Today, on the second day of Disney's D23 fan expo event, the film division hosted the The Walt Disney Studios Live Action Films panel which began with Disney's fantasy line-up including , followed by Lucasfilm's presentation on Star Wars: The Last Jedi (avoiding Han Solo talk, mind you) before closing with a big finish: Marvel Studios.
The panel began with Marvel Studios head honcho and super producer Kevin Feige taking the stage and talking about the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to be celebrated in 2018. And with it, he introduced thew new Marvel Studios (or Marvel Stud10s) logo for the occasion. And then came out the star of Avengers: Infinity War, Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos.
Thanos' full-body design was revealed on the floor yesterday, alongside four statues mysteriously covered up (assume it's his henchmen, the Black Order / Childen of Thanos) and we know from visiting sets of various Marvel productions over the last few years that Thanos is the star of the movie. It's what Kevin told us himself last April when checking out the production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 so it's no surprise he was the first on stage. Brolin was noticeably ripped, with short hair, showing the success of his strict workout regiment he's undergoing to play Cable in Fox's Deadpool 2.
This is where the fun began since we all know Avengers: Infinity War pits the entire MCU (the film side, anyway) against the big bad so the on-stage gimmick here was seeing how many heroes it'd take to challenge Thanos. Paul Bettany (Vision) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) first came on stage, followed by some members of the Guardians of the Galaxy roster. As Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Dave Bautista (Drax) came on stage - emphasizing the concept that the Avengers will meet the Guardians in this movie finally - Brolin let out a hilarious comment "Drax is shit!"
That's a big nod to the comics where Drax the Destroyer was reconstructed for the sole purpose of hunting and killing Thanos.
Clearly, these heroes are not enough, so more Avengers came out: Anthony Mackie (Falcon) and Don Cheadle (War Machine) are next, give each other a hug) and then Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther). Wow! This is a nice tease to who we can expect may be the main "New Avengers" come Phase 4 of the MCU.
And then fan-fave Mark Ruffalo came on stage, as the audience in Hall D23 exploded. And fittingly, Ruffalo said he brought a friend - Chris Hemsworth steps out. If only Chris Evans and Chris Pratt where there we could have had them meet up for a photo with Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine to full the promise of the Disney Chris Quadrilogy. Next time.
We aren't done yet. Robert Downey Jr. is the last Avenger to take the stage and he steps right up to Josh Brolin for a mighty faceoff, symbolic of the beginning and of the MCU as we know it. The three "Phases" of the MCU all culminate in Avengers 3 and 4, beginning with RDJ's Iron Man and ending (in its current form) with the Thanos conflict. And just maybe, Phase 3 will also end Tony Stark's arc. Seems appropriate.
Robert Downey Jr. got the honor then of introducting the Russos (brother-directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers 4) but only Joe was there since Anthony was still shooting in Atlanta (presumably with cast members not present at D23). RDJ says "let's see it" and then the first teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War plans. And it's awesome. Read about what was shown here.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019