Luckily for those of you that didn’t get to catch up on Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor or Captain America, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is pretty penetrable and the story is told in such a straightforward way that studying the first five films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe like you have the board exam next week isn’t necessary.

For those of you with only a crude and basic understanding of Marvel properties however, explanation of a few points might help you enjoy and understand the film just a bit better.

The Tesseract is a source of unlimited energy

The Tesseract (also known as The Cosmic Cube to Marvel nerds) is by far the most important object in The Avengers. In the first few moments of the film, the cube is lightly explained via voice-over before it is stolen by Loki. It’s first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the opening of Captain America when Johan Schmidt (Red Skull) breaks into a village in Norway and steals it from its secret hiding place. He calls it “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room,” a clear reference to the character played by Anthony Hopkins in Thor and the treasure room we end up spending a surprising amount of time in.

Apparently, the cube was left there by “the gods” and contains perpetual power that some would call magic, but Schmidt explains that it’s just science that humans haven’t discovered yet. The same explanation is given by Thor to Jane in Thor to explain the multiple universes that exist (a concept explored in even further detail in The Avengers), so it makes sense that the cube is simply from a different dimension.

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Luckily for those of you that didn’t get to catch up on Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor or Captain America, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is pretty penetrable and the story is told in such a straightforward way that studying the first five films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe like you have the board exam next week isn’t necessary.

For those of you with only a crude and basic understanding of Marvel properties however, explanation of a few points might help you enjoy and understand the film just a bit better.

The Tesseract is a source of unlimited energy

The Tesseract (also known as The Cosmic Cube to Marvel nerds) is by far the most important object in The Avengers. In the first few moments of the film, the cube is lightly explained via voice-over before it is stolen by Loki. It’s first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the opening of Captain America when Johan Schmidt (Red Skull) breaks into a village in Norway and steals it from its secret hiding place. He calls it “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room,” a clear reference to the character played by Anthony Hopkins in Thor and the treasure room we end up spending a surprising amount of time in.

Apparently, the cube was left there by “the gods” and contains perpetual power that some would call magic, but Schmidt explains that it’s just science that humans haven’t discovered yet. The same explanation is given by Thor to Jane in Thor to explain the multiple universes that exist (a concept explored in even further detail in The Avengers), so it makes sense that the cube is simply from a different dimension.

Captain America was the result of a WWII super-soldier experiment

This whole “super soldier experiment” thing is a big concept in the Marvel universe. The first experiment was on the Red Skull, who forced brilliant scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine to shoot him up with the serum before it was ready. The serum chemically burned off his skin and enhanced the evil that was already inside of him, turning him into the Red Skull.

After some changes to the serum and after finding the right subject (the skinny and inherently good-hearted Steve Rogers), the experiment was ready, but this time it actually worked. It turned “skinny Steve” Rogers into a super-human worthy of the title of Captain America.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government/military espionage and security organization

If we remember right from Iron Man, the official acronym stands for the Strategic Homeland Intervention and Enforcement- Logistics Division. S.H.I.E.L.D. made it’s first appearance in Iron Man in the form of Agent Phil Coulson, who would become a running character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the face of S.H.I.E.L.D.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is a military/government organization headed by Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson, again appearing in Iron Man) that specializes in national security. Fury’s pet project is the “Avengers Initiative,” which focuses on getting certain individuals together to work as a team. Black Widow, the spy played by Scarlett Johansson is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., even going so far as to pose as Tony Stark’s personal assistant in Iron Man 2 in order to spy on him.

Another agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sharpshooter Clint Barton, a crossbow professional that goes by the codename “Hawkeye.” Hawkeye had a brief introduction in Thor, but he gets more of an opportunity to shine in The Avengers. In fact, S.H.I.E.L.D. in general gets thrust into the spotlight, along with their many toys.

Tony Stark has a gigantic magnet over his heart to keep him alive

When Tony Stark’s own missile exploded in his face in the opening moments of Iron Man, it blasted chunks of shrapnel into his torso and chest. If not for a makeshift magnet hooked to a car battery installed in his body by cave-mate Yinsen, Stark would have died in a cave in Afghanistan. In fact, one of the first things that Tony Stark does is build himself a better one. In a cave. With a box of scraps.

Basically, he builds a glowing miniature arc reactor in his chest to power the magnet that keeps the shrapnel out of his heart. It’s the part of Tony Stark that’s actually a machine, and the magnet is proof, as Pepper Potts adorably put, that Tony Stark indeed has a heart.

Loki is the God of Mischief and Thor’s half-brother

In the first 40 minutes of Thor, we’re introduced to Asgard, the home of Odin, Thor, Loki, and hundreds of other Asgardians. Thor and Loki have been brought up their whole lives to believe that they are brothers, and that one day one of them would inherit the throne. Thor, of course, inherited the throne and Loki discovered that he was actually a frost giant orphan found in the Jotunheim after the end of the war with the frost giants.

After being filled with rage at the discovery of his parentage, Loki works with the frost giants to stage himself as his father’s hero by setting up an assassination attempt that he himself will thwart. Thor returns from Earth to stop this plan, but Loki forces Thor to fight him until he is dangling from a bridge. After almost being saved by Odin, Loki chooses to fall into a wormhole, transporting him to an unknown branch of the universe.

Bruce Banner turns into The Hulk when he’s angry

Yes, we know. This one is a no-brainer, but after discovering that there are in fact people out there that don’t know that The Hulk is Bruce Banner’s angry alias, we had to include it. In another super-soldier experiment gone wrong, Banner blasted himself with Gamma radiation and found that when he got angry, the beast inside of him would erupt and take control.

In this incarnation, Banner calls The Hulk “the other guy” with little-to-no introduction, so those that are unfamiliar with Banner’s condition might have thought that he was talking about another physical “other guy.”

Excited to see The Avengers? Who among our United States readers will be watching it at midnight tonight? Tweet us your excitement for The Avengers @Hypable or @Herohype!

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

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Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

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As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017