Pssst… come closer. Are you alone? Is anyone following you? We have to make sure this is a secure location because… well, ever since Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s been pretty chaotic. We’re scattered. We’re struggling. But we can trust you, right? Good. Cause what we’re about to share is classified information regarding the Avengers’ next mission, Avengers: Age of Ultron, in theaters May 1, 2015.
Several heroes risked everything to bring you this report, transcribed during top-secret meetings with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner at a movie studio located somewhere outside London, England.
Once Director Fury gives permission, we will release additional mission briefings from Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and director Joss Whedon.
Read at your own risk...
Date: Summer 2014
Field Agent: Erik Davis
(Known aliases include Fandango Contributing Editor and Mr. Awesomesauce)
(Known aliases include Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr.)
When We Last Saw Him: Iron Man 3
When We Meet Him in Avengers: Age of Ultron: “There was just so many suits [in Iron Man 3], and I think he realizes that tweaking and making all the suits in the world didn’t work for that thing of his, that tour of duty that left him a little PTSD,”
Downey Jr. says: “So his focus is more on how we can make it so that there’s no problem to begin with. That there’s a bouncer at our planet’s rope. That’s the big idea.”
Fast Fact: Iron Man introduces his "Hulkbuster" armor in the sequel, a new suit (and fan favorite) that's better equipped to keep the Hulk in check. You can briefly see the two fighting in the trailer. "[That scene] has a surprise. A little twist to it," Ruffalo teases.
(Known aliases include the Hulk and Mark Ruffalo)
When We Last Saw Him: As Bruce Banner at the end of Iron Man 3, and as both Banner and the Hulk in The Avengers
When We Meet Him in Avengers: Age of Ultron: “We left the last time with this idea that I’m always angry and therefore I have some control over it,” Ruffalo says. “But when you think you have control over it, you absolutely don’t. You have to start to practice radical acceptance or you just keep banging your head up against the same wall. And I think Banner’s starting to get to that place where he’s like, ‘Okay how do I live with this? How do I make it work for me?” It’s like having a slipped disc.”
Fast Fact: Expect a little something we haven’t seen from this version of the Hulk yet. “He’s sort of as close to having a normal life as he possibly could, which might include some romance,” Ruffalo reveals. But, you know, is that ever possible for Banner – that’s really the question.”
When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner collaborate on creating a weaponized intelligence that will make it so superheroes like the Avengers won’t need to exist, the results produce Ultron (James Spader) – an indestructible, all-knowing robot hell-bent on destroying what he thinks is ruining our planet: humans.
Downey Jr. Says: “I’ve actually dealt with one of my 50 core issues, so now it’s like: alright, job one, roughly taken care of. And I think this was job two. Job two was go back East and get people organized and do what I can. Also, I love that Tony’s not one of those superheroes who’s ever lost his money, which is great. He’s never lost his dough.”
Ruffalo Says: “I think [Banner’s] trying to become more a part of a group. I don’t think he’s ever felt like part of a family or part of something. He’s always sort of been this outsider or on the run trying to shun humanity.”
Field Agent Notes
Erik Says: This Avengers movie is massive. Not only will it feature groundbreaking action sequences set in foreign locales like South Korea, Italy and South Africa, but the film also boasts over 3,000 VFX shots, which is more than any Marvel Studios movie to date.
“[The first] Avengers was so -- I don’t wanna say disorienting-- but it was a thing where it was this very well-managed compartmentalized attempt to do something unprecedented,” Downey Jr. tells us. “Without being derivative of other groundbreaking films in this genre, there are a lot of elements that are kind of reinterpreted in Age of Ultron in a way that’s really cool.”
Ultron Alert: Critical Freak-Out Mode
Unlike previous Marvel villains, Ultron isn’t trying to wipe out humanity to get revenge or because he’s just nutso – instead he’s just doing what he thinks is right. What he thinks will solve the planet’s problems.
Downey Jr. Says: “I can’t really say there’s a bad guy. It’s hard to call [Ultron] a bad guy, but he’s scary and bright and hurting and all that, but his thought is, “I see what’s wrong here… and guess what? It’s y’all.’”
