The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an ‘X-Men’ Crossover

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 18th, 2014 at 1:38 pm,

Avengers 2 Age of Ultron Logo The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Since Marvel’s The Avengers first hit theaters, fans have debated which new enemies and conflicts would be brought in to The Avengers 2, with many citing the film as the point at which Marvel would ‘go cosmic.’ When the aforementioned sequel was revealed to be The Avengers: Age of Ultron at San Diego Comic Con 2013, the speculation didn’t end – it merely changed.

But with confusion over the likes of Ant-Man, the addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and the continuing absence of Thanos – the character once thought to be guiding the franchise as a whole – Joss Whedon has offered to explain the sequel’s name, the lack of a certain ‘Mad Titan,’ and why ‘team-ups’ – especially cross-studio ones – aren’t going to be a regular occurrence.

For starters, there’s good chance that when movie fans first heard of the Age of Ultron subtitle, a quick online search informed them of the Brian Michael Bendis series of the same name. Unfortunately, while Hank Pym a.k.a. Ant-Man was Ultron’s creator in that series, his absence in the Marvel movie universe requires some significant changes.

Hawkeye vs Ultron in The Avengers Age of Ultron The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Marvel head Kevin Feige has been forthcoming about the changes made by Whedon, and in an interview with Total Film, the director reiterated that while the sequel’s title might be confusing to some, they couldn’t let a title that good go to waste:

“It’s not based on the series. Honestly, we went through a lot of titles – Underoos Of Ultron. None of them landed…Underoos would’ve been better because of the alliteration. But Age of Ultron really stuck. We were like, ‘It’s a book, but we’re still going to use it’.”

“We’re not going to see Pym and all the accoutrements. Ultron is more central to the Avengers as they are. But we will explore the idea of lineage, because he was created by us and we’ve got to own that… Then we have the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and I think that’s plenty, because Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch did not begin their time as friends of the Avengers, so there’s going to be a lot of, well, conflict.”

Whedon’s use of the words “created by us” provides yet another hint at the new origin story of Ultron concocted for the film, and could imply that it’s not just Tony Stark who is responsible for the villain’s creation (as we have already speculated), but that S.H.I.E.L.D. may have a hand in it as well. The decision to remove Hank Pym from the origin story will likely still be a sore spot for Ant-Man fans, but look at it this way: Marvel still seems bent on giving the character his own film, not merely an appearance alongside the Avengers.

Thanos Imperative 3 Art The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Tweaking a villain’s backstory to better fit existing themes and characters is all well and good (and apparently an idea Whedon has had for years), but there was a time when Marvel was thought to be risking their grounded approach to superheroes with Phase Two; launching Earth’s heroes into cosmic conflicts. At one point, some even claimed that Iron Man 3 would end with Tony Stark heading into space to meet Marvel’s next super-team, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Though the concept may seem odd in hindsight – given the completely different tone and fiction seen in the Guardians teaser footage – the inclusion of Thanos in The Avengers put the writing in the wall on the first place.

Yet Whedon explains that mixing the Avengers with cosmic characters like the Guardians is a slippery slope, and while Thanos most certainly exists in the movie universe, seeing him put center stage is still a long way off:

“We have to stay grounded. It’s part of what makes the Marvel universe click – their relationship to the real world. It’s science-fiction, and Thanos is not out of the mix, but Thanos was never meant to be the next villain. He’s always been the overlord of villainy & darkness.”

Bad news for Thanos fans, then (even if acting as a a malevolent force behind the scenes is in keeping with his character). While we’re on the subject of disappointment, the subject of an Avengers/X-Men crossover event also came up in the interview.

Whedon Talks Avengers X Men Crossover The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Although some in the X-Men camp would love to see the competing studios pool resources for an event film – and Hugh Jackman is dying to “kick Iron Man’s ass” on screen – Whedon has some more bad news:

“That’s not the plan. It would be cool but I think right now I already have a ton of very talented actors in my movie playing a ton of characters, and I’m about to add a few more. So I’m not like, ‘How can we get more licensed characters because I want to kill myself and make a nine-hour movie.’”

Hard to argue that Whedon will have a hard enough time making Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye more important in the sequel, maintaining Scarlett Johansson’s Widow as a “huge part” of the story, and introducing both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Perhaps it’s best to keep superhero characters in a single film down to a dozen?

