James Spader, soon to appear in NBC’s new drama The Blacklist, will find time in that shooting schedule (we’d say most likely during next summer’s break) to play the titular android nemesis of The Avengers in Joss Whedon’s much anticipated conclusion to Marvel’s Phase 2, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Presumably, Spader will just be supplying the voice to Ultron, though we suppose some motion capture for what figures to be a computer generated superpowered robot isn’t entirely out of the question. Hey, the folks over at Industrial Light and Magic did a pretty darn good job on Iron Man and the Hulk, so we’re not too worried about another all-CGI character.
Although there are a couple roles to still be officially nailed down, Spader’s casting fills the final major void in the Avengers sequel. The entire superhero team from the first movie was already returning, so only a few peripheral heroes remain in flux. As mentioned, Spader’s focus seems to be on TV for the moment, but that’s not stopping him from getting in a few film licks, too. In addition to a memorable role in last year’s Lincoln, Spader is set to appear in Tommy Lee Jones’s star-studded pioneer period pic The Homesman, which is currently completing post production and is still seeking distribution.
As for his character, Joss Whedon has said Ultron will make something of a departure from his comic book origins, but it remains to be seen how far; Dr. Hank Pym, better known as Ant-Man in the comics, was one of the original creators of the oft-destroyed-and-rebuilt Ultron, and it’s worth noting that the Ant-Man movie is the first out of the gate for Marvel’s Phase 3. No actor has been cast yet for director Edgar Wright’s (The World’s End) movie, but with a while to go before such a cameo role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron would need to shoot, we wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel, Wright, and Whedon latched on to that particular unifying thread. It’s easy to imagine Pym working for the U.S. government (the purported creators of Ultron this time around), and his guilt over having helped create the menace could easily lead into his origins story and inform the character’s frequent mental instability.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to hit theaters May 1st, 2015.