Ruffalo Says: “Ultron’s amazing. He really is amazing. He’s gonna be like King Lear – it’s great.”
What We Know About Ultron:
-- In the comics, Ultron was originally created by Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, though the film suggests Ultron will come from Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Expect Age of Ultron to still connect to the Ant-Man story in some way, though, as that film arrives in theaters two months after Ultron, on July 17, 2015.
-- Ultron is always on the lookout to keep upgrading himself, so look for him to get stronger and more unstoppable as the movie barrels towards its conclusion.
-- This includes the creation of clone Ultrons, who we see the team battling in the piece of concept posted at the bottom of this page.
-- Ultron is performed via voice and motion-capture by James Spader
New Recruits: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
Joining the Avengers on their second big-screen adventure are two East European gypsy-like drifters (and twins) called “miracles,” due to the special mystical powers they posess.
(Known aliases include Wanda Maximoff and Elizabeth Olsen)
Special Powers: She can harnass energy and use it to create explosions. When we meet her in Ultron she's still learning what she's capable of and how to take command of it.
Ruffalo Says: “[Scarlet Witch] is able to bring out the worst in us, and there are people in our lives who can do that. She’s that bad. Its like Sid and Nancy. She’s the Nancy. She’s everyone’s Nancy.”
Downey Jr. Says: “The given is people can get inside your head, so I just think of it as kind of a metaphor for relationships. And [Scarlet Witch] is like that gal from college who was crazy.”
(Known aliases include Pietro Maximoff and Aaron Taylor-Johnson)
Special Powers: Dude is fast. Real fast. He can disorient his adversaries with his superspeed, or use it to steal some fruit from a local market so him and his sister have dinner for that night.
Downey Jr. Says: “The way that [the two of them] have been put together and Joss [Whedon’s] take on their origin story is all like, ‘Dude, I never would have thought of that, and that’s the absolute coolest way you could have done it.’”
Ruffalo Says: “I love the new kids on the block. I love Wanda and Pietro – they’re really cool characters.”
What You Need to Know About the Vision
The Character: Originally created by Ultron to destroy the Avengers, only to turn against his master and fight alongside the good guys, it is not yet known how the Vision will come to be in Age of Ultron. If Ultron does create Vision, expect him to merge his creation with the conciousness of J.A.R.V.I.S. in some way. There's a reason he's being played by Paul Bettany, after all.
Fast Fact: Paul Bettany has provided voice work for Tony Stark's right-hand robot J.A.R.V.I.S. in each of the Iron Man movies as well as The Avengers. This will be the first time he will get to physically appear in a superhero film.
Ruffalo Says: “The Vision is so dope. He’s pretty incredible. The idea of him and where he comes from – it’s great. People are gonna love him.”
Downey Jr. Says: “Just seeing Paul Bettany within a thousand miles of the set where we’re shooting is just like, ‘Wow. This is gonna be really cool.’”
Field Agent Notes
Erik Says: Everyone on set thought it was amusing that Bettany had to spend so much time in the makeup chair, suiting up to play “the perfect specimen” in the Vision. “All I know is I’m happy that I can leave the trailer and go back an hour later and Paul Bettany’s still in makeup,” Mark Ruffalo jokes. “And I’m 46 years old! That makes me feel good.” Says Downey Jr: “There is no one I would rather have the delight of seeing in the extreme discomfort than Paul Bettany.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron is about saving our planet from a seemingly unstoppable threat, but it’s also about the complexities of being a team and a family.
Downey Jr. Says: “It’s been fun, and we all have become close. Last time was kinda like,Thor’s in. Cap’s out. Tony’s in. Everyone’s together… like twice. That’s all they could manage cause it was like working with mercury and herding cats -- and this time it’s that, but it just seems like we really are genuinely developing relationships with each other. This movie’s gonna be great. I really think so.”
Field Agent Notes
Erik Says: What’s great about Age of Ultron versus The Avengers is that we’re going to see a lot more of the team together in this movie. Here’s a tip: don’t arrive at the theater late because one of the film’s biggest Avengers battle sequences takes place right at the start. And trust me… you won’t want to miss it.
Look for much more from the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron as we inch closer to the film’s May 1, 2015 release.