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October 22, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014

Avengers unleash Ultron footage at Comic-Con

Ant-Man cast members Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd pose at a press line at Comic-Con in San Diego.

Ant-Man cast revealed, as The Vampire Diaries brings Season 6 teasers

SAN DIEGO — Several members of The Avengers descended on Comic-Con last weekend to debut the first footage from the upcoming superhero sequel. Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. were on hand with other cast members from The Avengers: Age of Ultron, including Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders. “It just keeps getting better,” Downey told the boisterous crowd of 6,500 assembled in the San Diego Convention Center. “I’m so excited we’re all here.”

The footage kicked off with the Marvel superhero team comically attempting to pick up Thor’s mighty hammer off a coffee table. “If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?” Tony Stark wondered while trying to wield Thor’s hammer — both with and without one of his Iron Man gauntlets. The teaser quickly launched into a barrage of action-packed imagery, including Hulk battling a giant robot resembling Iron Man and Thor grabbing Stark by the throat. The footage ended with a bleak scene of all the Avengers fallen with a haunting close up of Captain America’s shield split down the middle.

Jackson, who most recently starred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Evans, took a moment during the celebration to appreciate the fans. “It makes me feel like going out and making movies for the rest of you,” he said of coming to Comic-Con. “We make movies because we want to entertain you guys, and I make movies because I want to see myself in them.”

Tiny superhero

The Ant-Man cast is set. Paul Rudd was previously revealed as the tiny title superhero. But at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel Saturday, Evangeline Lilly confirmed she’ll play Hope Pym. Michael Douglas plays her dad, Dr. Hank Pym. And Corey Stoll is set to play the villain Darren Cross, also known as Yellowjacket.

Rudd called the role “a mind-bender.” Douglas said he’d long looked at Marvel films “from afar with tremendous envy” and was excited to join the comic-based world.

Director Peyton Reed, who took over for Edgar Wright after he exited over creative issues, has been coming to Comic-Con for 20 years and been an Ant-Man fan for even longer.

Rudd confessed in an interview after the panel that Wright’s departure was “a bit intense” for the cast. “It undoubtedly hit some speed bumps,” Rudd said. “I’m just thrilled that we’re at where we’re at now. ... And I know it will continue to evolve.” Lilly, who’d been keeping her casting a secret and denying it in Comic-Con interviews, said Wright “had been the guy to really rope us in. And his vision and his excitement and his passion and his ability as a filmmaker was part of the appeal, originally.”

The cast still wants to honour his vision, she said. “He really constructed the foundation and the backbone of what we are going to work from,” she said. “And we just want to do right by him and make him proud.”

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said production on the film, due in theatres next summer, is set to begin in two weeks. Even though shooting hasn’t begun, filmmakers offered a peek at the film’s look.

A bite of the future

Season 5 of The CW’s The Vampire Diaries ended with characters Damon and Bonnie (played by Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham) being separated from their loved ones as they enter a mysterious, purgatory-like dimension.

The cast returned to Comic-Con on Saturday where they played a video of Somerhalder and Graham wondering about their fate off-screen, now that their characters are trapped in oblivion. Are they off the show? Will they get a spin-off?

Somerhalder and Graham along with Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Matt Davis and showrunner Julie Plec attended the panel on Saturday to tease the new season premiering on October 6.

The Vampire Diaries is about vampires, werewolves, doppelgangers, witches and a few humans living in and around the fictional town of Mystic Falls. It’s loosely based on a book series. A few panel spoilers:

• Season 6 picks up about four months after the events of the finale.

• Davis’ character Alaric, back from the dead and a full-time cast member again, is now a college professor.

• Plec doesn’t see Dobrev’s Elena turning to her former flame Stefan Salvatore for anything other than friendship, now that she’s separated from Damon. “Right now the love between Damon and Elena is so strong,” she said.

Herald with AP

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