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'Kick-Ass 2': Not your average sequel

By Emily Zemler, Special to CNN
July 21, 2013 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
Jim Carrey, left, as Colonel Stars and Stripes and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Kick-Ass in
Jim Carrey, left, as Colonel Stars and Stripes and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Kick-Ass in "Kick-Ass 2."
  • "Kick-Ass 2" cast and director don't reveal too much about the film's actual plot
  • Actors who portray Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Red Mist appear via satellite
  • Jim Carrey withdrew his support from the movie because of its extreme violence
  • "This is not a rinse-and-repeat sequel," says director-screenwriter Jeff Wadlow

(CNN) -- Universal Pictures debuted new footage from the upcoming film "Kick-Ass 2" during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. The stylized, violent clip introduced fans to the sequel's aesthetic and revealed several new characters, including Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by Jim Carrey.

Although Carrey -- who has withdrawn his support for the film over the violence - was not on hand, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) and director-screenwriter Jeff Wadlow spoke with the convention-goers. Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays fan favorite Hit-Girl, made a special appearance via satellite to discuss her character's arc.

The cast and director didn't reveal too much about the film's actual plot, although it was clear from the footage that Hit-Girl's path takes her to high school and deals with her issues following the death of her father (played by Nicolas Cage) in the first "Kick-Ass" film.

"That was a big, interesting arc that Jeff had the smart idea of putting in the movie," Moretz said. "Hit-Girl decides to give up her life of crime. She goes to high school, and what she realizes is that whether it's a drug dealer on the streets and a murder or a bad girl at school who is hating on these kids, she has to bring justice to the situation. She realizes she and Hit-Girl are the same person. It could also really touch young teenagers, because it's what they're going through in school."

For Taylor-Johnson, the sequel was an opportunity to pick up where he left off with his character. The only major difference, he said, is that he has been doing a lot of one-armed push-ups to bulk up this time around.

"It felt like a natural progression," Taylor-Johnson said of the sequel. "For my character, what's nice is that he hasn't changed at all since the first one. It's always been a conversation about when are we going to do the second one. I got a call from (producer) Matthew Vaughn saying, 'I've got someone really great who's written a fantastic script and I'd like you to read it and see what you think.' And it was a page-turner. He took these characters through a wild journey that was really complex. It took these characters to a whole new level."

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Mintz-Plasse's character takes on a much bigger role as the villain in this new film. Shooting those scenes was intense for the actor, but he said he feels that the journey his character takes is important to the story laid out both in the graphic novel and the film. Red Mist, who lost his father as well in "Kick-Ass," is reborn in this film as The Mother F----r, which should give an indication of his qualities.

"I was really scared to do something this intense and nerve-wracking, but Jeff (Wadlow) had a great acting coach that came onboard," Mintz-Plasse said. "We worked for a month prior to shooting and read every line and figured out what to do for the character. I'm wearing a gimp outfit in this movie. It's super dark. There's some things in the comic book that we took out, which I think was a good choice. It was very intense to play."

"Kick-Ass 2" will be in theaters on August 16, but fans are already wondering about a third film. The writers of the graphic novel, Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., haven't actually completed a third book yet, however, and Wadlow said he's not ready to focus beyond this sequel yet.

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"Also," Wadlow continued, "this is not a rinse-and-repeat sequel where we have the characters just do the same thing again. We put them through a meat grinder."

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