Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige showed up at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim today, bringing a first look at next year's Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War. Those two comic book movies will kick off Marvel's Phase 3 plan for its cinematic universe, introducing new characters and bringing back a slew of familiar ones.
Feige said that Doctor Strange doesn't start filming until November, but he sated the D23 crowd with a pre-production peek at the magic-fueled movie. Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as Dr. Stephen Strange in the film, wasn't in attendance, but appeared in pre-recorded video form to talk about his excitement for the character.
Cumberbatch promised girls, explosions and all the trans-dimensional action required of a Doctor Strange movie.
Feige said Marvel's been working on bringing Doctor Strange to film "since before the inception" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He then showed dozens of pieces of concept art in a D23-exclusive video.
Director Scott Derrickson narrated the footage, talking about Strange's origins: He's one of the world's top neurosurgeons, but his hands are seriously injured in a car accident. On a journey to recover, Strange travels to distant lands, eventually meeting The Ancient One — played by Tilda Swinton — who helps heal Strange, but exposes him to so much more.
The concept art Marvel showed was a mix of sleek, modern day city settings that looks consistent with other Marvel Studios movies. We saw Strange and The Ancient One casting mystical spells; concepts of Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor in costume, as Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo, respectively; and the weird, alien dimensions that the characters will travel through in the 2016 film. The concept art looked faithful to the Marvel comic book series, but grounded in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was some intriguing, physics defying stuff on display, with cities twisted and transformed in scenes that looked straight out of Inception, with cars flying through the air in strange helix shapes.
Feige said Doctor Strange will be "as satisfying, and as weird" as any Marvel movie that's been made.
After the Strange stuff, Feige introduced Captain America stars Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans. They brought with them footage of Captain America: Civil War, Cap's third stand-alone film (joking that they'd learned iMovie on the flight to put it together). As the new footage showed, however, Captain America will share his screentime with plenty of his fellow Avengers.
The Civil War footage started in what appeared to be the fictional nation of Wakanda, with Falcon, Captain America and Black Widow tracking a vehicle, thanks to a remote Falcon drone deployed by Mackie's character. That vehicle, it turned out, was being driven by Hydra soldiers and housed big bad guy Crossbones, Frank Grillo's character from The Winter Soldier. A big brawl between Cap and Crossbones ensued, with Falcon and Black Widow joining in on the (beautifully choreographed) action.
More footage that played a lot like a trailer followed, showing Cap's Avengers allies — and sometime rivals — Iron Man, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch. We saw Cap confronting his onetime friend Bucky, aka The Winter Soldier, who exchanged words with Cap about his past, then appeared to be cooperating in a later shot. The trailer also gave us our first glimpse of Black Panther, who flexed out metal claws from his fingertips. The footage hinted at the Avengers splintering into different groups, with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers trading barbs, and Hawkeye and Black Widow fighting, with Barton questioning Natasha if they were still friends.
William Hurt returned as General Thunderbolt Ross, reprising his role from Marvel's The Incredible Hulk. Ross talks about the country owing Captain America a debt, but that he's also seen by some as a vigilante.
The highlight of the footage was Falcon meeting up with Cap and Scarlet Witch, and introducing him to Paul Rudd's Ant-Man. Rudd played the starstruck, low-level superhero perfectly, shaking Steve Rogers' hand for an uncomfortably long time and marveling at Captain America's size and physique. He fawned, turning to Scarlet Witch and saying, "I know you. You're great too," and saying to the Avengers leader, "You know a lot of super people, so thinks for thanking of me." Rudd was used perfectly as a relatable everyman in the scene, even better than he'd been portrayed in Ant-Man.
The footage did not, however, offer a peek at Spider-Man, who's slated to make an appearance in Civil War.
Marvel Studios has dated Captain America: Civil War for May 6, 2016 and Doctor Strange for Nov. 4, 2016.