The final panel of theatrical releases at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H belonged to the much-anticipated and long-awaited Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the first footage from the film was shown (description of the footage is below).
Marvel CEO Kevin Feige introduced Robert Downey, Jr. and he waltzed out to the boogieing strains of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.” He opened a Pelican briefcase and pulled out long-stemmed red roses, which he tossed into the crowd, to ecstatic cheers. Feige continued to introduce the cast — Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Paul Bettany (The Vision), and newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), James Spader (Ultron), and Elisabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch).
The panel was moderated by The Nerdist‘s Chris Hardwick. Hardwick exclaimed, “This is good! This is supposed to happen!” as he began the panel discussion.
He asked the panel how it feels to be here at Comic-Con. Downey replied, “It just keeps getting better, and we’ve got a great film coming ahead.” He says he’s beginning to feel a little less significant with each new Marvel film as they keep adding new characters to the ensemble. After a validating cheer from the crowd, he said, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Renner said it’s always thrilling, a brand new, amazing thing, and it’s been a wonderful blessing. He said that Downey convinced him to come to Comic-Con by washing his car in a thong, and felt fortunate to be sitting amongst this amazing group of people.
Ruffalo admitted the experience exceeded his expectations, and that he doesn’t get this kind of treatment at home, to which the crowd The crowd chanted “Hulk! HulK! Hulk!”
Hardwick noted that Hemsworth is in exceptionally good shape. Hemsworth then flexed his bicep next to Ruffalo’s relatively average arm in comparison. Laughs and cheers echoed through the crowd. Hardwick asked if there’s anything he’s wanted to do as Thor that hasn’t happened yet. He replied, “Turn him into a woman,” referring to Marvel Comics recent announcement of the reboot of Thor as a woman.
Smulders said that when director Joss Whedon first brought her into this universe, she hoped it would just keep going and it has. Jackson said Comic-Con is phenomenal, as he’s been coming since Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Every year he comes, he gets validated by the enthusiasm, and it gives him the encouragement to keep making movies.
Hardwick asked Evans if it’s difficult to try and keep up with Hemsworth’s massive bulk, to which he replied there’s no contest, Hemsworth IS Thor. He said about his character he feels that while Captain America is now used to the modern world, he still is looking for a place to belong within that world.
Taylor-Johnson felt overwhelmed and surreal to join the huge juggernaut that is the MCU. The characters have such a dynamic within the group, and praised Whedon for giving each character their moment to shine in the ensemble.
Bettany said as the voice of Jarvis in the Iron Man films, he used to turn up in a dark room for a while, say his lines, and get a bag of cash. Now, as Ultron, Marvel’s making him work for a living. His kids weren’t interested in his involvement before, but now that he’s on screen, they’re interested.
Spader always thought his whole life that things could never get weird or crazy for him, but Comic-Con is truly, truly weird. He found that approaching Ultron was as startling, surprising and challenging as coming to Comic-Con for the first time. Even the part of the movie business that these movies inhabit is new to him.
Olsen said her experience in coming into the group was at first intimidating, but has been fun. She’s grateful to add a new element to the world, “There’s now magic and ‘mutated people'” she said in an effort to avoid a term used by a rival studio’s mutant Marvel superhero franchise.
Then Hardwick introduced several minutes of footage from the film (description below).
After the footage, Feige asked “How are we going to top that?” Downey exclaimed, “We’ve got Thanos!” to which Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos in the MCU, walked on stage to join the cast, wearing the Infinity Gauntlet on his fist, pumping it into the air.
In NYC, we see The Avengers gathered in Avengers Tower, having drinks. Thor’s hammer is placed on a table and a challenged is issued to them all, to see who can lift mjolnir. Tony Stark of course tries first to instant failure. In a comedic moment, he says “Be right back,” and returns with the iron man glove; then James Rhodes/War Machine joins in but even together they cannot life it. “Are we even pulling?,” he asks Tony. Then we see one by one, each of them trying and once Captain America takes his turn, it moves and you see Thor get worried, but then breathes a sigh of relief when cap also fails to lift it. When he can’t; Black Widow declines to even try.
Piercing noise stops them all in their tracks.
Enter Ultron, “You’re all not worthy,” he tells them. “How can you be worthy, you’re all killers, you can’t, here’s only one path to peace, your extinction.” And he unleashes an attack on The Avengers.
We then see flashes of destruction, with humans getting hurt and the Avengers fighting as a voiceover from Ultron says “I had a vision the whole world screaming for mercy, everyone tangled in strings” as the familiar tune “I’ve Got No Strings” subtly plays. We see Banner shirtless struggling to his feet in the snow; Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver; a flash of Andy Serkis’s character, Hulk and Black Widow in a tender moment; and Hulk tossing a car at the Hulkbuster; “This is the end, the end of the path I started us,” Stark says, to which Black Widow replys that everything ends.
The footage ends with Ultron saying “There are no strings on me” (which is a line from “I’ve Got No Strings”) and this brings up the movie’s title card. As it seems the footage is over, we see Captain America’s shield cracked in half as Tony Stark looks on in horror as we see all of his Avengers team members laying on the ground injured, possibly dead.