Once upon a time, back in the old days, Hollywood started a big promotional blitz for its upcoming blockbuster fare at San Diego Comic Con. Nowadays, that’s passe. What you need to do is start promoting your film the week BEFORE San Diego Comic Con. Case in point: Marvel has started a major promotional push for Avengers: Age of Ultron this week.
The big push comes from Entertainment Weekly, who is taking its annual one week break from throwing shade on anything comic book film related to publish its Comic-Con issue. And Avengers: Age of Ultron is the cover feature. And that cover gives us our first official look at the film’s titular villain, Ultron.
See that blurb that reads “Iron Man’s Master Plan,” well, the magazine is willing to spoil that for us:
For better or worse (trust us, it’s worse), his Tony Stark has devised a plan that won’t require him to put on the Iron Man suit anymore, and should allow Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk to get some much needed R&R as well. His solution is Ultron, self-aware, self-teaching, artificial intelligence designed to help assess threats, and direct Stark’s Iron Legion of drones to battle evildoers instead.
The only problem? Ultron (played by James Spader through performance-capture technology) lacks the human touch, and his superior intellect quickly determines that life on Earth would go a lot smoother if he just got rid of Public Enemy No. 1: Human beings. “Ultron sees the big picture and he goes, ‘Okay, we need radical change, which will be violent and appalling, in order to make everything better’; he’s not just going ‘Muhaha, soon I’ll rule!’” Whedon says, rubbing his hands together.
“He’s on a mission,” the filmmaker adds, and smiles thinly. “He wants to save us.”
So we now have confirmation that it’s Tony Stark, not Hank Pym, who creates Ultron. And no Iron Man 4 to explore the repercussions of that actions.
Obviously this is a staged photo. But it does tell us that Nick Fury will be making his appearance known.
In contrast, Kevin Feige’s interview with IGN seems anti-climatic, but in it he does reveal the changes to Stark Tower to make it the Avengers Tower:
Last time we saw Stark Tower, from The Avengers, it had gotten beat up a little bit thanks to Hulk and thanks to Loki and the Chituari, and Pepper and Tony were standing over a table looking at plans. That’s where we pulled out and all the letters had fallen away except the ‘A’ in Stark. So what they were doing was retro-fitting for The Avengers. And that’s what we see in this next film.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone – for people who are following along. S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded and brought down at the end of The Winter Soldier because it turned out to not be the best organization ever. So Tony’s bank-rolling The Avengers now. And he’s bank-rolling their headquarters. So it’s now Avengers Tower.
Tony designed it so in addition to a hanger for a brand-new Quinjet, laboratories, places where he can build and store his Iron Man suits, there are I believe two bars. Beautiful multiple space living rooms which are perfect for parties and social gatherings. But it’s a primary location in the film this time around.
What? You thought that when Tony destroyed all of his suits at the end of Iron Man 3 that it would be last you’d see of them?
Speaking of Iron Man suits, Feige also confirmed that we would be seeing the Hulkbuster suit of armor we saw in design paintings, and he teases us that we’ll see more:
There are a lot of scenes that you should be getting excited about. That is certainly one of them. I think I said a long time ago when Joss [Whedon] first did his six-page or 10-page outline for Avengers, there was a lot of work and the movie’s adapted quite a bit since then, but there were like six or seven signature things just in that. I said ‘Joss, even if we don’t do anything else. Just do these seven things, that’s enough for the movie. Now let’s get to work and put it all together.’ Those things are in the movie and are amazing, of which that sequence is one.
It seems like Avengers: Age of Ultron is gearing up to be an epic movie in scope. I’m sure there will be more scoop revealed in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, which hits better newsstands on Friday and next week at Marvel’s panel at the San Diego Comic Con.