Universal's "Kick-Ass 2" and "Riddick" combo panel had plenty to offer the throngs of Comic-Con peeps assembled in Hall H, but thanks to one sly audience member's turn at the microphone, a bit of Marvel movie news was unleashed.
Marvel Universe fanatics have been abuzz ever since Vin Diesel tweeted about his clandestine meeting with the House of Ideas. He posted a tantalizing picture of him standing in front of a poster featuring 1963's "Avengers" #2 comic. Was that an "Avengers 2" hint? Was the "Fast & Furious" star directing folks to the image of Giant-Man? Or was the clue buried in the text of the tweet itself? "I get tunnel vision with my work... and after that meeting today... wow!"
Moderator Drew McWeeny from Hitfix was wrapping up the "Riddick" panel when Diesel insisted they take one more question from an audience member. A super fit looking young man in a skintight Iron Man shirt stepped to the mic and pointed out how Diesel is always the "face" of a franchise. "So, what is your 'Vision' for the Marvel movies?"
The crowd, naturally, roared their approval of the question. Diesel smiled widely and fidgeted in his chair. "Why did I have to say 'one last question'?" he wondered aloud. "And he asked the one question I'm not supposed to talk about."
The crowd wasn't letting him off the hook that easily. They kept cheering.
"What I will say," he began, as anticipation mounted, "there is some very big news coming at the end of this month."
After that, McWeeny wrapped it up for real. "Poor Marvel, poor, poor, Marvel," Diesel said, laughing.
Diesel was there to discuss one of his favorite characters, Riddick. Writer/director David Twohy noted that his last trip to Comic-Con was 13 years ago, with "Pitch Black" in tow. The much more expensive "The Chronicles of Riddick" followed in 2004, making $57 million domestically against a reported $105 million budget. In addition to debuting a "very R-Rated" trailer, Diesel, Twohy and "Riddick" co-star Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica") spilled some cool stuff.
"Riddick" Combines Elements of "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles"
Darker, bloodier, more badass, "Riddick" enjoyed the benefits of a "less is more" approach. "When the audience asked for this movie to be Rated-R, it actually helped us get the movie made, because we didn't have to spend $200 million to make the movie," Diesel said proudly. "The film maintains the style and tempo of 'Pitch Black,' while still servicing the mythology." He revealed that "Riddick" mythology lovers will be pleased, because "you will end up in the Underverse."
"Riddick" Was Born in Vin Diesel's Kitchen
"Once we realized we were not going to be a studio picture and we were going to be an independent movie, it became daunting and exciting," reported Twohy. "Production meetings were in Vin's kitchen. He'd roam around, trying not to smoke his American Spirits." Once they decided that "a survival story" was the way to go, Twohy banged out a spec script and was able to sell the project in overseas markets. Universal came onboard as the American distributor.
Katee Sackhoff Admits Sci-Fi Stars Owe the Fans Some Money
The love for Sackhoff in Hall H was palpable. Twohy said he has advised her to dress "hot" and boy, did she deliver. One fan said he named his dog after her iconic "Battlestar" character, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace.
"Science fiction fans are the most loyal fans in the world," she noted. "They'll watch things that [we] actually should give them their money back for and love it and create drinking games for it.
Vin Diesel is the Dungeon Master of Hollywood
Diesel knew he was in the right place to openly admit to how much "Dungeons & Dragons" influenced his life, his acting career and his role as storyteller and producer. "Dungeons & Dragons was a training ground for my imagination in so many ways," he said. "I have friends in Hollywood that tease me, saying I'm attempting to 'DM' Hollywood."
But the influence on "Riddick" and other projects is serious.
"We would act out these characters that we were playing. It didn't take more than a couple of hours before you really believed that you were this witch hunter and the dice that you were rolling was really your weapon."
The "Kick-Ass 2" panel that preceded "Riddick" featured "Kick-Ass" creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., "Kick-Ass 2" director Jeff Wadlow (who said he "won the fanboy lottery"), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (yes, people yelled out "McLovin'!"), new additions Donald Faison, Lindy Booth and John Leguizamo and of course a beefed up version of the guy who plays the title character, Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Chloe Moretz made a surprise appearance via satellite.
It's Very Faithful to the Comics, Minus the Rapeyness
The R-rated "Kick-Ass 2" doesn't flinch when it comes to the violence on the printed page, but Mintz-Plasse said he was happy a few things were left out, like the unsavory moments when Mother------ is "murdering a dog" or "raping somebody. I'm very glad I did not do those two things." He added that his character sports "a gimp outfit."
Chloe Moretz Is Nothing Like Hit Girl, or "Carrie"
The girl with the biggest approval rating from the crowd was very articulate and on top of her game, despite being beamed in via satellite from Boston. "It's really about finding those characters who are opposite of who I am as a person, because I'm such a normal 16-year-old girl," she said. She talked in-depth about Hit Girl's emotional journey in the sequel, which all involved said greatly expands the story. "There's a little girl in there who lost her dad."
Aaron Taylor-Johnson Can Really Do One-Armed Pull-Ups
Taylor-Johnson was incredibly modest about his beefed up frame, which could give "Guardians of the Galaxy" castmember Chris Pratt a run for his money. So Faison did the bragging for him. "That one arm sh-- is real, dog!"
Johnson and the rest of the cast trained MMA style in jiujitsu and other forms of hand-to-hand combat. For a major fight scene, Johnson was studying choreography for hours at a time. Poor Mintz-Plasse, who was shooting a TV show in Los Angeles at the same time "Kick-Ass 2" was filming in London, had much less time to prepare. "I was flying back and forth from L.A. to London. I'd learn the fight that day and shoot it that night." Wadlow praised them both for their athleticism.
Casting This Movie May Have Put the Director on Some "Watch Lists"
How on Earth were they able to find someone who looks so much like Mother Russia from the comic? "That is a very real person," Wadlow said proudly of the actress seen in the footage. "I was about to say 'that is all natural,' but that would not be true. I had to go on some very 'questionable' websites to find candidates [for Mother Russia].
"I'm on some weird watch lists, I'm sure," he added.
New trailers for both films hit the web shortly after the Hall H panel concluded.