By Amber Lena
By 6am, the line for the D23 Expo Arena wrapped around the Anaheim Convention Center. Twice. By 7:30am, there were five full lines going from the entrance to the back of the convention center. The arena was filled to the brim with fans eagerly awaiting sneak peaks at the upcoming projects by Marvel and Disney, and many fans were left standing in line after the arena reached capacity.
The panel was introduced by Alan Horn, the chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. Though his introduction ran a bit long, it was full of (scripted) good humor and Horn was clearly enthusiastic about the panel.
The Marvel buffs in the audience didn’t have to wait long to get a sneak peek at the upcoming films. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, was the first person to take the stage after Horn. Much to the delight of the room, the first project discussed was the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World.” Not only did fans get to see the extended trailer featuring 500% more Loki, they also got to see an exclusive look at what happens when Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is first brought to Asgard by Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
Feige was joined on stage by fan-favorite Tom Hiddleston, who was greeted with many shrieks of joy, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins, the latter of whom received a much deserved standing ovation. The actors were nothing but charming and gracious towards the fans. Tom apologized for not singing at today’s presentation and for also not showing up in costume, but quipped that he didn’t think he should be demanding people to kneel before him at Disneyland.
Next up was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The audience got a first look at the Captain America sequel which features a conflicted Cap. This time Feige was joined by Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie (who could not stop referring to himself as the Falcon), and, after much bated breath, Chris Evans. Evans made it known that he would be visiting Disneyland shortly and invited the entire arena to go with him. Feige recommended that Evans invest in a hat.
The sneak preview of “The Winter Soldier,” which isn’t due out until April 4, 2014, was rough to say the least. The special effects were still early animations in black and white, but the clip delivered the action and humor that fans desired. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) spent much of the sequence attempting to set Steve up on a date when she wasn’t busy kicking butt.
Finally, the D23 audience was treated to the same sneak peek of “Guardians of the Galaxy” that played during San Diego Comic-Con. Though filming only began a short while ago and the entire cast is currently over in London, a brief introduction into the galaxy of the Guardians was played during the panel. From the first look it appears to be a more diverse, comedic world than we’ve seen in previous Marvel films, though it does have a bit of a gritty edge. Fans were introduced to Star-Lord and the rest of his crew. Sadly, however, the clip did not contain any scenes of Karen Gillan as Nebula.
A very brief teaser for “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” — the same seen at Comic-Con as well — was also shown to raucous applause.
All in all, Marvel really delivered for the fans and made a great contribution to a panel that was definitely worth the long line.