Anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron is higher than ever, following the final trailer that was released on Wednesday. The new footage finally gave us our first official look at Vision, who is brought to life by Paul Bettany after years of voicing Tony Stark's computerized personal assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. in all three Iron Man movies and Marvel's The Avengers. SFX Magazine recently spoke with director Joss Whedon, who offered his take on Vision, and why he is so important in this sequel.
"Once again, he's someone who's completely different than anybody else in terms of his powers, his look, but also his perspective. He's artificial life and he's not caught up in the in-house bickering and the pain and self-doubt. He shows up and he's very certain. But we're not certain what he's certain of! And Paul's great, because he's so gentle, so compelling, but at the same time you're like 'He's nice but... what if murdered me?"
Of course, Vision isn't the only android who will be on display in the Marvel Phase Two sequel, with James Spader joining the MCU to portray Ultron. Joss Whedon also spoke about how "angry" Ultron truly is, which was a "gateway" for the writer-director to understanding this character.
"You know, he's really been a mainstay of The Avengers, but for me it's a robot who's angry. And that was a gateway for me to a robot who's completely irrational. I wanted to write a robot what we really haven't seen in this kind of movie, who can basically talk all the logical robot things, but then has hissy fits! He also has a real perspective on who The Avengers are, and a real beef with them. He's not a straw man. The thing that worked about Loki was that he was able to get inside everybody's head a little bit, and Ultron, he's got the same thing. He knows pretty much everything there is to know about these guys. The only way you can attack Earth's mightiest heroes is from within."
We already know that Ultron's origin in the movie has changed drastically from the comics. Instead of being created by Ant-Man's Hank Pym, Ultron comes to life through Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), although their creation turns against them. When asked why he didn't stick with the comic book origins, Joss Whedon had this to say.
"I didn't go back to them at all. You know, he was an angry robot. Angry all the time! That's one of the things that drew me to him - this guy's angry! Angry for like 50 years! You know, they reinvented him in Ultimates and stuff. At one point he was a beautiful woman... I'm not doing that one! I loved him when I read the comics as a kid, because of the scope and the sci-fi and what the team was going through, but I never looked to Ultron himself in the comics for why I love Ultron. I had an idea that I sort of extrapolated from that, so in that way he sort of a new guy. But he's been a tricky one to nail down. Not because the voice eluded me, but just in terms of 'How much of his agenda is he revealing? How much of his agenda does he even understand?' And then of course there's the inevitable over-explaining that we do in these things, where you're watching and you're like 'Okay, he said it enough, people know!'"
The director also talked about why James Spader was the perfect choice to portray the villainous Ultron.
"Everything I've ever given to Spader he's just knocked out of the park. But - and James and I talked about this - every now and then he'll have to do a non sequitur. And James is like 'I have to pull out this emotion from something that's not happening in this scene!' But that's who Ultron is. He's clicking on all these different cylinders. And James really took to it. It means that you can pretty much say anything sometimes! He's very much en scene, but at the same time, if he doesn't have a little bit of free associative lateral now and again, he's not going to be as much fun."
Joss Whedon also revealed that he recently had the first screening of the movie, and, when asked if he had one particularly favorite moment from the movie, he had this to say.
"Oh, there's more than one! Honestly, we screened the movie last night, and just to sit down and watch it, which is not something you really get to do at this stage... I was like okay, some of this is the bomb. Some of this is really really lovely. The actors are killing it, the sequences are exciting, the editors are amazing and Ben Davis, who shot it, has made it a work of art. There are some hardcore action sequences in this but what's really grand is how the characters play through those. It's always got to be about the people. Not just the smaller moments, where they're talking alone, but the way they're interacting during the action is really exciting for me. I'm a people person unless I'm in an actual room with people."
The director also spoke about what drives the story, revealing the Avengers are all searching for some sort of connection to this world they inhabit.
"What drives this story is the idea power and connection, and how the more you have of one the less you have of another. And the idea of heroes and whether or not that's a useful concept. I know it seems like we've heard that before but I feel that this movie makes an argument that is worth listening to. It's about damaged people, because guess what I like to write about! And it's about trying to find some kind of connection, because the Avengers are the most isolated people in the world. They're different to everyone else. They're richer, or stranger, or they're monsters or they're gods. Not one of them is really a part of the world. And this movie kind of drags them back down to Earth a little bit, which is both painful and exciting."