One of the hottest tickets at the 2014 edition of Comic-Con, the annual nerd mecca in San Diego, was the Marvel presentation. Over 6,000 fans squeezed into Hall H to check out footage of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the blockbuster sequel to the $1.5 billion-grossing superhero extravaganza due to hit theaters May 1, 2015.
Marvel trotted out the entire cast of the film, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Paul Bettany (Vision), James Spader (Ultron), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), and last but not least, Josh Brolin as Thanos, who took the stage wearing an Infinity Gauntlet. Sadly, filmmaker Joss Whedon couldn’t be in attendance because he was at home resting up from knee surgery.
“There’s a whole lot going on in this one,” Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor, told The Daily Beast. “The first film was about them coming together and forming a team. This one is about that structure being challenged and threatened and about them falling out and working out what they believe in because they’re faced with something that forces them all to think a little differently then they have in the past. In Thor’s instance he sees a bigger picture, he sees there’s something else going on—that this particular event could spiral off into the rest of the universe.”
The footage opened at Avengers Tower in the middle of a celebration party, with the superheroes seeing who can try and pick up Thor’s hammer. Then Ultron materializes, deeming the Avengers “unworthy,” before summoning a fleet of drone suits to attack the heroes.
“Ultron is the uber-villain; he is all the knowledge that is or ever was,” said Spader. “His ideas on how to solve the problems of humanity and the prism through which he sees the world is very, very dark—Biblical, in a way.”
“It’s easily the best bad guy plot I’ve ever read in a script let alone gone out and shot,” adds Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.
In the footage, we also got to see (human) Andy Serkis, as well as a battle royale between Hulk and Iron Man in his patented Hulkbuster armor. In Ultron, Paul Bettany, who’d previously served as the voice of Jarvis, will once again join Iron Man—only this time as The Vision.
“The Vision is born and he is partly Jarvis, and he is partly something else—and that won’t be good,” said Bettany. According to Downey Jr,: “The problem is Tony’s like, ‘I have a really good idea,’ and that’s when things go wrong.” Stark unleashes an artificial intelligence that cannot be controlled. “When you see what Bettany does with Vision, I think you’re really going to dig it,” he adds.
Age of Ultron will also address our reliance on technology and the fear of where it could lead. “It could be The Singularity or it could be Terminator 9, who knows,” said Downey Jr. “It’s a big question mark, and fortunately it’s addressed in this. All your questions about existence will be answered in Age of Ultron.”