Kevin Feige talks AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON; why they picked the villain, how they manage the new heroes

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One of the biggest surprises at Comic Con last year, was of course the reveal that the next Avengers film would see the heroes take on the robotic menace of Ultron. Everybody had been expecting Thanos to be the baddie after the purple faced Titan gave everybody his best “Wait till I get my hands on you” grin at the end of the first film, but Marvel had fooled us all. But why though? Why pick Ultron? Well Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has spilled the beans.

Ultron

Speaking to SFX (via CBM), Feige revealed that the idea for having Ultron as the main villain literally just came about due to some on-set chit chat with Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon.

“Joss Whedon had a great idea for the character and how to use him to unify the Avengers again and acquire their services once more. He was a favorite. Joss and I were on the production of the first Avengers movie and we started having conversations about Ultron, and how he could come about and how we could adapt his origin to the continuity of the cinematic universe. It literally was just little discussions between takes but thankfully Joss files all that kind of stuff away in his brain. Then when the time arrived, he started outing it, so he went back to that and built a very good story.”

When the title of Avengers: Age of Ultron was revealed, many people (guilty as charged) thought that it may have something to do with the massive crossover event of the same name that had been running in Marvel Comics in that same time, but it was later revealed to not be connected at all. So why go with that name then?

“We didn’t want to merely have a ‘2’ after Avengers so we wanted to give it a subtitle. We have various things that we were looking at and Age of Ultron – which just happened to be a the name of a comic book series as well – was our favorite.”

james-spader_ultron_2

It’s been revealed that James Spader (Stargate, Boston Legal, The Blacklist) will be playing the role of Ultron (whether through motion-capture or being a guy in a suit has not yet been 100% confirmed), and as fantastic an actor as he is, he definitely was not at the top of any fanboy drean casting lists. So how did they end up picking him?

“I first met James Spader two or three years ago. I thought it would be great to have him in our universe and we finally found the right role with Joss’s version of Ultron.”

If there’s one thing that Whedon did brilliantly with the first film, it was to somehow balance each hero’s role perfectly, so it always felt like every belonged there and there was no feeling of bloat to the rather large roster. With Avengers: Age of Ultron,that cast of heroes is set to expand even more with the addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch (not to mention the rumoured second villain and any other heroes that may just be drafted from the rest of Marvel’s upcoming movie/TV lineup). So can Whedon pull off his perfect juggling act again, or will this just be a few characters too many.

“It’s always a balance with any movie, not to overwhelm it with too many story elements. Certainly when it comes to comic book movies, you can fall into the trap of having too many villains and in the case of team-based movies, having too many heroes. But what Joss has in mind to bring those characters into the story happens in a very natural fashion over the course of the story. It’s also the tradition of the Avengers to switch up the roster every now and again and to have new characters coming in. It’s just part of the fun, but we wouldn’t have included them if it had just been a case of ‘Oh, we want two new figures, two new costumes.’ It very much flows with the story that Joss is creating.”

Despite the first film having it’s naysayers (like any film invariably does), there are very people who wouldn’t give Whedon and Feige the benefit of the doubt when it comes to recapturing the Avengers magic again after the grin-inducing spectacular the produced the first time. I for one cannot wait for it, just to see if Hulk can also pancake megalomaniacal super-robots as well he does demi-gods with dreams of grandeur.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to be released on May 1, 2015.

Last Updated: January 10, 2014

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