Marvel stuns fans with gi­ant Avengers gath­er­ing

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Marvel brought thou­sands of fans to their feet on Satur­day as it as­sem­bled a stel­lar panel of su­per­heroes to pre­view “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” at Dis­ney’s D23 con­ven­tion. The movie, which comes out next year, unites the char­ac­ters from all 16 films of the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse-and most of the ac­tors who play them took the stage at the star-stud­ded fan event in Ana­heim, south­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The packed 7,000-ca­pac­ity con­ven­tion hall cheered as Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruf­falo, Don Chea­dle and Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch were in­tro­duced one by one.

Tom Hol­land, Beni­cio del Toro, El­iz­a­beth Olsen, Paul Bet­tany, An­thony Mackie, Karen Gil­lan, Dave Bautista, Pom Kle­men­ti­eff and Chad­wick Bose­man and co-di­rec­tor Joe Russo were also part of the star-stud­ded panel. “I’ve got to ad­mit, th­ese guys have not been to­gether on stage for a long time, and even I find my­self geek­ing out,” said Marvel Stu­dios chief Kevin Feige be­fore in­tro­duc­ing world­first “In­fin­ity Wars” teaser footage. The movie opens in May 2018 — the 10th an­niver­sary of the US re­lease of the orig­i­nal Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse movie, “Iron Man.”

“It’s funny to think Kevin and I fig­ured all of this out at Randy’s Donuts shoot­ing ‘Iron Man 2,’” quipped Downey, who plays the tit­u­lar su­per­hero. The panel was part of a pre­sen­ta­tion of the next two years of live-ac­tion movies from Dis­ney, which owns Marvel and Lu­cas­film.

Lu­cas­film’s “Star Wars” panel has be­come one of the most talked-about pan­els at the bi­en­nial D23. But here were no new an­nounce­ments or footage this time around. The 2018 Han Solo spin-off movie, which fired direc­tors Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller in fa­vor of Os­car-win­ning Ron Howard last month, was largely glossed over, with no cast ap­pear­ances or footage. But Rian John­son, who directed the forth­com­ing eighth in­stall­ment of the main se­ries, “The Last Jedi,” de­lighted fans by in­tro­duc­ing much of the cast, in­clud­ing Mark Hamill, Daisy Ri­d­ley, John Boyega and Gwen­do­line Christie.

John­son in­tro­duced a be­hind-the-scenes fea­turette and in­ter­viewed the cast on their ex­pe­ri­ences film­ing in Pinewood Stu­dios, near Lon­don, and on Ire­land’s west coast. “When I read the script there were so many un­ex­pected el­e­ments, which is great in a ‘Star Wars’ film,” said Hamill, who came on last to a rapt stand­ing ova­tion. “It’s get­ting harder and harder to bring new things to the ta­ble and this is a real game changer.” An­other high­light was a sec­tion of­fer­ing news and footage from the stu­dio’s up­com­ing an­i­ma­tion to live-ac­tion slate, in­clud­ing re­makes of “The Lion King,” Mu­lan,” “Aladdin” and “Dumbo.” The crowd was FEA­TURES on its feet again af­ter see­ing a stun­ning first clip from “The Lion King,” cli­max­ing in the iconic mo­ment when Rafiki in­tro­duces new­born Simba to the an­i­mals of the sa­van­nah.

“This is a story that be­longs to ev­ery­one who grew up with the orig­i­nal film,” said Jon Favreau, who directed the movie, due to hit the­aters in July 2019. “I wanted to demon­strate that we could be re­spect­ful of the source ma­te­rial while bring­ing it to life us­ing new tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies.” Dis­ney an­nounced new­comer Mena Massoud in the tit­u­lar role for Guy Ritchie’s “Aladdin,” which re­boots the 1992 an­i­mated clas­sic, and Will Smith as the ge­nie. Dis­ney also re­vealed that pro­duc­tion is un­der­way for the live-ac­tion reimag­in­ing of its 1941 an­i­mated clas­sic “Dumbo,” slated for re­lease in March 2019.

The movie is be­ing directed by Tim Bur­ton (“Alice in Won­der­land,” “Char­lie and the Cho­co­late Fac­tory”) and stars Colin Far­rell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green. Bur­ton, who is start­ing pro­duc­tion in Eng­land, ad­dressed the D23 crowd via a video clip in which he de­scribed “Dumbo” as “one of my fa­vorite of the Dis­ney movies.” Dis­ney also show­cased “Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” star­ring Misty Copeland, and “A Wrin­kle in Time,” an epic ad­ven­ture directed by Ava DuVer­nay and star­ring Oprah Win­frey, Reese Wither­spoon, Mindy Kal­ing, Chris Pine and debu­tante Storm Reid, all of whom ap­peared on­stage.

Bri­tish ac­tress Emily Blunt talked about play­ing the prac­ti­cally-per­fect nanny in “Mary Pop­pins Re­turns,” a se­quel to the iconic 1964 orig­i­nal that hits the­aters on De­cem­ber 25 next year. “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie An­drews but carve out a new space for my­self. And we were very loyal to the books,” said Blunt. — AFP

(From left) Ac­tors Dave Bautista, Karen Gil­lan, Pom Kle­men­ti­eff, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey Jr, pro­ducer Kevin Feige, and ac­tors Mark Ruf­falo, Tom Hol­land, El­iz­a­beth Olsen, Paul Bet­tany, and Don Chea­dle of Avengers: In­fin­ity War took part in the Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios live ac­tion pre­sen­ta­tion at Dis­ney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Ana­heim, Calif. — AFP

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