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MONDAY, JULY 24, 2006


SAN DIEGO -- Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige says the time is right for Marvel to start producing its own films -- and the studio seems to be off and running in that endeavor.

At Marvel Studios' panel on Saturday, Feige -- joined by studiomates Avi Arad and Ari Arad -- introduced directors of three of Marvel's first independently produced films: Ant-Man's Edgar Wright, The Incredible Hulk's Louis Leterrier and Iron Man's Jon Favreau.

"We feel we have a pretty good handle on how to make these movies and make them ourselves," Feige said.

"We have some amazing talent around us," Arad said.

In addition to the three featured films at the panel, upcoming projects in Marvel's slate will include Captain America, Nick Fury and Thor.

Here's a breakdown of the films, by the directors, that were featured at the panel.


Wright actually pitched Ant-Man before writing Shaun of the Dead, when he had a meeting with Artisan, which then was in charge of the rights. He said he was a fan of the character through some Marvel Premiere stories by John Byrne.

"I really want to stress that this really isn't a spoof," Wright said. "It's more of an action/adventure, really."

Wright said he wants to bring the character back to his Tales to Astonish days.

Wright said that the film will feature both Henry Pym and Scott Lang and is "a hand-off between the two characters," with Pym during the Cold War and then flashing forward to Lang, who steals the suit. It's a story of Lang's journey into becoming a hero.

Asked about casting and the possible use of Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, Wright said, "It's very early, so I wouldn't want to say one way or the other."

Instead of showing how scary it is to be small, Wright said he wanted to show how "bad-ass" it is.


* Letterier said he was hesitant to follow Ang Lee and didn't want to do it at first, but was convinced by Marvel that there could be another Hulk movie.

"I've known these guys for a while," Letterier said of the Marvel Studios executives. "We've been running around each other like dogs in love."

* Letterier said he did several storyboards and conceptual art because he had never worked with a super-hero before.

"The things he put together were some of the best sequences we had ever seen," Feige said. "And what he has planned for the aspects of the Hulk -- the Hulk as hero -- I think is going to make you guys very, very excited."

"The idea behind this movie is the make the Hulk the action/adventure we're all dying for," Ari Arad said. He added that it will feel a little bit more like the television series, with the Hulk on the run.

* The Abomination will be the villain, and General Ross will return.

"Super-heroes, for me, they work when you feel your hero is in real jeopardy," Letterier said. "Spider-Man is amazing movie for that because you really feel could be done in at any moment.

"I want to see that. We needed it. So the Abomination is a mega-bad Hulk. He's going to be an amazing creature."

* Leterrier also said there will be no poodles, a reference to the first film. "Promise," he said.

* Leterrier said production will start in April.

* Asked about crossovers, Feige said it's not a coincidence that the characters Marvel is working on might some day end up being The Avengers.

"That possibility excites all of us," he said. "Now that it's all under one roof, it could be done."

He added that Marvel's pre-existing pipeline with other studios will probably "continue for a long time to come."

* "The good thing about No. 2s is that you don't have to deal with origin," Leterrier said. "You don't waste 45 minutes of your time explaining the origin and then cram the whole plot of the movie into a 45-minute sequence.

"It's not so much the origin that's interesting about the Hulk. It's the stuggle, Banner's hate for this monster. We'll explore that much more. It's more about how you deal with yourself being a monster."

* Leterrier said he wasn't sure how much the Hulk will talk. "But I just met Lou Ferrigno and he said he'll do the voice," he added, drawing laughs and cheers.

* Leterrier described the movie as "Frankenstein meets Jekyll and Hyde with a little bit of Edward Scissorhands."


* Favreau announced that The Mandarin will be his villain. To read more about his thought process on The Mandarin, CLICK HERE.

* Favreau noted that Foggy Nelson, who in played in 2003's Daredevil, did represent Tony Stark from time to time. "I'm not going to say anything's going to happen," Favreau said. "And that's if I don't play Iron Man," he added to laughs.

* Favreau said until now the technology hasn't been available to present Iron Man doing the things that Iron Man does in the comics.

* Favreau on his MySpace page about the film: "At first it was interesting. But it became like drinking out of a fire hydrant."

* Favreau introduced Iron Man artist Adi Granov, of whom he said everybody told him should be involved. Granov was the artist of teaser image displayed by Marvel.

Favreau noted it wasn't the final design and was "kind of mysterious," but the that he wanted to do something or Comic-Con, even two years out from the film's release.

"We wanted to show that our hearts are in the right place and that Adi's vision is definitely going to be explored," Favreau said. "We have other artists generating a lot of different ideas. As our all know, what's wonderful about Iron Man is that there are a lot of different suits, different looks. But it points us in the direction our intention is."

* Granov said the fact that Favreau is looking to the comics is a good sign for the film.

* Favreau on the armor: "There's sort of a Robocop type quality that his character has, especially with the Granov design, which feels very tech-based and not organic. I like the idea of mass and weight and power, and not martial-arts Power Ranger fighting."

* Favreau said he's one of the toughest critics when it comes to CGI -- "It takes me out of the movie most of the time. I feel like I'm watching somebody play a video game -- but he looks at a projects like King Kong, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly where it's succesfully done.

"There's one tech-based suit that breaks this movie out of reality," he said. "So we're trying to strike a balance with the tone. It's not a fantasy film, but then again it's Tony Stark, so it has to have a little James Bond, too."

* Favreau said he's trying to make the film real so "that the only 'buy' you have to make is a flying Iron Man suit."

* Asked if he'll deal with Tony's alcoholism, Favreau said Iron Man is a character "who is on the world stage" and for now that's enough to deal with. He said that later, when Tony deals with those stresses, the drinking issue can come up.

"When you think about it, it didn't come up in the book for decades," he noted.

* Favreau said Tony will start with the gray armor. "If he builds it in captivity, he can't build a Lamborghini in a cave," he said. "And then I think we go through a few different sets, eventually moving to the gold and red and it will evolve into a weapons platform."

* About a Daredevil sequel, Avi Arad said, "In time, we hope to get back to it. We loved the movie and were very proud of it."

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