If you’re still reeling from the earlier revelation that Superman and Batman will be going cape to cowl for the Man of Steel sequel, then I’m sorry, but I’m about to punch you in the geeksticles all over again.
Marvel hosted their own panel in Hall H of Comic-Con yesterday, and while there were already some exceedingly cool stuff shown (which we’ll get into later) they ended their panel on a doozy, showing off a very, very brief and very unexpected Avengers 2 teaser that gave us the film’s full new title: The Avengers: Age of Ultron!
And you may now proceed to poop your pants. For those you who have no idea what title implies and are currently not engaged in involuntary bowel movements, let me explain.
Age of Ultron is a huge comic book story written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch and Brandon Peterson, which actually just wrapped up last month. As the name implies, it deals with the megalomaniacal Ultron doing really naughty things, like taking over the Earth and trying to recreate it in his own image.
And now for the history lesson: Ultron was a super-duper intelligent AI organism created by Hank Pym aka Ant-Man, back in the day. Unfortunately, despite Pym’s altruistic intentions for his creation, Ultron, in all its artificial intelligence-ness, deemed humanity unfit for their position at the top of the food chain on planet Earth and promptly tried to wipe them all out. He tried this several times, in the process becoming one of the most powerful villains the Avengers would ever face (arguably second only perhaps to Thanos) with the team battling him in many different guises, stopping his plans but never able to fully beat Ultron himself. Yeah, when Hank Pym builds something to last, it really does.
Ultron would also construct another AI being, Vision, to assist him in his subjugation endeavours, but in a reversal of fortunes, Vision would rebel against his creator and go on to become not only a hero, but one of the greatest and most loved Avengers of all time.
In the Age of Ultron story arc, Earth suffers a blitz attack that sees a huge number of Earth’s heroes killed before they even knew what hit them. When the dust settles, Ultron has not only somehow wiped out most superheroes in an instant, but he has also taken over entire the planet with his army of Ultron Sentinels and city-sized fortresses. Most of the heroes didn’t even know what had happened or how, as they were sleeping peacefully one minute, and waking up to the apocalypse the next.
These few remaining heroes, all reeling from the destruction, would scrabble together to formulate a plan. Well, two plans really.[This next part might be a bit SPOILERY for those of you that haven’t read the comics yet, so read at your own caution]
The heroes discover that Ultron himself is not actually present on Earth, instead it is Vision in control of everything, but he then reveals that he’s actually being remotely operated by Ultron from the relative safety of the far future. Nick Fury proposes using a time-travel machine to send a team to the future to confront Ultron directly, hopefully beat him, and allow Vision in the present, now no longer under Ultron’s control, to shut down all Ultron’s forces.
Wolverine though, ever the brutal pragmatist, suggests and secretly executes his own plan: travelling backwards in time to kill a young Hank Pym before he ever creates Ultron. This would also erase Vision and Hank Pym’s existence, and unpredictably change the timeline though as these hero wouldn’t be there anymore to do their heroic deeds, but these are risks he’s willing to take. And so a race is on to see which plan succeeds first and what the repercussions of their respective successes are. And that’s about as much SPOILERS as I care to give out today.
Now obviously, with Wolverine over in the Fox stable and Spider-Man – who plays quite a significant part in the story – controlled by Sony, the story would have to be severely retooled to work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially since Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past will also feature Wolverine travelling backwards in time to stop a dystopian future from happening.
However, as the basis of the next movie, this certainly could be rather epic. What’s rather interesting though, is that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is scheduled for release 6 months after Avengers: Age of Ultron. Seeing as how important he is to the Age of Ultron story, you would think that he would need to be established before it happened.
This either means that writer/director Joss Whedon is seriously overhauling the story, or expect Hank Pym to suddenly pop up in one of the other upcoming Phase 2 movies. I could certainly see him making an appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a S.H.I.E.L.D. backed scientist.
Also, holding back Thanos and the whole Infinity Gauntlet angle – if that is how Marvel are planning to use the character – for a third film, makes a certain bit of sense: after the Mad Titan pops up in your second movie, it will be pretty damn hard to escalate things again for a third film.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to rewrite history on May 1, 2015.
Last Updated: July 22, 2013