We had the opportunity to attend the Special Content Showcase for the in-home release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (digital available now, blu-ray starting October 2nd) and the event was the perfect blend of prestige and accessibility. It served as an unveiling for the special limited editions of exclusive poster art for the film by artist Tyler Stout, which was incredibly impressive printed in metallic inks. There was also a very neat Hulkbuster t-shirt that, honestly, I’m not seeing anywhere online in the sea of available Hulkbuster t-shirts (didn’t even realize that was a thing). It wasn’t exactly made clear how you could get this exclusive, limited quantities, shirt. There’s a slip that came with mine saying that you can get one for $20 (plus s/h) when you buy the movie—so maybe there’s a slip in the blu-ray case or a digital certificate if you buy a digital copy?
Hosted in the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, they put out a nice spread in a very welcoming, cozy and creative environment. The gallery hosts a lot of rotating art events, many tied to entertainment. I recommend you check them out at hcgart.com and plan to visit for your favorite exhibits when you’re in the area.
We enjoyed the presentation that screened several of the extras included with “home release” of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I must admit I found them quite good for providing and fleshing out a high level overview of the Marvel movie universe—presenting and tying together events from the various films to map out everything Marvel has been setting up leading to the Infinity Wars. They provide a nice review/recap and get you excited for everything that is to come.
That was followed by Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) and Jeremy Latcham (Executive Producer of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron) making an appearance to wax philosophical with attendees about the meanings behind various events in the movie and the Marvel films overall. There wasn’t anything particularly revealing or surprising but it was very nice to get that reassurance that every event, no matter how small, was being consciously woven into the tapestry of the larger arcs that guide the various Marvel films. This also extends to the shows—and, the same way actors in the films have been able to cross into the shows, the street goes both ways. So that, if the actors in the shows are willing, when there’s an opportunity for a particular character to appear in the films, Marvel is very interested in keeping the same performer in the role. That’s a level of consistency and loyalty I can really get behind.
Feige and Latcham also took some time to discuss the integration of Spider-Man going forward. The most interesting part is how fluid and planned out their story architecture is so that they’re ready for any combination of possibilities that might develop—will a given character be available to weave in?—is there room in the narrative of a specific film for a particular character?—will the same actor being playing the part?—and if that actor is replaced, will there need to be an explanation of some kind? They’re keeping all of these things in mind and have plans within plans ready for the different possible combination of scenarios that will still keep with the overall vision. That’s some impressive planning that will not only play out with the integration of Spider-Man but also Captain Marvel.
The heartbreaking part of the evening for me was when we finally got to ask about plans for Howard the Duck (after the tease in Guardians of the Galaxy) and were just met with laughter. Another attendee got even more specific asking when and how Howard the Duck would be making his way to Earth. “Well, it didn’t work out so well the first time,” was their brief response; referencing the 1986 film, Howard the Duck (featuring Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones and Tim Robbins) that disappointed at the box office and with fans—except this one right here. . . although, to be fair, it has been a couple decades since I’ve seen it. Regardless, I’m personally looking forward to more Howard—I’ve still got my fingers crossed that he’ll be making some more cameos soon.
The evening definitely gave me some more love for Avengers: Age of Ultron, understanding better about all the plates they’re trying to keep spinning. And it really is saying something about an entertainment company when the worst thing that can be said about their weaker entries is, “it was pretty good.”
Joss Whedon, you moved mountains! We love you! Please don’t stay away too long!