It just wouldn’t be Comic-Con without Marvel. New York Comic Con welcomed Marvel Studios to present footage from Joss Whedon‘s “The Avengers,” with comedian Chris Hardwick hosting a panel of Marvel head Kevin Feige and actors Colbie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddelston, Chris Evans and surprise guest Mark Ruffalo.
The group screened the trailer again as well as new footage, with a sample of the material seen at the D23 presentation earlier this year plus a complete scene with Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson. In the footage, Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, hiding out in a foreign country, follows a little girl with a “lost father” to a shack on the outskirts of town. It’s there where he’s met by Johansson’s Black Widow, who fills him in on the Tesseract, and how his particular skill set is needed to prevent “the destruction of the world.” The nerds in the audience will note that it was revealed the gamma radiation that altered Banner’s DNA is also found in the Tesseract, a unique wrinkle not located in the comics, where the Tesseract is called the Cosmic Cube. There’s also a note that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been monitoring Banner, and that he hasn’t had an outbreak as the Hulk for two years, placing the ‘Avengers’ timeline at least two years after the close of Marvel’s other films chronologically.
“This is going to be a more mature Banner who understands what’s going on a little bit under the hood, so to speak. I definitely had to Ruffalize it.” He then followed a request to not film the footage with a “Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry” quip. The Ruffalo scene followed and, removed from context, it seemed pretty sluggish and visually inert, a verbal chess match between Ruffalo and Johansson with an outcome immediately obvious to anyone who‘s ever seen a movie. Ruffalo’s Banner performance also seems a bit less distinct than Eric Bana’s tortured nerd, or Edward Norton’s paranoid intellectual, though he did bare a noticeable resemblance to Bill Bixby.
Feige was asked about a post-credits stinger for “The Avengers” as there was in the previous Marvel movies, and responded with, “It’s a nice tradition, and I like traditions, so I think we’ll keep that up.” When asked about Fox property “Wolverine” popping up in a Marvel movie, specifically “Captain America 2,” Feige denied the possibility, but teased, “But you never know someday.”
Ruffalo noted his friendship with Edward Norton when he quoted Norton as believing the Hulk would be this generation’s Hamlet, to be played by multiple actors. He added one caveat, referring to his motion capture work and bragging, “Because of modern technology, I am the only actor who gets to play both Bruce Banner and the Hulk.”
The hit of the panel was clearly Tom Hiddleston, who fielded the majority of questions with an enthusiastic glee. “Loki is not a happy man,” he clarified, “and anyone who saw ‘Thor‘ realized [at the end] he’s a little confused about his place in the world. He’s a Loki who now knows who he is, and he’s truly self-possessed. And he’s one mean fella.” Women screamed with a startling intensity in his direction. Tom Hiddleston: the thinking nerd girl’s dream man.
“We’re in preproduction on a movie called ’Iron Man 3’ right now. We’ve got a great director called Shane Black who’s taking the reins,” Feige said, discussing the possibility of future Marvel movies, specifically intergalactic offerings “Inhumans” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “It’s the first of what we refer to Phase Two of this Avengers Assemble talk, which will lead to an ‘Avengers 2.’ Those movies will be a part of that.”