Fury, joked, “There was no Agent Coulson. He was an android. There are hundreds of him hanging around in a closet somewhere.” There’s been some speculation about it turning out Coulson was an android, though, so maybe there’s more to Jackson’s off-the-cuff comments than it appears.
Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon in the new Captain America film, marks another African-American character that Marvel is attempting to add to their universe in the current phase of their films He said that as a young African-American kid he read Black Panther and Falcon comics, crediting the Russos with given the Falcon “dignity and subtance” without making him “heady or hokey.”
Guardians of the Galaxy
The entire “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast made an unannounced appearance at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel, showing footage despite being two weeks into their shoot of the sci-fi action comedy.
Actor Djimon Hounsou expressed his excitement to be in the film, saying that it was personal to him. He said that his son loves superheroes, but that he was taken aback when his son came to him and said, “I want to be light-skinned so I can be light-skinned like Spider-Man.”
Hounsou said he’s excited to help provide a diverse look at superheroes. “It’s important for us to be part of that.”
Hounsou also let it drop that Thanos, who made a cameo at the end of “The Avengers,” plays a role in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” with Gunn adding that Thanos is what connects the film at this point to the rest of the Marvel universe.
Director James Gunn said that the film shows Gunn’s voice. When he ran his initial pass on the film by “Avengers” head honcho Joss Whedon and others, “Their biggest note was ‘more James Gunn,’ which freaked the hell out of me. So I gave them more James Gunn.”
Star Chris Pratt said it took him six months to get in shape for the film, including getting a tray of vegetables for his birthday. He joked that if one of them was sharp, he would have used it to cut himself.
Karen Gillan, the beloved “Doctor Who” actress who plays Nebula in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” also revealed that she’d gone bald for her role in the film after initially walking out in a wig.
DC didn’t have any clips or many details on its upcoming films, but did read an excerpt from “The Dark Knight Returns” to give a flavor of what to expect, teasing that the meeting of Superman and Batman on-screen would be more about conflict than friendship.
The first film up on Marvel’s slate, “Thor: The Dark World,” had the smallest presence at Comic-Con, but it excited fans by focusing its portion of the Marvel panel on villain Loki. Actor Tom Hiddleston came out in character as Loki to hype the new film. Watch the clip below:
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Ant-Man's release date.