There’s nothing saying that Thanos fighting the Avengers, Ant-Man joining the team or Marvel and Fox’s movie universes blending together can’t happen at some point down the road, but for now, let us know what you think of the decisions. Should Tony Stark be made the creator of the team’s next foe? Should the Avengers stay rooted in the real? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases on May 1, 2015

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Total Film (via CBM)

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. It seems to me that Ultron will be built to battle the forces of Quicksilver & possibly the witch. (Witch will be mad bc she at least thinks her man, Coulson, is dead.) They will have to team up to take care of Ultron by the end. Either way, the Scarlet Witch as a woman scorned by the thought of Coulson’s death will make her character even more interesting.

    • Why would Scarlet Witch care about Coulson? Where has it ever been hinted that they knew each other or were romantically engaged? As far as I know Coulson is single with an affinity for trading card’s and cars named Lola, not magic mutants.

      • @Kris – They repeatedly mentioned that Coulson was dating a Cellist, and that is the Scarlet Witch. It is conceivable that the Cellist is not her, but there would have been no reason to mention it repeatedly like they did. Movies are edited to get rid of things that are pointless and keep things that advance the story.

        • Now that’s a great little tidbit of information and could be a possible explanation for Coulson’s return to life in “Agents of SHIELD”.

      • i think he means the comment coulson made in avengers about dating a cellist in portland, some people seem to think its scarlet witch cause she’s a cellist.

        • Yes, he mentioned it and then Stark mentioned it after Coulson was dead. Mentioning the cellist thing twice has meaning to it, and that is the Scarlet Witch. My theory (which nobody else seems to like, but it’s my thoughts so I don’t care) is that Scarlet Witch is devistated after Coulson’s death & basically wills him back to life. She has done this repeatedly in the comics (House of M, Disassembled, Children’s Crusade, etc..). It may not work for the movies but I would love to see this.

      • There was a cellist…

        • Thats a cool theory, but i think the cellist thing as well as the cards were a combined effort to add a little more personality to the character to show hes not just some strait faced agent, so when he dies the loss hits more on a personal level. but hey he came back to life and i hope im wrong because i like your idea

          • There’s also that theory about how coulson could be vision, scarlet witch is involved with vision in the comics

  2. I’ll tell you this much, one day, and I have no clue how far away, they will crossover X-Men and The Avengers. It happened in the comics, and there is no reason (down the road; not NOW) that these filmmakers will walk away from the money that could be made from a event of that magnitude. Fox and Disney will eventually cave in to the fans. It’s only a matter of when that will happen.

    • You’re dreaming. Imagine the first five minutes of the discussion regarding how the profits will be split. Studios couldn’t care less about what the consumer wants. They care ONLY about their bottom lines.

    • What would be so cool, is to have both companies but together the resources, but have two releases. Fox version with the X-men winning in the end and then Disney where Avengers win. Won’t happen but that is fan-tasy at it’s finest.

  3. Maybe Shield tries to make their own
    “IRON MAN” given that Tony Stark has taken out his arc reactor! and just maybe shield likes the thought of having their own IM and being able to “control” it better than they can or could control Stark!

  4. would love hugh jackman in this universe. can only dream though i guess.

  5. He says to hard to write a script with 12 heros….what do they plan on doing after this movie?? I still think he’s going to kill some heros this time around. If he doesn’t then it wouldn’t be an Ultron movie.

  6. I still don’t see why Pym can’t be in the background somewhere as the creator of Ultron. Maybe Pym works for Stark? Maybe revealed in his solo film? Either way I am excited we get both on the big screen.

  7. I really really hope sam rockwell returns as Justin Hammer to create Ultron with the help of another villain

    • And I hope the first person Ultron kills is Justin Hammer.

  8. Is Thanos the one which is a rip off of Darkseid??

  9. I am one who has not read many comics, so this is my first exposure to many of these characters. Ultron sounds very, very cool…without a lot of prior and/or in-depth knowledge, Ultron is a lot more compelling to me than Thanos. (Just based on what I know, which isn’t much.) Thus, I am more interested in Avengers 2 than I was a couple of months ago. Frankly, the Chitari (sp?) were by far the least exciting part of the first film, but I am getting genuinely excited now.

  10. Who’s to say in avengers 2 they loose – introduce ant man after avengers 2 and have avengers 3 as the next movie therefore introducing hank pym ??

