Not many thought that Captain America: The First Avenger would make much of a showing at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. How could it? It had only been filming for a couple weeks! At most, it would be a nice “Hi. How are you? Remember we’re coming out next year and that Chris Evans will be in The Avengers.” Instead, we were treated to a teaser trailer right out the gate and then they showed us some footage. For a film that’s only been shooting a couple weeks, they still wanted to show these fans something.
Hit the jump to find out what went down at the panel for Captain America: The First Avenger.
Before director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman) and stars Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving took the stage, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige wanted to show off an incredibly brief teaser trailer for the film. It was mostly World War II footage and radio broadcasts super-imposed over Captain America’s shield. But at the end, the teaser closed in on Evans in his Captain America outfit and turning towards the camera. Then the title came up on the screen, the crowd went nuts, then there was a brief shot of Cap throwing his shield at the camera and the crowd went even more nuts. Feige later told us that the shot of Evans wearing the suit in the teaser was only from a costume test. However, he told us that the final costume would be unequivocally Captain America, but still into the 1940s where the entire film takes place.
After the teaser, Johnston explained that they’re going for a film that doesn’t feel like a war movie made in 1942. What they want is the chance to tell Captain America’s origin story. He said that he was a fan of Ed Brubaker’s take on Captain America and that he was borrowing visually from Brubaker’s comics.
When asked about the challenge of playing Captain America, he noted that there was pressure and he had only started filming five days ago. Also, for anyone who thought that Evans was too small or lean to play Captain America, it looked like his biceps were about to burst out of his shirt today. Chris later said that the challenge was the same with any film: making the character come to life. And he’s aware that some people aren’t completely sold on him as Captain America, but notes that if the movie is good, then no one will have a problem with him (and he’s totally right). He also told us that he was happy to do an origin story and that he’s glad he gets to take the character further because of The Avengers.
Weaving told us a little about playing the film’s villain, Red Skull. He said that to help work on his German accent, he listened to Werner Herzog and another person whose name I didn’t quite catch. He also said that he’s been working with the Red Skull mask and that it’s a series of light-weight pieces on his face. When he was asked to do his German voice, he said he probably shouldn’t. There was obviously some bewilderment at why he wouldn’t do something so simple.
Then Feige tells us that they’ve brought us some very rough footage and that the timestamp is even still on it. The audience (obviously) doesn’t care and wants to see it. So they roll the clip and we see Weaving come in as Johann Schmidt, who would eventually become “Red Skull”. He’s leading a team of Nazi soldiers as they storm a catacomb and open a sarcophagus to reveal a skeleton holding what appears to be the Cosmic Cube. Schmidt says it was “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.” He then walks around the catacomb and looks at a giant engraving of a tree along a wall. Schmidt then is able to find a secret compartment that pushes out into a box. He then takes out the box, opens it, we see a blue light reflected on Schmidt’s face and then the scene ends.
For “rough” footage that was shot only a week ago, it looked damn good. This is what kicked off Marvel Studios’ presentation and it drove the crowd wild. Be sure to read what we saw afterwards to understand that with Marvel at Comic-Con, it isn’t “Go big or go home.” It’s “Go big and then go home.”
Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters on July 22, 2011.