Poor old DC. Just when they think they might have control of the superhero news cycle for a day by announcing where Superman/Batman will shoot, along comes Marvel with a casting bombshell that rains on its parade even as it mixes metaphors. What news, you ask? Only that James Spader will play the titular menace in Avengers sequel Age Of Ultron.
Originally announced by writer/director Joss Whedon at Comic-Con, Age Of Ultron will see Tony Stark and the shawarma-gang taking on a brand new threat torn from the pages of Marvel comic lore and given a spit-and-polish origin story for the big screen. Ultron is a criminally insane, sentient robot dedicated to conquest and the extermination of humanity. He comes loaded with several powers, including, strength, agility, stunning intelligence and, oh yes, a rage-filled loathing for our heroes and an intent to destroy them. Bad robot! Bad!
Spader seems like a fine choice to play the role, given his ability to play smarts, snark and menace when required. Plus he should have a proper handle on Whedon’s trademark snappy dialogue, assuming Ultron gets to be quippy. Marvel’s statement doesn’t specify if he’ll be simply voicing the role, suiting up or stepping into a performance capture outfit a la Mark Ruffalo’s take on the Hulk, but we’d guess the latter. Spader's never done cartoon voice work or performance-capture before, so this marks a brave new dawn for the actor. But don't worry: he got a message of encouragement from the last guy to tangle with the supergroup, as Tom Hiddleston tweeted his support (see below).
With Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, and most likely Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner back, the new cast will also include Elizabeth Olsen (assuming her deal closes) and a rumoured Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron will be out on May 1, 2015.