Photo: 2022 Comic Con Wrap Up
Marvel’s Next Phase
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Marvel is going through a phase. The Disney-owned colossus of content control once again ruled the news cycle of the annual San Diego Comic-Con festival, held in person this year for the first time in three years. Marvel was incredibly busy and had its formidable cast, directors, and executives on hand to announce what will serve as the latest entries in the MCU as they continue along their current Phase 4 and launch into their upcoming Phases 5 and 6, continuing their reign as the most prolific studio in history.
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The second most-featured thing in the Marvel panel, aside from Kevin Feige being number one, was very heavy emotions. The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3’ panel was the first huge event for the studio, featuring appearances from writer and director James Gunn and stars like Chris Pratt and Karen Gillan. The much-anticipated closer to the three-film series brought some tears to the eyes of its cast. Pratt and Gunn shared a long embrace onstage, with the whole cast and crew feeling an overwhelming sense of achievement and sadness at the prospect that this will be the last ‘Guardians’ film from a franchise that launched 8 years ago.
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The success of the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ film helped shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe and proved to the company that they could take chances on lesser-known characters and comic books. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ will also feature Will Poulter being added to the cast in the role of Adam Warlock, and Gunn promised the film will be more mature and introspective as opposed to the lighthearted and comedic earlier entries in the series.
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Next up for Marvel was the unveiling of the Tatiana Maslany-starring ‘She Hulk: Attorney at Law’ trailer and panel. Maslany, who showcased her massive talents in the series ‘Orphan Black,’ has joined the MCU as the titular character who, as we learn in the trailer, will be trying to balance her life as a lawyer and a Hulk by learning from her cousin, “The Hulk”/Bruce Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo. The series, to stream on Disney+, is set to be a fun origin story for her character as she confronts a villain played by Tim Roth. Piggybacking off of the ‘She Hulk’ trailer and the news was another major announcement regarding a lawyer character that the long-rumored return of the series ‘Daredevil’ will be returning and streaming on Disney+ with Charlie Cox reprising his role from the former Netflix series.
Finally was the long-awaited teaser trailer for the highly-anticipated ‘Black Panther’ sequel, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.’ Director Ryan Coogler was on hand to announce the film and shared the panel with the film’s cast, which of course was notably missing the tragically-deceased Chadwick Boseman. Coogler and Boseman’s fellow cast mates recounted touching tributes and memories of Boseman from the filming and release of the first film, and paid homage to how he will always live on as the fierce and brave warrior leader T’Challa.
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Needless to say, Marvel and Disney had an incredibly busy and impressive showing at the convention. With a few more additional projects announced as part of Phases 5 and 6, Marvel will continue to be heavily featured in our lives until at least 2025 at this point.
Comic Con – D.C. Brings the Noise
Not to continue to kick them when they are already very very down, but the “DCEU” (DC Extended Universe) did its best to try to outshine their Marvel counterparts at the weekend convention but came up short. While their panel did feature two high-profile trailers and announcements, they are seemingly still not up for the challenge of really competing with Marvel on the same stage.
The panel kicked off for D.C. with the trailer and accompanying discussion around the Zachary Levi-starring ‘Shazam!’ sequel, ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods.’ Levi’s enthusiasm and energetic personality were on full display during the panel as he introduced the new trailer for the film, set to be released right around Christmas time 2022. The first ‘Shazam!’ was a welcome and surprising hit for D.C., which had faltered previously in its introduction to its extended universe with entries like ‘Superman vs. Batman’ and the very disappointing ‘Justice League.’ D.C. has started to find its footing again with the most recent release of ‘The Batman,’ and the Shazam sequel should hopefully be able to build on that success.
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D.C.’s next highly-anticipated moment came with the short teaser trailer of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-starring ‘Black Adam,’ a film it feels like we have been waiting on for years now at this point. With the news of The Rock having signed on to play the character years ago, this teaser did surprise some fans and left them excited for the newest entry into the D.C. universe. Having a huge star such as The Rock join their cinematic universe should help D.C. build some momentum in the right direction of trying to get a foothold in part of Marvel’s air space. D.C. appears content with leaning into these more niche characters from their universe as a way to almost distance themselves from the flops from their past. It will be interesting to see how these new entries are received and if they can get their universe back on track.
Also announced at the D.C panel was a nice slate of new animated films for D.C., which has carved out a nice niche in this category. With HBO Max playing host, old and new fans alike have been treated to some amazing animated content from the company in the way of Batman, Superman, and Harley Quinn series and full-length feature films. D.C. also took the opportunity to announce new projects like the upcoming video game ‘Gotham Knights’ and featured trailers of different characters you can play in the upcoming game.
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Wrapping It All Up
Full disclosure, I was in San Diego for the weekend of Comic-Con but unfortunately did not attend. However, seeing all the different fans and convention goers dressed up and cosplaying was such an awesome treat. It’s an incredible convention that brings together all kinds of people from all different walks of life who have a strong affinity for their characters and content.
Seeing the energy and excitement of everyone walking around, shuffling from panel to panel in full costumes really made me appreciate the event and the in-personess of it all. As content devourers, we are in for some amazing series and films in the next few years, and I for one cannot wait to plug in and enjoy.
By Mark Raymond
Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.
I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”
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Mark Raymond is a writer and screenwriter who believes himself to be the only person desiring to work in film who originated in New York and currently resides in Los Angeles. Mark was inspired to write from a young age and has always desired to connect and uplift others through his work, as those that motivated him did for him. Mark feels very strongly that the world could use a lot more positivity and optimism, and is therefore very aligned to the mission of The Hollywood Insider to not spread hate or gossip, but instead to build each other up and shine a positive light on anyone bold enough to put their heart and soul into a piece of art. In his writing, Mark aims to use his signature wit to highlight the severity of the more serious and pressing issues of our time, to shine a beacon of light through the darkness. A devoted ally to all, he seeks to inspire and use his platform to give a voice to the voiceless and let his readers know that while everything may not be great right now, one day it can and will be.