There was a ton of big stuff – including first looks at "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" – but the biggest news is that we now know the reason the "Avengers" team will be reassembling in 2015.
Joss Whedon concluded the hour-long panel by introducing a teaser trailer showing what appeared to be Iron Man's mask getting deformed by unseen forces. Then the familiar voices from "Marvel's the Avengers" begin talking about how they aren't a team, they're a "time bomb," and the like. But as we pan-out we see the mask is not Iron Man at all. And just as we're wondering who it is, a graphic flashes across the screen: "Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron."
Boom! Lights up. The crowd goes wild. And every geek around is shaking in their seats.
Why you ask? Because Ultron opens up a multi-universe full of possibility.
"The Age of Ultron" is a Marvel Comics ten-issue run written earlier this year (partially by Neil Gaiman), which centers around the robot Ultron, and his attempt to take over the world by hanging out in the future and using his creation, the android Vision, as a conduit of destruction in the present. Got it?
Since it's the comics, there's a ton of back story to know too, dating back to Avengers #54 in 1968. Ultron was created by Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, aka the star (and name) of the movie Marvel is releasing in November, 2015. Pym uses his own brain waves and adamantium (the stuff that makes Wolverine tick) to create the robot.
Basically Ultron has daddy issues, becomes self-aware, rebels against his maker, then brainwashes Pym to forget about making him in the first place. Then Ultron tries to take over the universe.
Empire Magazine tweeted after the panel that they had spoken with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who said the title is "borrowed" from the comic book run, but "bears no relation to it.See director Edgar Wright tell us how 'Ant-Man' fits into the Marvel universe:
Which would make sense, since the "The Age of Ultron" run takes place after Ultron and his Sentinels have already conquered the world. And we'd want to see that, right?
Plus, "Avengers 2" comes out in May 2015, before "Ant-Man," so it would certainly make one wonder how Ultron fits into that picture, since he would have been destroying earth six months prior.
Also complicating the matter is that "The Age of Ultron" run features Wolverine and the Fantastic Four – properties of 20th Century Fox – as well as Spider-Man – a property of Sony. Though Andrew Garfield did say he'd love to join the Avengers, as it's been portrayed plenty in the comics.
And what about the Thanos tease at the end of the first "Avengers"? What was that for, if not to tease "Avengers 2"? And why, during the most excellent "Guardians of the Galaxy" panel, would Djimon Hounsou say his Korath character would be a great "ally" to Thanos? How does "GOTG" fit into this greater Marvel Universe?
It's too mind-boggling-ly big!
But at least we know a title. And one villain – a scary-dangerous one at that. At the end of the day, we know the story will prominently feature Ultron, who has a long rich history in the comics, and Marvel can go all over the universal map with Ultron's possibilities. They could even focus primarily on Vision, a future Avenger who kinda looks like Vin Diesel in a green suit and red make-up.
And speaking of casting, would a human play Ultron or would Marvel make him entirely CG?
Whichever direction Marvel decides to go for "Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron," they won't have any trouble filling up Hall H at next year's Comic-Con to talk about it. When we'll still be wondering what the heck the movie's about, and still be dieing to see it.