SAN DIEGO — The Avengers first assembled at the San Diego Comic-Con and went on to collect more than $1.5 billion for the third biggest opening ever. So to say that expectations were high for Marvel's Hall H presentation this year would be like saying Galactus has something of an appetite — the real Galactus, not the weird purple cloud version.
This year's SDCC provided plenty of fan-centric delights from the worlds of "The Hunger Games," "The X-Men" and "Man of Steel" (now featuring Batman!). But it's safe to say that the Disney-owned Marvel Studios stole the show, boasting a big announcement about the sequel to "The Avengers," assembling the "Guardians of the Galaxy" on the same stage for the first time, debuting footage from "Captain America: Winter Soldier" and plenty of "Thor: The Dark World" as well, all preceded by a ridiculously badass appearance by Tom Hiddleston in character as Loki.
MTV.com streamed live from Comic-Con Thursday through Sunday, grabbing exclusive details and insights from everyone from Harrison Ford to Hugh Jackman to "Avengers" director Joss Whedon and his Merry Marvel cohorts.
Here's a roundup of all the major things that went down.
Tom Hiddleston Cosplay
It's hard to imagine a better way to dig into new revelations about Marvel's "Phase 2" than to have the Big Bad from "Phase 1" take the stage and menacingly chastise the crowd for their willingness to wait in sweltering heat and super long lines. Is it cosplay for someone who has actually played a character in several films? Hiddleston got the call from Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige about two weeks ago and the pair made a plan for how it would all go down.
Backstage after the panel, the "Thor: The Dark World" star told MTV News it was important that he avoid "breaking" "SNL"-style in order to "keep the integrity of the character, so it didn't seem like I was sending myself up too much."
Footage, Footage And More Footage
"Captain America: Winter Soldier" promises to be a more "character-driven" superhero tale, focusing on the character development of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in particular, Evans told MTV News.
But that doesn't mean it's devoid of action. Quite the contrary: Hall H attendees were treated to the first trailer from the movie (which has yet to appear online) chock full of incredible fight-scenes, as well as the Falcon in flight! Fans were buzzing about Cap's fight with a group of bad guys in a glass elevator, shot with gritty '70s thriller realness by co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo, veterans of Comic-Con-friendly fare like "Community" and "Arrested Development."
There was also another peek at "Thor: The Dark World," which sees the god of thunder forced to enlist the aid of his adoptive half-brother, Loki, as they embark on a journey that explores more of the nine realms than previously seen.
The cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel's sci-fi adventure team movie, posed for a group photo for the first time anywhere. Despite the fact that the movie has only been shooting for less than two weeks, some footage was unveiled. Audiences were treated to the first look at Groot and Rocket Raccoon, two of the completely CGI characters in the film.
But the most important piece of footage during the Marvel panel? It was actually the shortest...
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" mastermind Joss Whedon, who had only directed one major feature film prior to the incredibly well-received "Marvel's the Avengers," took the stage with a teaser in tow.
Dialogue from "The Avengers" played as pieces of metal came together to form the face of Ultron. Yes, "The Avengers 2" has been officially titled "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," which sent sales of the comic series by the same name through the roof immediately following the announcement.
The news was kept so tightly under wraps that even Captain America himself, Chris Evans, had no idea. MTV News actually broke the news to Evans and Johannson backstage, where Evans wondered aloud, "Who's Ultron?"
Well, he has a comic connection to Ant-Man, which may or may not tie into Edgar Wright's long-gestating "Ant-Man" movie, though Whedon did interviews late Sunday (July 21) that seemed to shoot that down. Kevin Feige said that "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" will mostly borrow the name only, without following the plot points of the comic book arc.
The best part about MTV's Comic-Con coverage? Between MTV News, MTV Geek and NextMovie, we had access to all of the stars from Hollywood actors and directors, to Comic-Con friendly rock stars like Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Slipknot's Corey Taylor, to the writers and illustrators who create the actual comic book source material.
With hours and hours of live coverage beginning Thursday and not wrapping up until Sunday, MTV's mini-studio in San Diego played host to countless noteworthy folks, including many associated with the House of Ideas.
Will Vin Diesel join the Marvel Universe as Vision? MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz cornered the "Fast & Furious" actor, who sure seemed to have done his homework on the character once rumored to be going to Clark Gregg.
MTV also caught up with Hiddleston, Evans, Johannson, Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt from "Guardians of the Galaxy," members of the "Thor" cast, folks from the forthcoming "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." TV series (executive produced by Whedon, starring Gregg and very much set in the same Marvel Universe as the films) and many more.