Real quick mission statement: this column is for discussion of superhero movie news and superhero movies. Titular allegiance aside, this sphere includes non-Marvel properties.
This week: Everything you need to know about where Age of Ultron is coming from and one crazy casting theory.
No Runaways movie? NO RUNAWAYS MOVIE?!?!?!
I guess the same week we get a Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show (which as of this writing has not aired, but will have aired by publishing) is not a good week to beg for more Marvel movies from a property I love, but I get to be a whiner, that’s what I get to do.
Anyway, this week, probably because the aforementioned Agents of Acronym series and its Avengers-related creator in Mr. Joss Whedon, there has been bits and pieces about The Avengers: Age of Ultron floating around the internet.
I’d like to spotlight two, both would be great introductory pieces into how Phase 2 is going to wrap up, even if we still have three movies to go before we can speculate on the greater shape of the second Avengers film plot.
First up! The San Diego Comic Con teaser that started all this, the one with the Iron Man helmet being bang’d and blown through to create the Ultron helmet:
It’s a little blurry, but you get the basic jist and the first look at the Movie Ultron design, though I doubt it’s anywhere close to what James Spader’s voice is going to come out of come 2015.
As many have asked: “Why and Iron Man helmet?” The possible solution seems to be that Tony Stark will be creating Ultron instead of Hank Pym, like in the comics. You might remember me talking about this back in my defense of Ant-Man.
This, plus part of the comic book villains origin story had many people thinking that Paul Bettany’s Jarvis A.I. from the first three Iron Man movies would pervert itself beyond the Singularity and become Ultron. I haven’t seen Blacklist, James Spader’s new TV show, yet, but I’m pretty sure Spader is more threatening than Bettany when communicating through voice over. Although Paul Bettany has been a faceless voice in four of the Top 40 Highest Grossing Movies of All Time, so maybe I should be looking forward to a voice-off. Jarvis Vs. Ultron: the audiobook war.
What is this mysterious connection between Ultron and Jarvis in the comics? Good thing for me (and for those readers who find me long-winded and asinine), my buddy Scott Collura at IGN did a really nice run through of Ultron’s history in comics.
I don’t remember the first time Scott and I hung out and talked about nerdy-nerd things, but each time we’re in a situation where drinks and movies are involved, we always have something to talk about. It’s never been Ultron (it usually has something to do with Star Trek, as Scott is a host of the Transporter Room 3 podcast), but it could have been. If I was making this video, I’d be super pissed at having to get screen shots from some of those lackluster stories. So bonus points to Scott.
Also: I would have highlighted Vision a bit more.
In case you aren’t watching these videos I’m embedding to explain awesomeness to you, here’s another featuring just how bad ass The Vision can be:
In those clips, he’s fighting the Avengers to get precious metals for which to build Ultron...again. Because Ultron creates Vision and part of Ultron’s whole thing is upgrading and being re-built. There was even a plot in the 90s that explained that everything Ultron builds has built in code that gives them uncontrollable impulses to re-build Ultron if there isn’t a version of Ultron around.
The reason I would feature more Vision while talking with Ultron is I’m pretty sure we’re quickly moving to this character’s introduction. And I think Vin Diesel is going to be playing him, mostly because Vin Diesel is pretty bad at keeping secrets.
Before being cast as the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel said he had “big” Marvel announcement news and was working on something. Then he got cast, put a picture of Groot up on his Facebook page and quickly clarified that Groot is just a bonus:
“When I met with Marvel it wasn’t for anything immediate, it was to talk about a film that would be introduced in the Phase 3 part of Marvel, not for a few years. You wouldn’t be able to see it for a few years. In my mind, Marvel were doing it right, they were enrolling me at the ground level which is the best way to enroll me.
“I had heard people over the last year, people saying on the social media page saying ‘What’s up Vin? Why aren’t you going to Marvel? Why aren’t you doing anything with Marvel? It would be a crime of cinematic history for you not to be in [Marvel movies]’
“So I was thinking ‘This Marvel thing is really becoming really important for these people. What can I do? What should I think about?’” I get the call, I go down to Marvel. A great meeting. It was even talking about something so big I can’t even talk about because it’s like the merging of brands in a way, which I won’t get into. That was something way, way, way, way, way down the road.
Way way down the road...as in 2016 or 2017. Phase 3.
Here’s the thing though: Vin Diesel, pre-Groot and Thanos speculation, first changed his Facebook profile picture to a picture of The Vision. The internet freaked out and he took it down, but that happened first. And it seems to me that Vin is an excitable geek who would love to be Vision and maybe - just maybe - they’re going to let him do it.
Join me in fantasy speculation land, good friends.
Tony Stark is going to create Ultron and The Avengers are going to defeat him with the help of The Vision’s main romantic squeeze, The Scarlet Witch. Ultron is gone, but not dead as Ultron always comes back. Now, assume Agents of Acronym is going to LMD (Life Model Decoy) Agent Coulson in some way (either Loki killed a decoy or Coulson’s now a decoy), we’re now living in a future where S.H.I.E.L.D. has android technology and Tony Stark has better tech than S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ultron was created by Tony Stark, so Ultron can make humanoid robots. He creates Vision, Vision bounces around the Marvel Cinematic Universe until he becomes an Avenger and falls in love with Scarlet Witch: done and done.
Back when everyone thought Vin Diesel was playing Thanos, someone got him to spill on his "Marvel role" that probably wasn't Groot: “Marvel was excited about bring a different kind of relationship, a different kind of love story.”
Like an android built by machines falling in love with a magic user? (winking emoticon)
As for the “merging brands” from the fist quote, that could be anything. They’ve got Vin Diesel in a Groot contract and who knows what’s in that contract. Could it be a multi-picture deal even though no one is talking about a Guardians 2? Sure.
How do you secretly cast someone in Avengers 2 without tipping off the press? Give them voice over work that couldn’t possibly take more than one day of saying “I am Groot” over and over into a microphone in a studio that could be anywhere in the world.
As always, the best source for Vin Diesel rumors is Vin Diesel, who posted this picture after his meeting at Marvel. Marvel aficionados will recognize that poster as the “Whedon spot” or the poster Joss Whedon changes when his directorial project changes. That was an Avenger #1 poster for years.
That’s Vin Diesel in front of an Avengers #2 poster, jacking the odds of a Vin Diesel post-credits tag up a few notches. He’s either the sneakiest source or the best troll. I guess I love it either way.