Making a surprise appearance during the Hall H "Sneak Peak" panel, Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi took the stage with Neil Druckmann, the writer of The Last of Us video game. Raimi announced that he was attached to produce a film of the aforementioned game, while Druckmann would be penning the script. They also announced that they were in talks with Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams to play one of the film's two leads.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel Studios showed off an extended preview of their most anticipated 2015 release, the sequel to Marvel's Avengers. The four-minute-long trailer featured the Avengers relaxing after a party, each attempting to lift Thor's hammer Mjolnir [Captain America the only one being even slightly successful (Foreshadowing alert!!!)]. Their revelry is interrupted when Tony Stark's Ultron prototype stumbles into the room and makes a strange indictment. Then about a bajillion robots come bursting through the walls behind him. The rest of the trailer features scenes of war, of Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor battling--you guessed it--a berserk Hulk, of newcomers Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and of the Avengers seemingly defeated and Cap's shield shattered. Also, we got a glimpse of a highly evolved Ultron, complete with... lips? (I'm still not sure how I feel about the lips.) All in all, this was the highlight of the con, featuring the franchise's signature mix of character drama, apocalyptic action, and acerbic wit.
Marvel displayed Ant-Man's helmet and unveiled the film's poster at the con this year. The poster shows a full-figure Ant-Man exhibiting his shrinking abilities through a series of images and profiles of stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. In addition, Entertainment Weekly brought us news that former writer-director Edgar Wright had been communicating with new director Peyton Reed about the film. So all may not be lost.
Star Wars Episode VII
During Kevin Smith's annual panel, he went into a lengthy monologue about a visit to Star Wars director J.J. Abrams' England set. After saying that he had been reduced to tears of joy while standing on the Millennium Falcon, Smith assured Star Wars fans that Abrams would not disappoint. Later in the panel, as he took fan questions, Smith said that if he could only see one more movie in his lifetime, it would be Abrams' Episode VII.
Kevin Smith had his own film news to announce during his Hall H panel. The horror-comedy Tusk, which originated as a podcast discussion, is finally ready to be loosed upon an unsuspecting world. Smith unveiled the first trailer for Tusk, a movie about a podcaster who seeks out strange people to discuss on his show. When he finds an old shipwreck survivor in Canada, he is lured into a trap that will "definitely" see him taken captive and transformed into a walrus-man. The trailer was equal parts horrific and hilarious, and the direction displayed looks like some of the best Smith has committed to film in his long career.
Mad Max: Fury Road
During their Hall H panel, Warner Bros. finally gave us a first look at Mad Max: Fury Road, and--dear god--does it look fantastic. The film stars Tom Hardy as the titular character and Charlize Theron as the character that is ostensibly the film's actual hero, Imperator Furiosa. The trailer shows Max being enslaved by a group of Road Warrior-esque desert-punks and Furiosa coming to his rescue. All sorts of vehicle-related violence and mayhem ensue. The trailer looked to even be an improvement upon George Miller's lauded Mad Max trilogy. Suffice it to say, I'm excited for this one.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Comic book writer Mark Millar moderated a panel on his own new film project, Kingsman: The Secret Service. The panel included stars Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth and a special message from actor Mark Hammill and director Matthew Vaughn. The footage shown elucidated the roles of Jackson, who plays a lisping evil mastermind of the Bond-film caliber, and Firth, who plays a dapper Steed-like super-spy taking a former colleague's son under his wing. Kingsman looks action-packed and humorous and is hopefully better than Vaughn's previous Millar adaptations.
Maybe the most surprising first look of the con, Everly is a film about a captive woman (played by Selma Hayek) fortifying an apartment against wave after wave of deadly Yakuza gangsters and assassins. Shot entirely within the apartment, the film looks ingenious, ultra-violent, and hysterical. Director Joe Lynch and Hayek compared her character's arc to that of a woman's real struggles in a patriarchal world. Let's see some patriarchs get blown away!
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner panel showcased several pieces of footage, including a new extended trailer and a scene in which the antagonistic spider-creatures, the Grievers, take center stage. I'm surprised by how interested I am in this film. Everything I've seen of it so far has been taut, expertly-shot, and brilliantly acted. During the panel, star Dylan O'Brien let slip a major spoiler, but don't fret. I won't ruin it for you here. And if you've read James Dashner's book, I suppose it's not much of a spoiler anyway. Director Wes Ball and Dashner also unveiled designs for the world of the next film, The Scorch Trials.
Book of Life
The Book of Life panel was comprised of writer-director Jorge Gutierrez, producer Guillermo del Toro, stars Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, and Channing Tatum, and a surprise appearance by Biz Markie who led the over-six-thousand in attendance in a stirring rendition of his song "You Got What I Need." Gutierrez talked about the ways in which Mexican and US pop culture influenced his animated film about love and life and death, and Applegate, Perlman, and Tatum spoke to the many charms of voice acting. They released an extended trailer that was absolutely gorgeous... and funny... and heartbreaking. When the panel concluded, del Toro and Perlman left the stage to chants of "Hellboy 3! Hellboy 3!"
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Honestly, this almost didn't make the cut. Warner Bros. unveiled their Batman v. Superman teaser at Hall H this year, and there's not much to it, which I've come to expect from Zack Snyder films in general. The teaser is all style, no substance, showing a The Dark Knight Returns-armored Batman uncovering a Batsignal and shining its light on a figure, Superman, flying in the skies above. But if there's one thing Snyder does well it's style, and this teaser sent everyone in Hall H wild. It's important to note that Snyder's previous teaser for Man of Steel was renowned for making Comic Con attendees weep, and we all know how that turned out. I will remain only cautiously optimistic. Also revealed was the film's Wonder Woman, which looks pretty true to the character's current incarnation in DC's New 52.