On the Fourth of July, Marvel Entertainment released its “second screen” app for The Avengers DVD, two months prior to the release of the DVD itself. The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience, available for the iPhone and iPad, is designed to provide supplemental content, synced up with the film. The timing of the app’s release is odd, as second screen apps are traditionally released in tandem with their associated DVD. However, this particular app came bundled with the first countdown clock of Comic-Con 2012, leading to a scavenger hunt starting Friday to unlock the latest Marvel One-Shot video, Item 47.
According to The Avengers Initiative app’s description: “Become a SHIELD Agent and participate in the Item 47 Comic-Con experience either remotely or in the field.” So what is this Item 47 Comic-Con experience? Upon downloading and launching the app, the main screen launches with three options; “SHIELD Personnel Files”, “Avenger Initiative Timeline,” and “Item 47.” The Avenger Initiative Timeline is not unlocked yet, and the SHIELD Personnel files contain what you would expect: personal dossiers on all the Avengers. Currently, the only dossiers available for viewing belong to Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Natasha Romanov (Black Widow).
Sometimes the journey down the rabbit hole is an interesting one. In a recent Twitter post, Damon Lindelof linked to a sound file he deemed “Rad. Just… Rad.” The file in question, available for your listening pleasure at Soundcloud, is a remix which includes audio from a TED talk delivered by Peter Weyland. The message is fairly inspirational, concluding with Weyland’s assertion that he “will settle for nothing short of greatness, or [he] will die trying.” Alas, in this case, a picture tells a thousand words more than the few Weyland used to entertain his captive audience.
Upon further review, the original video was found at a special TED page in which we discover that Weyland looks remarkably similar to Guy Pearce, the wonderful character actor. And lo and behold, the title not only reveals that the TED talk in question occurs in 2023, but that it is “[a] TEDTalk from the future as envisioned by Prometheus director Ridley Scott.” The video adds an additional layer of depth to the talk, picked up by some exceptionally rad hover-cameras that cover the action. And thus the rabbit hole deepens, leading down the trail for a viral marketing campaign for the upcoming film Prometheus.
Quite a few online communities and blogs have been closely following the campaign, and have uncovered a few other interesting, albeit fairly benign, aspects of this particular viral campaign. For starters, there is a fancy web site dedicated to Weyland Corp at weylandindustries.com, which hosts the TED Talk video (don’t miss the bit.ly link displayed on the screen at 0:52, as it leads… somewhere) and provides background information about the company. You can also register as an investor if you’d like to get email updates on the goings-on of the company (which, unfortunate-in-a-suspension-of-disbelief-kind-of-way, clearly come from Twentieth Century Fox US). But wait, there’s more! At the About Us page, there happens to be a flashing light hidden amongst the star field surrounding Earth, and flashing lights often lead to secret sections of websites, no? Without spoiling it for you, there’s a thread at the Unfiction forums where people have done the hard work for you, and the result is a spectacular piece of art not to be missed.
Unfortunately, that’s where the trail ends, for now. The film is set to be released in June, so there are still quite a few weeks for other things to develop, especially as quite a few sections of the Weyland Industries website are suspiciously locked. In the meantime, there may or may not be a glyph puzzle hidden among the images (secret and otherwise) on the Weyland Industries web site, so if you’re holding a flame for the hot new summer blockbuster, this might be right up your alley. However, if you’re simply a fan of awesome and interesting TED talks, perhaps this one is more your style?