James Spader has added another villain to the long list of villains that he has played in his career. On Aug. 29, 2013, Marvel Entertainment announced on its official Internet outlets (website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that Spader has been cast as the robot villain Ultron in the 2015 movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Spader’s name immediately became a Top 10 worldwide trending topic on Twitter. And the fans’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, unlike the mostly negative reactions to Warner Bros. Pictures’ controversial decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman in an still-untitled Superman/Batman movie.
On July 20, 2013, Marvel Studios revealed at Comic-Con International in San Diego that the second “Avengers” movie is called “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The cast members of the original “Avengers” movie are expected to return, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Chris Evans as Captain America. And it’s highly likely that a superhero from the Marvel universe will be added to “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
“The Avengers” (which is available on demand, DVD, Blu-ray and digital download) was the highest-grossing movie of 2012. The movie sold $623 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada and a total of $1.5 billion in tickets worldwide.
Joss Whedon, who directed and wrote the first “Avengers” movie, is back on board as director/writer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which is set for a U.S./Canadian release date on May 1, 2015. (The movie’s release dates in other countries may vary.) Details about the “Ultron” plot are being kept a secret, but Whedon commented to Entertainment Weekly (before the announcement was made about Spader getting the Ultron role) about how he envisions the Ultron character: “I knew right away what I wanted to do with him. He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain.
“And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [a new character, Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch … As a character I love [Ultron], because he’s so pissed off.”
Given the way that Whedon crafts larger-than-life, non-human characters (such as The Hulk) in his movies, Spader will likely have to do motion-capture work, rather than donning a clunky robot costume.
As for other actors in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Elizabeth Olsen is in final negotiations to play Scarlet Witch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. An official announcement has not yet been made about who has the role. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who co-stars with Olsen in the 2014 “Godzilla” movie) has told the media that he is in talks to play Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch’s brother.
Emmy-winning Spader has had several roles in movies and television. He has made a career out of playing villains or amoral characters. On TV, he has had starring roles in “The Practice,” “Boston Legal” and “The Blacklist.”
He has had starring roles in such movies as1987’s “Less Than Zero,” 1989’s “Sex, Lies and Videotape” 1990’s “Bad Influence.” In his more recent movies, Spader has had supporting roles, such as in 2012’s “Lincoln” and “The Homesman,” which does not have a release date yet.
As previously mentioned, Twitter had immediate reactions to the news about Spader being cast as Ultron.
Tom Hiddleston, who plays the Marvel villain Loki, tweeted: “Go on, James Spader. Go get ’em. @Avengers #AgeOfUltron.” Hiddleston’s statement was retweeted thousands of times.
Here is a sampling of other Twitter reactions from fans:
“James Spader as ULTRON?! Into it.”
“At least it’s not Affleck RT @Avengers: James Spader set to play #Ultron in #Marvel’s #Avengers”
“::geek flail!!!!:: RT @AgentM: BREAKING NEWS: James Spader set to play #Ultron in #Marvel’s @Avengers: #AgeOfUltron!”
“James Spader? In MY Avengers? YAY!!!”