Joss Whedon’s The Avengers remains the crowning achievement in Marvel Studios’ movie universe thus far, so expectations are sky-high for next year’s sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whedon started production the project in South Africa just last week, so it comes as little surprise to report that the first fan-shot images and videos from the set have emerged online.
Age of Ultron takes place in the aftermath of previous “Phase 2″ Marvel films, which means that set leaks could end up revealing details about the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in addition to (obviously) Whedon’s actual movie and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Phase 3″. Those who are especially sensitive to SPOILERS of any kind better batten down the hatches during the months ahead; those who are curious to see what tidbits the first set vids/photos have revealed (or hint at), read ahead to the next page.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently shooting in Johannesburg, which looks to be the real-world setting for one of the film’s action sequences (though rumors about Black Panther’s fictional home turf Wakanda persist), as the first set photos/videos reveal.
The popular theory so far is that the truck explosion and chaos shown below (filmed by onlookers and posted to their Instagram account) might have something to do with a rampaging Hulk, even though a previous report claimed that Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo isn’t present. Could Bruce Banner’s green-skinned side (or, as he calls it, the “other guy”) still be the source of trouble shown here?
These videos (check out another HERE) may well tease a Hulk attack sequence, which raises even more questions about the character’s role in the Age of Ultron story. In the past, there’s been talk about another Hulk solo movie being released as part of “Phase 3″ (or maybe 4), while the old rumor was that the Avengers sequel will conclude with Banner’s expulsion from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – due to him being unable to properly control his Hulk side. That could pave the way for a film inspired by the “Planet Hulk” and/or “World War Hulk” comic storylines – though, Whedon has dismissed the Planet Hulk idea as “nonsense.”
On that note, you can head over to Comic Book Movie for a look at images snapped up from the Avengers 2‘s South Africa shoot (offering a more up-close-and-personal look at the flaming vehicle depicted in the video above).
Still, even if the sequence being shot here has nothing to do with Banner or the “other guy,” there’s a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the Hulk’s role in this story (to mention nothing of his future in Marvel Movies). There’s littler reason to doubt that Whedon’s “dark” and “cerebral” script for Age of Ultron will touch on the duality of Banner/Hulk, while the actor who plays them has some ideas about a possible future movie – none of which suggests that the rage-fueled superhero will be, say, just carrying out missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. with nary a problem in this film.
Of course, there’s also the chance that the South Africa segment has something to do with Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye (the actor metup with Whedon recently ) – in which case, you have to wonder what “covert” mission he’s on that involves causing so much (and such public) collateral damage…
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters on April 4th, 2014, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.