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Everything we learned about Marvel’s cinematic universe from San Diego Comic-Con

marvel cinematic universe avengers 4
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Another San Diego Comic-Con is in the rearview mirror, and just like in years past, the show provided an impressive barrage of pop-culture news over the last four days — particularly when it comes to Marvel Studios’ rapidly expanding cinematic universe.

With projects in various stages of development for the big screen, television, and streaming services like Netflix, Marvel gave its fans a lot to digest over the course of Comic-Con. That is why it seemed like a good idea to take a step back, take a deep breath, and go over what we learned about the various moving parts at play in the MCU in the near (and far) future.

So, to accompany our archive of San Diego Comic-Con news, here is a more focused look at what the event delivered for fans of Marvel’s cinematic universe.

The big-screen outlook

The next film set in Marvel’s movie-verse hitting theaters is November’s Thor: Ragnarok and the studio released a brand new trailer for the upcoming feature, which sends Chris Hemsworth’s Thor to a far-off planet where he is forced to become a gladiator for the entertainment of Jeff Goldblum’s gaming-obsessed alien character known as The Grandmaster.

"Thor: Ragnarok" Official Trailer

As the trailer indicates, he also runs into Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) while he is there and apparently, the two get into some deep philosophical discussions about the best analogy for their partnership.

The big news coming out of the trailer was Hulk’s extended dialogue and the return of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who will apparently be up to his old tricks again when he is not fighting side by side with Thor. Marvel also debuted a new Thor: Ragnarok poster.

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Next up in the Marvel movie calendar is Black Panther, which hits theaters in February 2018. Marvel brought some new footage from the much-anticipated film to its Saturday panel and although the clip didn not find its way online (yet), attendees’ accounts describe some pretty intense action scenes.

According to Collider, the Black Panther footage featured a scene in which a casino stakeout goes horribly wrong. After Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and his team attempt to assist CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) in apprehending weapons smuggler Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) during an illegal deal, one of Black Panther’s team gets a little too aggressive, resulting in an all-out brawl. It appears that Black Panther and his personal guard have the upper hand until Klaue surprises everyone with a fake arm that transforms into a powerful laser cannon. The footage then ran through a montage of action sequences form the film featuring Boseman’s Black Panther.

A new Black Panther poster also made its debut during the panel.

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The next big team-up event, Avengers: Infinity War was also well-represented at Comic-Con, and the studio screened the footage that was previously shown at Disney’s D23 Expo a week earlier but has yet to officially find its way online.

Deadline had the following description of the footage:

“[The Infinity War footage] shows the Guardians of the Galaxy flying through what appears to be a tarnished universe. Then the short-haired Ragnarok version of Thor smacks into the windshield. They resuscitate him inside the ship and are pulled into an adventure where Thanos (Josh Brolin) is decimating the galaxy — literally pulling the sun out of the sky and smashing it to the ground. We see Doctor Strange fighting in a fiery chaos and Chris Pratt’s Starlord tumbling to the ground. In sum, it’s a total apocalypse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where all the protagonists are fighting for their lives.”

Marvel had a new poster for Avengers: Infinity War, too. (Note Captain America’s beard and Black Widow’s white hair in the image. That’s not a coloring mistake.)

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Next on the calendar is the July 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, which was also featured in some big news the studio shared with fans.

The studio announced that Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Minds) and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) had joined the cast of that film. Pfeiffer will play Janet Van Dyne, the wife of Michael Douglas’ character, Hank Pym, and the original Wasp. Fishburne will play Dr. Bill Foster, an assistant to Hank Pym in Marvel Comics lore who eventually gains size-changing abilities of his own.

As expected, a new Ant Man and the Wasp poster also debuted during the convention, but this time it was courtesy of artist Andy Park.

Official Ant-Man & the Wasp @Comic_Con poster I had the pleasure of painting! Or should I say Giant-Man & Wasp!! #PaulRudd @EvangelineLilly

— Andy Park-SDCC (@andyparkart) July 23, 2017

Finally, Marvel even had some news about March 2019’s Captain Marvel, starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson as the powerful superhero Carol Danvers. The actress was officially confirmed at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con and this year’s show brought news that the film would be set in the 1990s and that it would introduce the shapeshifting alien Skrulls to Marvel’s cinematic universe.

There has been some uncertainty as to whether Marvel would be able to use the infamous aliens in any of their movies, given their association with the Fantastic Four — a set of characters licensed to 20th Century Fox — but apparently, they are now available for Marvel to use.

It was also confirmed that Samuel Jackson would reprise his role as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel and the ’90s setting for the film might actually allow him to go without his eyepatch this time around.

The small-screen outlook

Marvel’s television team got in on the Comic-Con headline action by releasing a new trailer for The Inhumans television series during a panel event for the show.

Marvel’s Inhumans IMAX® Trailer #2

That series will premiere September 29 on ABC and also be set in Marvel’s cinematic universe. after its eight-episode first season concludes, the fifth season of the network’s other MCU-set series, Agents of SHIELD, will premiere in January 2018.

The streaming-screen outlook

The upcoming team-up miniseries The Defenders that will bring together the main characters of the four Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) was the primary focus of the joint Marvel-Netflix panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

Attendees were treated to the first episode of The Defenders a full month before it premieres on Netflix, but we also received a new trailer for the much-anticipated show that offers quite a bit more footage of the team in action — both fighting and bickering with each other.

Marvel’s The Defenders | Official Trailer 2 [HD] | Netflix

Digital Trends attended a press conference for The Defenders that offered a few more details about the dynamic between the characters in the series, as well as Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious villain in the series.

With The Punisher solo series also premiering later this year, star Jon Bernthal made a surprise appearance at the panel and introduced a clip from the series.

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“In the clip, fans see The Punisher, whose real name is Frank Castle, in a flashback teaching his daughter how to play guitar,” Variety describes the footage. “It then snaps back to the present, with Castle driving a souped-up car as he engages in a driving shootout with a biker. After successfully shooting the man off his motorcycle, Castle circles back and runs the man over.”

“The scene then jumps to El Paso, Texas, where a cartel boss is heading into a club,” the description continues. “Castle observes him through a window via a sniper rifle scope. As the cartel boss gets frisky with two women, Castle kills him from a considerable distance with the rifle. Finally, he corners a hood named Mickey O’Hare in a bathroom at JFK Airport in New York. When O’Hare asks if killing him will bring him any closure, Castle replies no before strangling O’Hare with his own necktie.”

Finally, Marvel and Netflix confirmed plans for a second season of Iron Fist to go into production at some point down the road. There is no word yet on when season 2 will premiere, but it will likely follow the second season of Luke Cage, which is currently filming and expected to premiere in 2018, and the second season of Jessica Jones, which is also filming right now. The third season of Daredevil is also expected to begin filming soon.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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