Kevin Feige finally decided to spill some more details about Avengers: Age of Ultron when he sat down with SFX Magazine. In the interview he discusses the reasoning for their choice of Ultron as the villain, the relationship to the similarly title comic, and the new casting choices for the film.
When choosing an antagonist in a film, you have to realize how many parts of that film will be affected due to the strength of the opposing force and the affect that opposition has on the entire plot and its characters. Joss Whedon strongly pushed for Ultron as the villain thinking that he was the most viable choice for reuniting the time once again. When he presented his idea to Feige, he had found a way to create a great story that adapted the origin of Ultron into the cinematic universe.
Joss Whedon had a great idea for the character and how to use him to unify the Avengers again and acquire their services once more. He was a favorite. Joss and I were on the production of the first Avengers movie and we started having conversations about Ultron, and how he could come about and how we could adapt his origin to the continuity of the cinematic universe. It literally was just little discussions between takes but thankfully Joss files all that kind of stuff away in his brain. Then when the time arrived, he started outing it, so he went back to that and built a very good story.
For the comic book fans out there, you may be familiar with last year’s popular miniseries titled “Age of Ultron” which focused on an alternate timeline where Ultron ruled the Earth. Given that the next Avengers film carries the same title, many have wondered how many similarities would exist between the comic and the film. It turns out that they were in love with the name rather than the story. They couldn’t just title the film “Avengers 2,” they needed a catchy subtitle to accompany such a big sequel and “Age of Ultron” seemed to fit best.
We didn’t want to merely have a ‘2’ after Avengers so we wanted to give it a subtitle. We have various things that we were looking at and Age of Ultron – which just happened to be a the name of a comic book series as well – was our favorite.
When it came to casting Ultron, the choice seemed to be a simple one. Due to an introduction between Kevin Feige and James Spader in the past, Feige thought that James Spader belonged in the Avengers universe. Fortunately, Ultron turned out to be the part for Spader.
“I first met James Spader two or three years ago. I thought it would be great to have him in our universe and we finally found the right role with Joss’s version of Ultron.”
With the addition of a new villain there comes the addition of two new heroes. Besides the question of casting (which has been answered), many have wondered how and why Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will fit into the story and if there will now be too many heroes to follow. Feige assures that Joss Whedon has found a way to incorporate them into the story while juggling the proper amount of screen time so that it’s not distracting. Overall, Feige claims they do hold a purpose and are not just added fluff.
It’s always a balance with any movie, not to overwhelm it with too many story elements. Certainly when it comes to comic book movies, you can fall into the trap of having too many villains and in the case of team-based movies, having too many heroes. But what Joss has in mind to bring those characters into the story happens in a very natural fashion over the course of the story. It’s also the tradition of the Avengers to switch up the roster every now and again and to have new characters coming in. It’s just part of the fun, but we wouldn’t have included them if it had just been a case of ‘Oh, we want two new figures, two new costumes.’ It very much flows with the story that Joss is creating.