Following a funny but presumably hastily-filmed introduction from Robert Downey Jr. from a Wilmington, North Carolina bathroom stall, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment premiered the short film Item 47 Friday night during Comic-Con. Attendees participated in a scavenger hunt that led them to the United Artists 14 Theater in downtown San Diego where director and Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito screened the short and participated in a Q&A session afterward which also included members of the cast and crew.
Downey goofed that he was shooting “the very famous toilet escape scene from Iron Man 3,” and then Item 47 started immediately afterward. A nine- or ten-minute vignette about a pair of lovers who stumble across a functional alien gun that was left behind after The Avengers sent the Chitauri invaders packing, the clip is amusing, but hardly expands the Marvel cinematic universe in a substantive way. Nevertheless, Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford are winning as the couple, whose desperation drives them to rob banks with the laser gun – that is, until Agent Sitwell (Maxililiano Hernandez) intervenes and attempts to recover it for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor Anthony Breznican moderated the post-screening Q&A, and he brought D’Esposito to the front of the auditorium, as well as Caplan, Bradford and Hernandez. The conversation largely consisted of questions about the production itself, which the crowd ate up; a young woman who later revealed that she’s studying nuclear physics spent five minutes discussing the actual materials for the gun prop, for example. But fans quickly started asking about upcoming projects, and D’Esposito either demurred or deferred answer in lieu of promoting Saturday’s Marvel panel. In particular, the Marvel co-president suggested that attendees should queue up early if they wanted to see when and if some Ant-Man footage would premiere.
Bradford and Caplan engaged the audience directly with their answers, such as when Bradford was asked how he got the gun working (one of the great mysteries that goes unexplained in the short). Later, Caplan explained that the moment where she saw the stacks of cash the two boosted from banks: “It was the happiest moment of my life.” She followed up, explaining that when it was accidentally destroyed, she was heartbroken. “I’d be happy to talk to you after the panel to explain all of the emotions I felt during that scene,” she joked as the little kid eagerly listened.
Fans who were unable to attend the event will be able to see Item 47 when it premieres on the DVD and Blu-ray for The Avengers, due out September 25, 2012.