By Terri Schwartz
"Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau was nice enough to give the entire Comic-Con audience a heart attack Saturday afternoon in San Diego by showing two minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the film. However, it took Robert Downey Jr.'s support and a quick round of happy birthdays to Favreau's son Max to get the real footage shown.
For those not interested in spoilers, skip the bulk of this piece, but for those of you who want an extensive walkthrough of the footage shown, continue reading!
In the second appearance of the Randy's Donuts shop on film today (the first being in Roland Emmerich's disaster flick "2012"), the "Iron Man 2" clip opened with Downey as Tony Stark in full costume, chilling in the famous donut statue and eating a box of frosteds. The crowd went nuts as the back of an eye-patched head came into view and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury announced, "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to exit the donut."
Inside Randy's Donuts, Stark and Fury have a discussion about Iron Man joining forces with the group Fury is assembling (The Avengers). "What if I told you I don't want to join your super-secret boy band?" Stark asked Fury, who responded by saying Iron Man going solo didn't seem to be working out so well for Tony Stark.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to get off on the wrong foot," Stark responded. "Do I look at the patch or the eye?"
The next scene showed Tony Stark in a court room arguing over whether he is obligated to turn in his suit, which was being labeled a weapon.
"It's a high-tech prosthetic," Tony said. "That's actually the most apt description I could make of it."
When the senator demanded Tony turn over the Iron Man to the people of the United States, Stark reiterated, "I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution depending on what state you're in."
The first shot of Don Cheadle as Col. James Rhodes is seen as he approaches the bench against Tony. "Didn't expect to see you here," Tony said in an unhappy tone. He turned to the audience assembled in the court room, declaring, "The point is, you're welcome, I guess -- because I'm your nuclear deterrent."
"I have successfully privatized world peace," he added. "What more do you want?"
A medley of clips follow, showing Whiplash making his own suit, the first shots in the clips of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and some moments of Tony with Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow's alter ego. The clips are narrated by Mickey Rourke, who was unable to attend the panel but is playing Whiplash/Ivan Vanko in the film.
"You come from a family of thieves and butchers," Rourke narrated, "and now like all guilty men you try to rewrite your own history and you try forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed. There will be blood in the water."
The series of clips ends with a clear shot of Whiplash in full get-up (the screen shot that has been circulating the internet of Rourke), spinning his electrically charged whips around while walking towards Tony Stark on a race track. Tony's race car lies demolished behind Whiplash, while Tony lies bloodied and torn on the ground.
The next scene switched to a fight between Iron Man and a mysterious assailant in midair, but the editing was hard to follow so it wasn't clear what was happening beyond Iron Man's evasive maneuvers and the shots being fired at him.
The screen faded to black, which allowed the audience to cheer, but then a military hangar was shown. Inside the hangar, Rhodes is shown talking with Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer, both of them looking at an iron suit.
"What did you do? What did you do?" asked Hammer excitedly. "It's classified," responded Rhodes coldly. "Is this what I think it is?" responded Hammer before showing Rhodes a range of heavy artillery.
"Give me something. You're like a sphinx; I can't read you," begged Hammer while Rhodes reviewed the guns. Rhodes said he would take all the weapons, and the final shot of the clips is War Machine in full-suited glory, hovering in the sky, shooting guns off in all directions.
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell all made an appearance at the Iron Man 2 Hall H panel, with a surprise guest in the form of "Iron Man" scribe Bob Layton. Downey and Favreau pulled Layton up from the front row to join them on stage.
"They were kind enough to invite me onto the set a few days ago and treated me like I was visiting royalty," Layton said of his experience with the "Iron Man" films.
During the Q&A session that followed, Johansson was very vocal about her desire to get the role of Black Widow, said Favreau. When asked about her audition process, Favreau replied, "Did you bump your f---ing head? Her audition is her body of work."
She also discussed her desire to do her own stunts, and how most of the action seen in the film of Black Widow is Johansson's work.
Following Terrence Howard in the role of Rhodes, Cheadle said he took inspiration from Howard's performance. In response to how it felt to put on the War Machine suit, his only response was, "It's heavy."
"I can't believe your rig was cooler than my rig," Downey laughed.
"It was a contractual thing," Cheadle responded, sparking laughs from the audience.
Mickey Rourke and Gwyneth Paltrow were unable to attend the panel, but Favreau did spend plenty of time talking about Rourke's dedication to the role. Favreau said part of Whiplash's backstory was Vanko spent some time in a Russian prison. "The next thing I knew, he was in a Russian prison," Favreau laughed, quickly clarifying that it was for the role and not for any wrongdoing.
Discussion was inevitably drawn to the melting pot of Marvel films, and the upcoming "Avengers" film, and a fan asked Favreau if he would be up for directing the superhero team-up project.
"I still have another year on ['Iron Man 2'] to go and they're getting ready to make 'Thor' with Kenneth Branagh directing and I'm watching the stuff come together," said Favreau. He said he had spent some time at the Marvel Studios checking out the prep work and artwork for "Thor" and was very impressed.
"'Avengers' doesn't shoot until were done with 'Iron Man 2,'" he said. "Hopefully the movies will continue to cross-pollinate with each other and be involved with each other."
As for the theme of "Iron Man 2," Favreau said it dealt with the idea of Tony Stark needing the help of those around him and his learning that no man is an island. He did say they didn't take the tone as dark as that of the popular "Demon In A Bottle" storyline about Stark's struggle with alcoholism.
The (second to) last question at the panel asked if, after seeing Downey's race-bending role in "Tropic Thunder," had the studio approached him about replacing Howard as Rhodes?
"You're going to waste the last question on that?" asked Downey. "God, I love you."
What do you think of the "Iron Man 2" panel? Sound off in the comment section!