After Warner Bros. wowed the crowd in Hall H with footage from their DC Comics films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the next dose of superhero fair that audiences in the massive hall would get comes from 20th Century Fox. With Marvel Studios choosing to forego Hall H in favor of Disney’s D23 expo in four weeks’ time, the pressure was on Fox to deliver something substantive for fans of the Marvel franchises that they’ll be turning into films over the next year. In addition to other highlighted Fox releases, their Marvel-based films were all scheduled to appear during their Hall H presentation: this August’s Fantastic Four directed by Josh Trank, February’s Deadpool directed by Tim Miller, and May’s X-Men: Apocalypse directed by Bryan Singer.
The panel, hosted by Chris Hardwick, began by showing a new trailer for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Director Wes Ball and cast members Rosa Salazar, Dylan O’Brien, Giancarlo Esposito, and the book’s original author James Dasher all came out to talk about how things have changed for the characters since the previous movie, with the director pointing out that he wants to make the film feel completely different from the first film while still taking place immediately after it. They also showed footage from the upcoming Victor Frankenstein, with cast members James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, along with director Paul McGuigan.
Footage was shown, and it gave the impression that it will be a bit more humorous than previous Frankenstein adaptations, almost showing a buddy relationship between Victor (McAvoy) and Igor (Radcliffe). It was clear that Radcliffe and McAvoy had a good rapport, as they were making a lot of jokes at each other’s expense with big smiles on their faces.
From there, it was time to have a look at Fantastic Four, this August’s reboot of the film series inspired by Marvel Comics’ “First Family.” On hand right from the start are director Josh Trank, screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg, along with the entire main cast: Miles Teller (Reed Richards), Kate Mara (Sue Storm), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm), Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm) and Toby Kebell (Doom). Trank remarked how this was his first time back at Comic-Con since he was a teenager, which then led into he and Kinberg talking about how the film came together. In comparison to what’s come before, they called it more “grounded,” “dramatic,” and “character-driven.” Trank also remarked that in some ways, he saw this film as a continuation of his work on Chronicle.
The cast also talked about their approaches to playing these characters, with Mara saying that she really liked the theme of family that’s prevalent in the story. She also says that this film will be “darker” than people are used to in other superhero films. Jordan also talked about a need to respect the characters’ histories, while still trying to present them in a new way. Trank added that while the film is something of an origin story, it’s also a precursor, in many ways, to who they were before they became the iconic characters they are. Trank added that they just finished the film, and then showed its final trailer to the crowd.
It was then time for the Merc With a Mouth to have his time in the spotlight, as Deadpool was the next film of focus in the panel. The section for this film started with a “Masterpiece Theatre” style opening, with a voiceover from Ryan Reynolds in-character, saying, “From the studio who inexplicably sewed his mouth shut…”
After the footage, the lights came back on, and Ryan Reynolds was standing on the stage to raucous applause. Reynolds is joined by other cast members like TJ Miller (Weasel), Ed Skrein (Ajax), Gina Carano (Angel Dust), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), and Moreno Baccarin (Vanessa/Copycat). Reynolds and Miller bring their humor to the forefront, with Reynolds joking about the hard-R rating, “No matter what the rating is, babies will love this.” Baccarin also talked about being a love interest with a bad ass flavor, saying that Copycat, “gives him lip, but not necessarily the talking kind.” Hildebrand also said that her character is a “Colossus trainee.” Maybe the X-Man will appear!
Ed Skrein then talked about playing Ajax, who will be the film’s primary villain. Carano talked about Angel Dust, who will serve a role similar to Ajax’s henchwoman. In comparison with the Fantastic Four section of the panel, this one was a lot lighter, with the cast members clearly having a good time, and Ryan Reynolds riffing on anything he could sink his teeth into. They then showed some early footage from the film. It shows Wade breaking the news of his immense amount of cancer to his girlfriend, to which she tells him, “Don’t do anything rash.” That’s when he ends up at the workshop that comics fans know ultimately turns Wade Wilson into Deadpool.
They also showed an extended version of the test footage that was shown a couple of years ago at Comic-Con, with one major difference: Wade is thrown into a car by Colossus. Other footage even showed Wade throwing a not-so-subtle jab at another movie when he yells, “Please don’t give me a suit that’s green! And animated!” The bottom line of the footage is this: its hard, bloody, and very worthy of an R-rating all-around.
It was then time for X-Men: Apocalypse to have its time on the stage, and the segment was started by the screening of a sizzle reel of all the previous X-Men films. It even showed audition footage from Hugh Jackman in 1999, which was then followed by Jackman’s appearance on-stage in Hall H. He wanted to thank the fans, and confirms that the next tie he plays Wolverine will be the last. He teased that the film could end up being an adaptation of “Old Man Logan,” the comic book story by writer Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. He then introduced director Bryan Singer.
Jackman and Singer talked between each other for a few minutes, about the beginning of the whole journey of the X-Men films, and how Singer told the young actor that playing Wolverine would change his life forever. Simon Kinberg came out, and then Singer led out other cast members: Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Lucas Till (Havoc), Lana Condor (Jubilee), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Olivia Munn (Psylocke), Ben Hardy (Angel), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), Angela Shipp (Storm), James McAvoy (Professor X), and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique). So many actors are out that they don’t know where to put Hugh Jackman!
Singer shared that Apocalypse takes place 10 years after the events of Days of Future Past, and then showed footage without visual effects. Jean Grey sees a future where the world is engulfed in a nuclear explosion, and audiences got their first look at Oscar Isaac in full costume as Apocalypse. Comics enthusiast will likely be very pleased with how the character looks on film. The footage also hinted at a cult that worships mutants, and really pushed the angle of Apocalypse’s ability to control through charisma and manipulation. Professor X works diligently in Cerebro, as Apocalypse seems to be tightening his grip on the mutants around him.
After the footage, the cast talked about their various approaches to their roles. Sophie Turner looks at Famke Janssen’s portrayal of Jean from the original films as “something to look up to,” while James McAvoy had some good-natured ribbing for Patrick Stewart. Host Chris Hardwick had some amusing words for Olivia Munn, who used to be a part of the entertainment press for her time as G4. “This is like the mothership calling me home,” she joked. After some more back and forth with the cast, they showed the footage one more time.
Although that looked like it was it, there were more surprises. They then brought out the full casts of all of the superhero movies in an attempt to get the largest on-stage gathering of superhero movie stars at Comic-Con, which then led to the arrival of Stan Lee himself. Channing Tatum then arrived, in a Gambit shirt, to join the assembled group of actors.
Overall, it seems that 20th Century Fox is trying to make solid use of their Marvel licenses, but we’ll find out for sure when the respective films hit theaters in August, February, and May. For more from Comic-Con, keep it locked on GeekNation!
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