At the end of a really, really, really long day, Marvel didn’t disappoint, bringing down the walls of Hall H with tons of new footage, cast updates and two cast panels. As usual, it was a great way to end the day, and the assured studio made sure to make its fans happy!

Things kicked off in earnest with a funny, fast clip of Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd and Michael Pena recapping every single MCU film. Starting with Iron Man, the two used an assortment of photos (with Rudd repeatedly bringing up one of Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin) to get us up to speed of everything so far. The two were hilarious, throwing in lots of Marvel in-jokes, one photo of Chris Evans as Johnny Storm and an excitement that couldn’t be contained. At the end of it, Rudd stared straight into the camera and said something to the effect of, “and that’s pretty much all you need to know to play Janet Van Dyne!”, with the camera switching to Michelle Pfeiffer as the audience roared with applause. Pfeiffer says something to the effect of, “I don’t know, sounds like a sausage fest”, with Evangeline Lily coming into frame for and embrace, telling the actress that she’s glad Pfeiffer is here.

After the bombshell casting announcement, tons of Ant-Man and the Wasp footage and concept art was shown. We got Ant-Man going both big and small, a photo of him in costume with his daughter riding on his back, a chase sequence with vans changing sizes, Wasp in what looked like polished test footage, flying around, and even illustrations of Hank Pym, old, in what looks like his own Ant-Man suit. The entire thing ended with the quiet view of a city street. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a giant Ant-Man comes out silently between two buildings, holding up his finger for a “shhh” in what played out like a comical game of hide and seek. The footage appeared fun, proving that there’s still a lot to explore with these characters. Shortly after, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige came out to announce that Laurence Fishburne will play Bill Foster, the original Giant Man!

After Feige was caught of guard and presented with a Comic-Con Ink Pot Award, he went straight into some story details for Captain Marvel. We got to see concept illustrations of star Brie Larson as the character, as well as her comic accurate outfit. The outfit looks exactly like it is in the comics, but carries a tactical texture to it, like Captain America’s suit. We then got two slides of Captain Marvel in action, one including one where she’s flying and another where she appears to be fighting blue Kree (like Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy)! It’s here that Feige revealed that the film’s villains will be the MCU’s first appearance of the shape-shifting Skulls! Also, the film will take place in 1990, occurring before Iron Man and co-staring Nick Fury, who still has two eyes! It was an amazing revelation, showing that Marvel is really breaking their own boundaries and essentially inserting a flash back film between their two Infinity War films. You also have to wonder if Secret Invasion is Marvel’s plan after Infinity War!!???? Whoaaa.

After touching upon two films in early stages of pre-production, Feige called up the cast and crew of Thor: Ragnarok, featuring director Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson and Rachel House, Waititi’s good luck charm!

Choice character rundowns from the cast themselves:

-Ruffalo says that Hulk refuses to turn back to Banner, he loves being The Grandmaster’s gladiator champion on Skaar. Since he’s been Hulk for so long, he’s can speak a bit now as well.

– Goldblum mentions that The Grandmaster is in fact, The Collector’s (Benicio del Toro) brother, and that they’re both elders, two of the oldest beings in the universe. The Grandmaster rules over Skaar and has developed gladiator games which define it.

– Thompson chimes in that her character is an elite Asgardian warrior who has an arrangement with The Grandmaster, bringing him things for cash.

We then got two scenes. In the first, Thor is on a chair, which seems to be moving on a holographic belt. All around him, is the history of Skaar, with an overly enthusiastic voice (think obnoxious flight attendant) explaining how the planet came to be, while also ego stroking The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum’s character). From there, the hologram dissipates and Thor turns out to be in the same room as The Grandmaster. Thompson’s Valkyrie is making a deal for delivering Thor as a new contestant for The Grandmaster’s games. The Grandmaster sizes Thor up, is excited to gain a new warrior and pays Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) a generous finder’s fee. Next up, Thor is thrown into his cell, full of passed out warriors and a rock-like creature named Korg. Korg, voiced by Waititi, looks blue and giant and formidable, but talks with a delicate, high pitched voice played for laughs. Kong befriends Thor and explains The Gladiator games to Thor.

The big takeaway from the footage, is that it is 100% unadulterated Waititi. Just as Guardians of the Galaxy carried James Gunn’s singular voice, the tone, rhythm, dialogue, the comedic timing of Ragnarok is familiar to those who have seen Waititi’s previous films. It gives Thor a fresh slant, and shows that Marvel has really let the director run with his wildest dreams. The two scenes screened led to the rocking new trailer that you can view here:

Next, Feige brought out director of Black Panther, Ryan Coogler, along with cast Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Winston Duke and Letitia Wright.

