Sony has been making good use of the 2013 International Comic-Con in San Diego to trump-up interest in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, before rival studios Warner Bros/DC and Marvel attempt to steal away the superhero movie spotlight. As such, we’ve been able to provide new intriguing tidbits of information about the film over the past few days. That includes the importance of certain antagonists – being introduced in the Spider-Man sequel – and the recent issues that’ve come to light, concerning how Shailene Woodley may/may not debut as Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man 3 (after she was cut from the second movie).

The lineup at the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Comic-Con panel included producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, along with director Marc Webb and cast member Andrew Garfield; not to mention, new additions Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) and Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained). Moderation duties were handled by Ralph Garman (Family Guy).

Here is an official synopsis for the film:

In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.

The panel started off with a goofy video introduction, which showed Spider-Man as he broke into the San Diego convention center, followed by Garfield in costume (and character) as Spidey, when he first joined his peers on the stage in Hall H. After a couple minutes of comical riffing by Garfield/Spider-Man, the audience was treated to a video message from TASM2 costar Emma Stone – referred to as “hot” by her boyfriend Spidey – as she is preoccupied right now with filming on Woody Allen’s next project, overseas in France. However, that clip was interrupted by footage with Jamie Foxx as Electro, offering his own creepy rendition of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”

Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon (pre-Electro transformation)

Foxx came on stage after that, followed by Spidey’s comment “I like Django” and Foxx’s reply (“I like the way you die, boy”). Garfield in costume and Foxx played around for a few minutes – the former started talking about Foxx’s role in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday while the latter beat-boxed for a moment – before the Oscar-winner Foxx spoke more seriously about Electro’s complex nature and how, before his transformation, Max Dillon has been betrayed by love, his family and even his work (in addition to being the first black man with a combover in a movie, the actor insisted).

Webb then spoke for a bit, about how liberating it was to no longer be constrained to an origin story in the Amazing Spider-Man sequel. Finally, it was time for the Comic-Con trailer, which was by and large composed of complete footage – save for a few shots with incomplete effects (left in storyboard form) – despite principal photography having wrapped but three weeks earlier.

The trailer started with a truck racing through downtown New York City (flanked by police cars), with Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich / The Rhino driving. We then got some voiceover from Spidey (“You know what I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!”), before the webslinger showed up onscreen and quickly defeats Aleksei, leaving him tied up, unconscious and pantsed, with nearby crowds of New Yorkers cheering Spidey on. Spliced between all that is the scene where Spidey first encounters Max Dillon on the street, referring to the starstruck (but sad-sack) electricity expert by his first name and calling him his eyes and ears on the street.

This offers some background for a later sequence, teasing the birth of Electro: Max gets electrocuted in a building that includes immense wiring, electrical tubing and a tank full of electric eels (what is that place?).

The sizzle reel included an extended comedy bit – where Pete gets in trouble with Aunt May (Sally Field) for getting red and blue all over the whites in the laundry – followed by glimpses of more serious moments, like Harry Osborn (DeHaan) speaking to his sickly father Norman (Chris Cooper) on his deathbed. We also got brief glimpses at potentially spoiler-y details, like the sign reading “Ravencroft Institute” (okay, that’s not really a spoiler) and a close-up of someone’s feet as they shed scraps of green skin-like material (could it be Harry undergoing the Green Goblin transformation process?).

To close all that off, there were glimpses at scenes like Peter in a graveyard, Pete and Gwen kissing, and Gwen standing aside Max Dillon in an elevator at Oscorp tower. Eventually, the trailer culminated in a sequence where Electro unleashes his wrath and devastating full-power on New York City. That was followed by one last shot: Spider-Man catching a flying police car, saving a nearby officer in the process during the Rhino’s truck rampage.

As for the subsequent Q&A session with fans:

  • Garfield defended Tobey Maguire’s performance as Peter Parker, telling a critical fan “He is a sex machine, no one can take that away from him” (tongue partially in cheek, of course).
  • One fan – a gay Asian-American – ask Garfield about using his fame to address controversial issues (a la his off-hand comments about Peter Parker experimenting with his sexuality one day). Garfield offered a compassionate and thoughtful response, talking about how Spider-Man stands for everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation (that got a big cheer from the audience).
  • Another fan – dressed in a Spider-Man costume – asked Garfield how he connects with Peter/Spider-Man personally. The actor replied by saying he thinks about them as different people: Spidey being the older brother, while Peter’s the younger brother (ie. the one who must alway live in the shadow of the former).
  • DeHaan said that Harry’s experiences before the film include getting sent away to boarding school at a young age, after having befriended Pete as a child. Harry’s attempts to reconcile his relationship with Pete, his father Norman and those around them will be explored in Amazing Spider-Man 2.
  • Webb once again suggested that the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book continuity has provided much inspiration for his films so far.
  • Garfield on meeting Stan Lee for the first time: “It’s like being in a room with Mickey Mouse.”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014.