They are: Robert Downey Jr. — Tony Stark; Clark Gregg — Agent Coulson; Scarlett Johansson — Black Widow; Chris Hemsworth — Thor; Chris Evans — Captain America; Samuel L. Jackson — Nick Fury; Jeremy Renner — Hawkeye; Mark Ruffalo — Hulk. Director Joss Whedon and Marvel head Kevin Feige are up there, too.
Marvel killed it at Comic Con this year. They literally slaughtered the competition. After unveiling new footage of Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor (in 3D), the official ensemble cast of The Avengers was announced. The biggest surprises? Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is set in stone as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, The Kids Are Alright) replaces Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Marvel head Kevin Feige on the Ruffalo decision: “Ruffalo is Joss Whedon’s Banner. He is the Banner that is going to be in that [Bill] Bixby type, wants to help people and is somewhat ashamed of what he goes through but isn’t as strong and angry in his Banner form as he is in his Hulk form, which is something we haven’t really seen in the past films. .. Something like how he was portrayed in the Ultimates, a guy who just wants to be left alone and wear his glasses and do his science.” Feige also shares that he “hope[s] to develop a standalone franchise” for Renner’s Hawkeye post-Avengers.
During the panel Downey Jr. worked the crowd, naturally. He invoked the success of Inception, saying it was ”just about the most ambitious movie I’ve ever seen.” He continued, “And then thought wait a goddamn second. Marvel Studios is going to take all of their top super heros and they’re gonna put them all together in The Avengers? That’s the most ambitious movie I’ve ever seen.” He concluded, “If we’re going to make a movie this ambitious [then] the most important thing is that we had to find a person to helm it to get your [the fans'] approval”. Enter Joss Whedon: “I have had a dream all my life and it was not this good…This cast is more than I could have ever of dreamed of working with. And I am going to blow it…I need your love, I need your support.” Joss, you got it.
The Avengers is slated for a May 4, 2011 release. Whet your appetite with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger on May 6, 2011 and July 22, 2011 respectively. Bonus! Look in the gallery below for newly released mini-one-sheets featuring Thor and Cap concept art. Peek after the break to watch your 2011 Avengers assemble at Comic Con in video form.
At this year’s Comic Con in San Diego, a panal called “Visionaires” brought my two favorite people together: J.J. Abrams (MI: III, Cloverfield, Star Trek, Lost, Fringe) & Joss Whedon (Serenity, Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse). The panel, conducted by Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jenson, is literally packed with all sorts of intriguing information. Jenson starts things off with the question, “When did you guys decide you wanted to be storytellers?” Whedon and Abrams are also asked about their takes on comic books, 3D movies, the current and future states of television (including what it wants and supports, the waning of serialized story format), and the outlook for new media (shooting for the web, web content). They also delve into their respective past and upcoming projects. Whedon makes it official that he is directing Marvel’s The Avengers and briefly elaborates on the direction he plans to take the movie; he also talks about his now-on-hold horror flick Cabin in the Woods and what’s up with the impending Dr. Horrible sequel. Abrams shares an anecdote surrounding his super-secret Super 8 movie (which is set to start production this September) and the collaboration with producer Steven Speilberg. During the 3D movie discussion, Abrams confirmed that Super 8 will not be shot for 3D; he pans 3D and that it adds an unnecessary barrier between the viewer and film. Although Joss is “totally into” watching 3D flicks, he hopes that his upcoming Cabin in the Woods doesn’t get the streoscopic treatment. While going back and forth about the state of the serialized story format for TV, Abrams spilled that his upcoming NBC show Undercovers will be self-contained episodes (meaning you can miss a few episodes and still know what’s going on), but there will be an overall mythology to keep week-to-week viewers satisfied. Speaking about mythology, Abrams also shares his thoughts on the final episode of Lost (spoiler: he loved it). Whedon continues the conversation by bringing up the demise of FOX’s Dollhouse. All in all, it’s a great watch and interesting look into two very successful film and TV artists that shouldn’t be missed. Head over to EW to access the 5-part stream. Or click here to watch an abridged interview.