Choice tidbits from the cast and crew:

-The character is really important to Coogler, who grew up a massive comic book fan and was glad to finally find a hero that represented him, although he devoured comics regardless of what the hero’s ethnicity was.

– What Coogler likes best about the character, is that he is someone who gets his power from the people and history around him, much like African culture, which figures heavily into the film.

-Gurira loves her character because of how driven she is for the love of her people and nation

-Nyong’o’s character is a spy for Wakanda, who goes to the rest of the world and reports back, because Wakanda has to stay on top of things and always know what’s happening around it.

The footage included a brief sequence and a new trailer which won’t be released any time soon. It begins with Boseman’s T’Challa entering a lavish casino with guards Nyong’o and Gurira. The three are dressed slick, in a suit and dresses, this is obviously an upscale establishment. It become apparent that they are on a mission. Andy Serkis’ Klaue enters the room to broker a deal involving stolen vibranium with Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross. Things go south, a fight breaks out. The entire scene feels like a Bond action sequence but with more speed and ferocity to it. T’Challa, his guards and Klaue are going at it very fast and with a heightened sense of reality. Klaue’s secret weapon is a brand new robotic arm (after his real arm was cut off in Age of Ultron), which opens up to reveal some sort of giant laser-type gun. After he points the weapon and takes a shot at T’Challa, the clip turns into a new trailer. T’Challa’s dress suit transforms (it appears to dissolve) into his Black Panther suit and he goes on a chase, lots of weapons, fights and characters are shown quickly throughout, but the biggest takeaway is that Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger has a gold black panther suit! It looks really slick, and he does battle with T’Challa – the two Black Panther’s wrestle and fall into a circular pit in the floor at one moment. The entire trailer is scored to Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA”.

The trailer, naturally earned a standing ovation at Hall H. The cast hadn’t seen it yet, they all got together for a group hug, there were tears involved, and the emotion was infectious. It was truly a triumphant moment.

After that, Feige tried to hurry off the stage, saying thanks, that’s all we got. Of course, Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Ruffalo and Boseman came out to stop him, joined by Infinity War director Joe Russo, who said something to the effect of, “There’s no way we’re letting you leave without showing you Infinity War footage. The already compromised crowd erupted again.

The trailer is the same one that was described from D23, but, I have to say, seeing it in person, the descriptions don’t do justice. Thor literally drops in on the Guardians. Peter Parker’s hairs stand up (most likely him developing Spidey sense). Spider-Man and Iron Man are with the Guardians in space. Loki appears to give the Tesseract to one of Thanos’ Black Order. Black Widow has got platinum blonde hair. Steve Rogers emerges from the shadows with an all black suit, longer hair and a beard. Bucky prepares for battle alongside the Wakandan army. Doctor Strange is conjuring platforms for Star-Lord to jump on. Scarlet Witch is on Earth, fighting her own problems, and there’s a shot of Vision seemingly behind bars? Half of the locales look alien, so you know these characters have finally left Earth. At one point, Thanos makes his grand entrance, with a montage of the Avengers seemingly dispatched. With only two stones in the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos pulls a distant moon closer to orbit, shatters it and hurtles its debris towards the screen. As you can tell, the teaser is as wild at it can get, and we’ll have to wait until next May to see how Marvel pulls this off.

Even as a teaser, the Infinity War clip has to have some of the most insane imagery ever put on film. It takes things truly next level, on a scale that can only be matched by The Avengers’ print counterparts. Seeing most of what I saw on screen, these scenes felt ripped right from the page, seemingly unfilmable sequences now living and breathing with colorful, massive scale. I have no doubts that this film will divide the fanbase, with some general audiences thinking the studio has gone too far – I’m curious to see how most will accept such hardcore footage. But then again, I remember that the reason why people are so invested in the Marvel films, is they’ve found a way to make fascinating character work in an entertaining way, so I’m hoping for the best.

All in all, this year’s Marvel panel wasn’t as theatrical as the last, but the information and footage more than made up for it. This is how you blow the doors off of Hall H – Marvel gave the fans what they wanted, but still left plenty for us to speculate and anticipate!

New posters below (click each to enlarge):

SG