There’s less than five months to go before Marvel brings the curtain down on Phase Two of the Cinematic Universe with Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the director has been speaking in depth to IGN about the hotly-anticipated sequel, including expanding the world of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the introduction of new characters like The Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and of course the AI villain Ultron.
” I wanted Paul [Bettany] to play this part since before I wanted to make Avengers movies,” states Whedon on The Vision. “He’s just got, let’s face it, it’s about cheek bones, people… Before I took the first job, I said, ‘Well, I don’t know if I’m right for this, or if I want it, or you want me, but in the second one, the villain has to be Ultron, and he has to create the Vision.’ And then it took me three years before I could tell Paul [Bettany] that I’d had that conversation, but after that, I stopped. I was like, that would be cool if you have Ultron, and you have Vision and Paul played him. And Scarlet Witch and Pietro, definitely. They’re from my era, they’re very different, their powers are different, it’s not all punching, it gives a different palette, so we can do more interesting things.”
On the subject of the twins, Whedon went on to discuss the ‘Age of Miracles’: “Strucker’s been doing experiments, and he’s got the scepter, and he’s been using alien tech to do them. It’s kind of where I landed with that. But look for an exciting retcon in Avengers 6! Well, you know, “strong but damaged by power” describes every person in this movie. It may, in fact, describe what the movie is about. You know, the more power that we have, the less human we are. [Scarlet Witch’s[ damage pre-dates her power. These kids have — they’ve had a rough history. Is she in an idiom with which I am comfortable? Why, yes, she is!”
He also discussed whether Quicksilver’s appearance in X-Men: Days of Future Past forced him to change his approach: “Not really. I mean, there’s some things that we now would probably care to avoid. But we were never doing the same version. Obviously at some point we’ll go into slow mo because, you know, that’s what’s fun about a super speedy guy. I mean, for me, what’s fun about Quicksilver isn’t necessarily seeing Quicksilver, it’s seeing the Avengers. They really took to the mattresses with that one scene, but it’s… He’s just a very different guy in ours and I think we’re just kind of proceeding as planned.”
On the new villain, Whedon said: “Ultron feels a certain distance from humanity, and the day [James] Spader got here we put on the mocap pajamas, a giant thing with red dots on it for his eye line, and, you know, giant pack, and a helmet with two cameras in his face with lights to record his performance. He then did a scene with Scarlett [Johansson]. But she did not look him in the eye because she was looking up in his eye line, nor could he see her because he had two lights shining in his face, and he had his glasses on. Therefore, he [Spader] has a certain distance from humanity, too. And god bless him, he was wonderful. And very game. And has been the whole time. He’s very interested in the mechanics of the mechanics. And finding the humanity. He and I share a genuine love of this version of Ultron, and he has an innate eccentricity in his delivery that is everything that I had hoped Ultron would be. You know, hopefully, you will come out of this, if not agreeing with him, then getting him, and getting his pain, which leads to a lot of damage, and some humor. The important thing for me is he’s not this external thing. He’s not, you know, Independence Day. I’m not criticizing that movie, but I’m saying that when he’s in his scenes, you want to feel like he will never understand that he’s not the hero.”
And finally, he also elaborated on his previous comments about the movie being much bigger than its 2012 predecessor: “I remember saying it was harder. But it is bigger. The cast is bigger. The scope is bigger. You know, we have more to work with. Not that we’re trying to spend more. In fact, we’re trying to avoid bloat. Wherever possible. You know, with this, we’re on a broader canvas. We’re in more countries. We have a bigger world to work with, and a bigger world for them just to be in. Sort of, once they exist as a team, we have to deal with what everybody thinks about that, and what that means to the world. It’s not as simple as it was.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release in the UK on April 24th 2015 and North America on May 1st 2015, with Joss Whedon directing a cast that includes Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (The Incredible Hulk), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Paul Bettany (JARVIS / The Vision), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), James Spader (Ultron), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Strucker), Josh Brolin (Thanos) and Andy Serkis in an as-yet-unrevealed role.