With Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters in coming weeks both abroad and in the US, interest in The Avengers: Age of Ultron is naturally being piqued, as Captain America 2 serves as the direct lead-in to Joss Whedon’s superhero team-up sequel. (Marvel Studios’ other 2014 tentpole, Guardians of the Galaxy will literally deal with a whole other side of the Marvel Movie Universe.)

The Captain America 2 cast is currently out doing press for their film, and actress (turned expecting mom) Scarlett Johansson had nothing but praise for the script that Joss Whedon has crafted for Age of Ultron, while a new rumor sort of reinforces one of the theories that we’ve had about The Avengers sequel and the films in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Age of Ultron Script

Speaking to Collider, here’s what Scar Jo had to say about the story that Whedon crafted for Avengers 2:

“I was just amazed—Joss is something else, he really is. He locks himself away for God knows how long; I think he has the dark circles to prove it. [He] just came out with something totally solid. I was really impressed by his ability to make this ever-expanding Marvel universe feel very close-knit and cerebral and progressive. I mean this movie feels like the continuation of The Avengers, it doesn’t feel like a tag-on or the rehashed version or just ‘let’s throw a bunch of new characters in there and keep the thing alive.’ It really feels like the next step, and all of our characters, our relationships with one another continue to progress, become more intertwined, more complicated, more meshed. And the film has a lot of great comic book moments that the fans are gonna love, but it’s also got a lot of really great dramatic moments that audience members, I think, will really relate to.”

While a lot of that quote echoes Thor actor Chris Hemsworth’s recent (and routine) praise of a “bigger, better” sequel, one has to wonder what the specifics are in regards to the ‘next step progressions’ of the story and characters. In The Avengers, the story and character arcs all centered on the idea of disparate personalities finding common ground to unite for greater purpose; we know the events of Captain America 2 put S.H.I.E.L.D. under scrutiny as a peace-keeping organization, while Iron Man 3 and the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have examined what the world is becoming now that superheroes and aliens have all been confirmed as existing.

Taken altogether, one can see where Age of Ultron might pick up with the next chapter of this grand saga.

If S.H.I.E.L.D. is crippled (or deemed obsolete), and new evil is rising up to rival the power of superheroes, one can surmise how something like an artificial intelligence (the robot Ultron, played by James Spader) might run amok and deem that the only way to protect the world is to save mankind from its own genetic arms race… And you’ve probably seen enough sci-fi movies to know how badly it goes when an A.I. decides to save humanity from itself.

Add to that the idea of super-powered beings (good or bad) creating a new and more dangerous world that can’t be policed in the old ways, and there is plenty of conflict present – both in the form of a mad robot, and the notions of freedom, protection and responsibility that the individual Avengers team members may disagree about.

With Tony Stark now powerless, Thor now earth-bound, Hulk in seclusion and Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye presumably without a home (if Winter Soldier goes the way we think it might), getting these people back together and on the same page is going to definitely be an interesting story – especially when they meet two new super beings in Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

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