Report: Paul Bettany is taking a shocking on-screen role in ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’

02.06.14 4 years ago 15 Comments

Normally, I would ignore anything printed by The Daily Mail, which is notoriously untrustworthy, but they’ve just posted something that fits in so neatly with other information that we can confirm that it sounds like the broken clock is indeed, in this case, telling the correct time. Besides, I’m seeing other way more reliable folks like The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit weighing in, and it’s starting to look like this is for real.

According to their report, Paul Bettany will finally play a live-action role in a Marvel Universe movie, and it would make perfect sense based on the way things will play out in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The long-time voice-only computer butler to Tony Stark will make the jump to playing the long-anticipated character The Vision.

Fans have been assuming since the title announcement was made last year at Comic-Con that Ultron would be the creation of Tony Stark in this film, as opposed to Hank Pym, who has traditionally played that role in the comics. That’s a safe bet, and Stark does indeed play a major role in the birth of the character. Fans have also assumed that Jarvis would somehow factor into Ultron’s birth, which also makes sense. After all, Stark has apparently had a fully-functioning AI working for him since before the opening of “Iron Man,” something that he seems to treat as sort of matter of fact and totally normal.

We’re still a full year-plus away from “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but casting the film is going to end up tipping their hand on much of what they’re planning, and having Bettany play The Vision and having Ultron played by James Spader creates a distinction between them as characters since they share similar DNA, but it also explains exactly what they’ve got planned for The Vision. If Ultron is the part of Jarvis that hates and resents Tony Stark, then The Vision may well ultimately turn out to be the part that loves him. Certainly sounds like a strong way to keep “The Avengers 2” focused on everything that’s already happened in the Marvel Universe instead of introducing a brand-new threat just for this movie.

This is the thing that you get from creating a large long-game continuity. You can pay things off and pick threads up and tie things together and root it all back to character. I think it is clear even at this point, just looking at what they’ve announced and confirmed, to assume that over the course of not just “Age of Ultron” but everything from now until the third “Avengers” film, Tony Stark will not just emerge as the greatest hero of the Marvel Universe, but also the greatest villain in many ways. His creation of the Iron Man tech and his reveal of himself as a hero has set off every event we’ve seen in some way, and even though Captain America comes before Tony, his father was there for those events, tied to them, and Tony still ended up becoming the linchpin to the way Cap was brought back into service. I have no idea how things end for Tony in “Age of Ultron,” but it looks like he’s tied completely to the villain, and that will certainly set things up for them to play out some very personal character drama for Tony. Where they’ll do that, I have no idea, but knowing that Downey contracted for both “Avengers” sequels, it’s a safe bet Marvel will use him as much as possible in those movies, using the other films to move things forward with possible references to him.

There were also reports today that have “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” taking a 2016 release day, possibly in May, and if that turns out to be true, that is another huge sign of confidence from Marvel, coming close on the heels of them commencing the Russo Brothers to start developing a third “Captain America” movie. Marvel seems to be happy with the films they’re seeing in the editing rooms, and that has me excited to see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” especially after Sunday’s enormously confident Super Bowl spot. I was already excited about “Guardians of the Galaxy” based on everything I saw during my time in London visiting the set, but to hear that Marvel is happy with the end result is exciting. They’re taking a real chance with that movie. There’s nothing easy about it. It’s a space opera, a big comic adventure movie with some real sadness and some real anger, and it introduces some very complicated mythology that starts to fill out threads they’ve already introduced in other films.

If this is indeed the casting this is great news, and it looks from where I’m sitting like Joss Whedon’s been let off the leash by Marvel to do something truly extraordinary.

We’ll see when “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” opens May , 2015.

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