Marvel Studios officially unveiled the beginning of the third phase of its ever-expanding cinematic universe at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim on Saturday, offering first looks at the films “Doctor Strange” and “Captain America: Civil War.”
“Doctor Strange” – which Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige promised will be “as weird as any movie we’ve made” – hasn’t yet begun shooting. So in lieu of footage, Feige showed off a reel of concept art that gave a sense of the film’s epic sweep and sci-fi-fantasy look, featuring glimpses of otherworldly alternate dimensions along with flying cars, fight scenes and a look at Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) being tutored by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).
Narrating the reel, director Scott Derrickson said “Doctor Strange” will chronicle how, in the wake of a crippling car accident, Cumberbatch’s neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange eventually becomes the Sorcerer Supreme, who protects Earth from mystical and magical threats.
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“He’s going on a quest looking for healing, a way to recover,” Derrickson said. “He meets the Ancient One, who begins helping him on the path of healing, and that turns into much more.”
In a taped greeting to fans, Cumberbatch promised the film will feature "girls, cars, explosions and a bit of astral projecting into other dimensions ... the usual stuff."
Feige then brought out two of the stars of “Captain America: Civil War,” Anthony Mackie (Falcon) and Chris Evans (Captain America) and cued up a reel of early footage from the film, which is currently in production. “It’s so good! I love it!” said Evans, who had flown in from the film’s set in Germany and was greeted with an enthusiastic standing ovation by the crowd.
The footage kicked off with an action sequence in which Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon – with an assist from a drone – fight Crossbones (Frank Grillo) on a crowded city street.
The reel then cut to General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) telling Captain America, “The world owes you an unpayable debt. But while a great many people see you as a hero, there are some who prefer the word vigilante. People are afraid.”
“This job – we try to save as many as we can,” Cap says. “Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody.”
The footage promised a film as densely packed with Marvel heroes as an “Avengers” movie, if not more – though in this case they are often battling against one another rather than alongside each other.
Though the newly cast Spider-Man, Tom Holland, was nowhere to be seen, the “Civil War" reel offered glimpses of Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther and Iron Man, who tells Cap, “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth."
Oh, and a new guy named Ant-Man. In the closing scene of the footage, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang meets Captain America for the first time and fans out on him awkwardly.
“I know you know a lot of super cool people, so thinks for thanking of me," he stammers. “Er, thanks for thinking of me.”