Avengers assemble at D23 to preview Infinity War

Marvel brought fans to their feet on Saturday as it assembled a panel of superheroes to preview Avengers: Infinity War at Disney's D23 Expo.

The film unites the characters from all 16 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and most of the actors who play them took the stage at the fan event in Anaheim, southern California.

The packed 7,000-capacity convention hall cheered as Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle and Benedict Cumberbatch were introduced.

Actors including Tom Holland, Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman and co-director Joe Russo were also part of the panel.

The movie opens in May next year - the 10th anniversary of the US release of the original Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Iron Man.

"It's funny to think (Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige) and I figured all of this out at Randy's Donuts shooting Iron Man 2," quipped Downey Jr., who plays the titular superhero.

The panel was part of a presentation of the next two years of live-action movies from Disney, which owns Marvel and Lucasfilm. The latter's Star Wars panel has become one of the most talked-about panels at the biennial D23, but there were no new announcements this time.

The Han Solo spin-off, which fired directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in favour of Oscar-winning Ron Howard last month, was glossed over, with no cast appearances.

But Rian Johnson, who directed the forthcoming eighth instalment of the main series, The Last Jedi, delighted fans by introducing many of the cast members, including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

Another highlight was a section offering news and footage from Disney's animation to live-action slate, including remakes of The Lion King, Mulan and Aladdin. The crowd was on its feet after seeing a clip from The Lion King,when Rafiki introduces Simba to the animals.

"This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film," said director Jon Favreau. - AFP

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