Revealed, to great fanfare, at this year’s Comic-Con, was the title to the hugely anticipated Avengers sequel (The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and its release date (May 1, 2015). Joss Whedon will be back to direct and write, and will likely be reunited with stars Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. Which left one big question. Who would play titular bad guy Ultron?
This morning, we had an answer: James Spader.
Marvel, the comic-book empire behind Avengers, announced in a press release that the Emmy-winning Spader (who will be back on TV in the upcoming series The Blacklist) would play one of the “biggest villains” to challenge the team of superheroes.
Ultron is a robot (a “force,” per the studio’s tagline); in the Avengers movie, Ultron is created by the U.S. government, meant to do the Avengers’ jobs for them, and, as anyone who’s ever seen a robot movie other than Wall-E might have predicted, that doesn’t work out. The character has been around, in several different incarnations with several different origin stories, since the 1960s.
Age of Ultron, the comic book version, is much newer: the first installation came out just this May—and, though the story opens in a ravaged New York City that should be familiar to those who saw the first movie, Whedon has said that his script is not an adaptation of that story. (The Hollywood Reporter and Wired both have more complete run-downs on the Ultron mythology, for those who are interested.)
Die-hard Whedonites, however, might be surprised that the director is—as he put it—”#madthrilledbtw” to have Spader as his next big baddie. After all, one of his most famous characters is known to think that the actor doesn’t exactly inspire a case of the wiggins. In the very first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, popular Cordelia tests new-girl-in-school Buffy to determine whether she’ll fit in at Sunnydale:
Cordelia: Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You’re from L.A., so you can skip the written, but let’s see. Vamp nail polish?
Buffy : Um, over?
Cordelia: So over. James Spader?
Buffy : He needs to call me.
Buffy : Trendy, but tasty.
Cordelia: John Tesh?
Buffy : The Devil.
Cordelia: That was pretty much a gimme, but… you passed.