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Marvel Comics news: "Avengers: Age of Ultron", "Ant-Man", and "Star Wars" comics

Lots of robot smashing to come!
Lots of robot smashing to come!
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Tons of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" posters and media in Hall H!

The famous "Hall H" at the San Diego Comic Con this year was dominated by Marvel Studios as they rolled out heavy promotion for next summer's sequel to "The Avengers" as well as their upcoming schedule of films in the near and distant future! Among this was a gigantic poster for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" due out May 1st, 2015 which features production art for not only Ultron (James Spader), but the assembled heroes Capt. America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (James Renner), Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Vision (Paul Bettany, who was previous the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S.). In addition, props for the film revealed some mangled Iron Man armor, Cap's motorcycle, and even his broken shield.

In addition to continues news about "Ant-Man" (see below) which is still due to debut on July 17th, 2015, Marvel Studios also confirmed some of the currently mysterious list of nine (!) upcoming Marvel Studios films from 2015 to 2019. An untitled third "Captain America" film is still set for May 6th, 2016 (and due for a clash with "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice") while a sequel for "Guardians of the Galaxy" has been ambitiously set for July 28th, 2017. One can imagine that Marvel Studios imagines it will make a mint in another week or so. Will it prove to be a wise projection or putting all their eggs in one basket?

"Ant-Man" reveals poster, characters, and loses more actors!

In less than a year, one of Marvel Studios' riskiest and most maligned films sets to appear on the big screen, the Payton Reed (taking over for Edgar Wright) directed "Ant-Man". Entertainment Weekly revealed the first official poster, which shows not only the full Ant-Man costume, but images of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and Michael Douglas as the elder, retired, Hank Pym. Further cast revelations reveal that this is perhaps the one comic book franchise that the studio is showing no fear with depicting different from the original comics' roots.

Corey Stoll will portray the villain, Darren Cross, who will wear the guise of Yellowjacket in the film. In the comics, Darren Cross is the short lived cousin of William Cross, better known as Crossfire, who lived and died in Marvel Premiere #47-48, circa 1979. Yellowjacket, in contrast, was one of Hank Pym's crazier alter egos and was the mantle he wore in the famous tale where he hit his wife. In larger knews, Evangeline Lilly has been cast as Hope Van Dyne (nee Hope Pym), the daughter of the elder Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne (who may or may not appear). In the comics, Hope was one of the "MC2" line of characters set in the future, of which "Spider-Girl" was the most well known. The difficulty in starting off "Ant-Man" with the second incarnation of the hero was that it meant skipping over Janet, the first heroine of the "Avengers" who actually named the team in their first comic book adventure.

However, there is another bit of news which is a sign of the slapdash pre-production edits. Previous attached actors Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerard and Kevin Weisman have all left the production. While Wilson left citing "scheduling issues", Gerard and Weisman's characters were written out of the latest rewrite of the script (of which Edgar Wright may only be credited as writing in name only). While "Guardians of the Galaxy" may work as a quirky space comic, it will remain to be seen if this awkward "Ant-Man" will be a hit for the studio as well.

"Gladiator" in talks to play the Sorceror Supreme?

Joaquin Phoenix, best known as the villain in "Gladiator", is reportedly in talks to star as Dr. Stephen Strange in a big screen take on the classic "Doctor Strange" series. It has been a poorly kept secret that Marvel Studios has been keen on a take on Marvel's top wizard, especially due to the envey that parent company Disney has for the success of the "Harry Potter" franchise at Warner Brothers. One can expect a set date for this in the near future.

Marvel announces three "Star Wars" comics in 2015!

The "Star Wars" license officially leaves Dark Horse Comics on January 1st, 2015, and it seems Marvel Comics is wasting no time capitalizing on another huge franchise that their corporate overlord has absorbed. January will see the start of a new "Star Wars" ongoing set after the destruction of the Death Star in episode IV, as written by Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday (who will no doubt run behind after two or three issues and need to be replaced by a fill in artist). By February, the series will spawn an obvious spin off in "Star Wars: Darth Vader" by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, as well as a five issue "Star Wars: Princess Leia" mini series by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson. Considering that Dark Horse capitalized on this franchise for over a decade, one expects Marvel sees this as either a fresh line of top sellers, if not an easy fix to their struggling mid-list.

More new Marvel Comics!

Starting in December will be "S.H.I.E.L.D.", a comic intended to capitlize off the success of the ABC TV show of the same name. It will be written by the increasingly busy Mark Waid and handled by artists such as Carlos Pacheco, Alan Davis and Chris Sprouse. The series will star Phil Coulson and Nick Fury Jr. as well as official Marvel Comics versions of the cast from the show. In addition, Wolverine's death won't stop "Weapon X" from launching, as well as Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land kicking off a new "Spider-Woman" series on the hells of the upcoming "Spider-Verse" crossover.