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Marvel Storms Comic-Con With Next Phase

by AFP

Alberto E. Rodriguez-Getty Images North America—AFP

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Mahershala Ali, Kumail Nanjiani among actors joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel’s all-conquering superheroes ripped through Comic-Con on Saturday as the next batch of blockbuster movies were revealed to a hysterical crowd and Disney declared the wait for Avengers: Endgame to break the global box office record was almost over.

Hollywood A-listers Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani and Rachel Weisz will join the most lucrative franchise in film history, it was revealed in an announcement prompting a collective fan meltdown and ending frenzied speculation over the films’ future. They appeared on stage in San Diego alongside Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and others who will return in the upcoming—and sure to be multi-billion-grossing—movies.

“I can spend 90 minutes talking about what we’ve done or I can spend some time talking about what we’re about to do,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the world’s largest pop-culture fan convention. Giant screens in Hall H revealed a timeline of films and television shows scheduled for the next two years including new outings for popular characters Thor, Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Loki.

Feige also confirmed sequels to Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain Marvel without providing details. He also hinted at movies for Fantastic Four and the X-men, which have rejoined the Marvel stable after Disney’s purchase of Fox, but did not offer more information at this time.

He finished the show—the most anticipated of the four-day event—by announcing that Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali will front a Blade reboot.

The Marvel films have collectively grossed over $22 billion at the global box office.

Jolie and Hayek will front ensemble film The Eternals in November 2020. It will be followed in February 2021 by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first Marvel superhero film to be led by an Asian actor.

Mega-budget shows to air on Disney+, the new streaming service from Marvel’s parent company, include Wandavision starring Elizabeth Olsen, and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

Marvel’s next round of new films kick off with Johansson’s Black Widow in May.

Disney simultaneously announced that the series’ most successful film, Endgame, will become the highest-grossing movie of all time this weekend. It was just $500,000 behind the $2,789.7 million record set by James Cameron’s Avatar, and “will close this gap by tomorrow,” it said. “You have to shout out to James Cameron who held that title for a long time,” said Feige. “But for right now today in Hall H, thanks to you, Avengers: Endgame is the biggest film of all time.”

Both films are owned by Disney following its takeover of 21st Century Fox, and had their box office figures revised upwards due to new receipts data, it said.

Earlier, an emotional Patrick Stewart said he was “deliriously happy” to be returning to Star Trek a generation later, declaring that “you cannot have too many franchises in a career.” British actor Stewart, 79, will reprise his fan-favorite role as Jean-Luc Picard in CBS’s Star Trek: Picard after almost two decades.

Elsewhere, producers of The CW’s Batwoman screened a pilot of the first superhero TV show led by an openly lesbian character. The pioneering show has stirred controversy in some of the internet’s darker depths.

Star Ruby Rose missed the event due to ongoing filming, but executive Caroline Dries told a panel event that the studio was proud to promote diversity and representation.

HBO revealed a trailer for season three of smash futuristic sci-fi Westworld, where the action has shifted from a Wild West-inspired theme park to one set under Nazi occupation.

New cast member Aaron Paul said joining the show had been an “out of body” experience. “I’m tripping out right now, I’m such a psychotic fan of Westworld,” said the Breaking Bad actor, who plays a construction worker.

TBS unveiled thriller Snowpiercer, in which survivors circle a post-apocalyptic frozen Earth in a continuously rolling train. Based on a 2013 film and starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, the TV show depicts conflict between the train’s starkly divided classes. Set to be released in spring 2020, it has already been renewed for a second season.

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