Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron Promotional Art Hits En Masse

Over the past 2 days, a good deal of promotional art for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron has hit the web and some of it gives some potentially interesting new details on a couple of new characters.

I'm not sure what opened the flood gates, but the past couple of days saw a whole bunch of promotional art for May's Avengers: Age of Ultron. These are the images Marvel Studios will be using to promote the film in stores and on merchandise and some of them give us our first really good looks at one the characters I'm most excited to see in the film: the Vision.

The most interesting of the promo art was a piece that not only gave us a good look at Paul Bettany's Vision, but also origins for him and Ultron.

I've transcribed the pertinent text below, starting with Ultron:
First discovered as simple computer program hidden among the ruins of the Chitauri invasion of New York, the being known as Ultron soon completed its development into a sophisticated artificial intelligence after some experimentation by Tony Stark. Ultron's first shocking ultimatium upon gaining consciousness was to declare the human race its enemy. Setting out to exterminate all life on the planet, the unstable and emotional Ultron seeks to upgrade its mechanical body to an ultimate, unstoppable form. With an army of robotic drones and the ability to enter and corrupt any computer network, Ultron will stop at nothing to see humanity wiped out.
A lot of people around the web have taken the description to mean that Ultron is a Chitauri computer program based on what's honestly not a very well-worded description and I can see why; however, I'm much more inclined to believe that the Ultron program is going to be something man-made, possible even by Dr. Hank Pym during his time with S.H.I.E.L.D in the 60's based on some evidence in the Avengers: Age of Ultron official synopsis:

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
That's something we've all seen before and I certainly wondered about the part that reads, "When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program."  If I'm reading the evidence correctly, the dormant peacekeeping program will be what was discovered in New York AMONG the ruins of the Chitauri invasion and that peacekeeping program will be Ultron. We know that Ant-Man will feature a good deal of flashbacks to the 60s when Hank Pym was working alongside Howard Stark and Alexander Pierce and it would have taken next to nothing to mention Pym working on peacekeeping program especially when it is EXACTLY the type of thing Hank Pym would do. So it seems that this program will have been found among the rubble and worked on by Tony Stark in secret. We've already seen the outcome of all that in the trailer and we know where it's headed and the rest of the description gives a lot of evidence to support all the guesses as to why Ultron eventually heads to Wakanda: he wants Vibranium to make his physical form unstoppable. Finally, the idea of him being able to access and corrupt computer programs adds some depth as to why J.A.R.V.I.S. gets a body and the rumored "trap" set of Ultron at the end of the film (the one that ends up with Banner getting shot into space as collateral damage).

The text for the Vision reveals that the majority of his coolest powers will be displayed on film and adds some insight into Mark Ruffalo's comments that the Vision is "his baby." If I had to guess based on the existing evidence, I'd say that Banner and Stark get to work on the Vision after Ultron's first visit (the one we see in the trailer) when they've realized that J.A.R.V.I.S. got hacked. I've transcribed the description below:
Programmed by the combined geniuses of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and imparted with the ability to fly, project intense energy beams and change the density of his form, the Vision has proved himself a worthy hero, aiding the Avengers in their struggle against the evil A.I. Ultron.
It's possible that Banner and Stark were working on the Vision before all that, of course, and I'm just guessing here, but I like the idea of the Vision being created as a response to Ultron which would still kinda, sorta make Ultron responsible for his creation. It'll be very interesting to me to see how all this actually plays out in the films, but right now I'm starting to see Ant-Man as a very crucial piece of connective tissue to the MCU's past, present and future.

Check out the rest of the promo art below, including some great looks at the Vision, Ultron and the Hulkbuster: