While Comic-Con's Saturday slate promised an interesting cross-section of film projects in Hall H, virtually all of them existed only as a prelude to Iron Man 2, whose predecessor wowed attendees two years ago when Paramount debuted footage and inspired its subsequent fanboy fervor. At 4pm, Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige, director Jon Favreau, and stars Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Sam Rockwell appeared in front of a capacity crowd to screen footage and talk a little bit about the challenges of upping the ante on one of the most successful and acclaimed superhero movies ever made. In no particular order, the (Cinematical) seven things you most need to know about the panel:

  • There were two clips shown, and don't let the short one fool you: an introductory, b.s. featurette advertised the film but offered almost no images or details that matter or are remotely memorable. Meanwhile, a second clip, screened at the prompting of star Downey Jr., featured actual footage from the film, and was much, much better.
  • The second clip showed the following characters: Iron Man/ Tony Stark, who defends himself from government intrusion after stopping at iconic L.A location Randy's Donuts; Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who makes Stark an offer he might not be able to refuse; Senator Stern (Garry Shandling), who tries to force Stark to turn over the Iron Man armor; Rhodes (Don Cheadle), who finds himself at odds with Stark, but ultimately succumbs to the allure of hardware with his own suit, called War Machine; Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), an arms dealer who outfits Rhodes' suit with its weaponry; Whiplash/ Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who designs his own suit, which is more primitive, but also more deadly; and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who kicks ass and looks good while doing it.
  • According to Favreau, the film just wrapped, but he and the filmmakers were so grateful for the support shown at the 2007 Comic-Con for the first film that they wanted to bring clips to show from Part 2.
  • Johansson apparently wanted the role of Black Widow so badly that she dyed her hair before she even got the part.
  • Meanwhile, in order to prepare to play Vanko, a guy who spent time in a Russian prison, Mickey Rourke actually visited one for research.
  • Cheadle said he just tried to make the role of Stark's right-hand man Rhodes his own, but admitted he stole as much as possible from Terence Howard's performance in the first film to bring him to life.
  • War Machine looks about twice as badass as Iron Man, but not enough footage was screened of shellhead himself to indicate how Stark's own armor would be breaking down expectations.