    Just a thought

  11. The only thing I want to see is Evan Peters playing Quicksilver. That way both X-Men and Avengers universes are linked and we can live without a cross over film for a while just so long as the seeds are set. By casting a different actor (possibly Kick Ass’ Aaron Johnson) then already there has been a anomily amongst the two universes.

    If the seeds are set then the rest will grow.

    I like @Martin idea that works pretty well to me.

  12. The biggest issue I’d like to see addressed is that we always have a group of good guys against one main bad guy and his faceless minions. I would like to see our heroes go up against a GROUP of bad guys, each one being as interesting an individual as our good guys are.

  13. As a huge comic book fan I think the directors and film makers should stick to the comic books and the original stories. I mean your movie script is already in for of a comic book and they should also stick to the original costumes as much as possible. Cross filming between studios would be amazing, I mean almost all the films are being filmed in NYC, and yet spider man never ran into the fantastic four, or the avengers into daredevil. It would be really cool to have other characters jump in and help. Like can you imagine how much more awesome the avengers movie wouldve of been if like the fantastic four came in out of nowhere and started to help out. And the Thing and the hulk went on a rampage just kicking butt. Im mean this is stuff comic fans dream of.

    • Chris Evans would have a hard time playing Johnny Storm and Captain America at the same time. In Whedon’s position I would also intentionally distance myself from the Fantastic Four movie.

    • Agreed

  14. Keep Stark as the Creator of Ultron. If Pym isnt in the movie, why bother making him the Creator. Please make the Hulk much larger/taller/wider, less hair and more ferocious, and hint at his veering away from the Avengers and doing his own thing, more of the Banner/Hulk conflict, and Hulk eventually taking out Ultron in a fit of extreme rage because he would have too. Then end it with a full body shot of Thanos viewing the battle from his ship and hint at Thaanos preparing something for earth, introduce Pym, then you will have a great movie

  15. NO NO NO!!!!! A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!!!! OH MY GOD ARE THESE WRITERS INSANE WHY DO THEY KEEP IGNORING THE FANS AND JUST CHANGING THESE CHARACTERS ANYWAY THEY WANT? I MEAN FIRST WOLVERINE, THEN SUPERMAN, AND NOW THIS! The story is fine the way it was, we want to see what we grew up reading not your interpretation that is why we go to see movies about comics so we can see the comics on the big screen. I don’t want to see a movie about Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles only to find out that they are not, TEEN AGE ALIEN SPROUT PEOPLE. I can’t believe that these people think they can just change around the comics like this, Hollywood is not even like for the people anymore. We should start protesting or singing petitions if this keeps up. I do feel that Ben Aflect might be a good batman though, but I don’t think the story should be changed. I mean the last Bane sucked in Batman, Wolverine Origins Sucked. If you want to get the sales do what the first 2 spiderman films did they stuck to the story. Everyone say this blessing Jesus is Lord He’s the real hero lol God bless

  16. fox screwed up the best super hero group there is…

  17. Sounds like Whedon has given the casual comic fans what they wanted in Avengers, but went total 21st century with Ultron for A2. Where did the last 30 years of story telling go?

  18. I would like to see Tony create Ultron, or Ant Man create him and combined with Avengers team destroy him as well.

    Build new members slowly not overwhelm fan with mass character casting, keep building upon the Avengers Universe its fun to see them on the screen.

  19. I think that they try to please everyone and the risk is that they do the opposite. I only hope they wont giving us another “spider-man 3″ or “iron man 3″ with the next avengers. (Nothing bad about Iron man 3, except that in three movie, his girlfriend save him of the vilain….can Iron man kick some *** for one time???. They try to make a movie with background story. Why did they not introduce the Skrull storyline? They already bring Thanos so why not? Why put again new character and risk to fill the movie with things that we don’t care…I think on the other hand that they will do a great job with the next X-men movie. But we will see

  20. I don’t think anyone noticed this but Vision was created by ultron and that has a whole series in the creation so I think vision will be made at the end if this film and him, the wasp and ant man will be in avengers 3

  21. Not too sure what you mean by keeping them in the “real”. I will say Marvel has to keep Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. It would be a disappoint for them to change actors. He is Iron Man to a T. I’m also hoping that Marvel doesn’t rewrite Quiksilver & Scarlet Witch’s origins. Them being Magnetos offspring should remain in tact. I was disappointed in the Marvel’s decision in not introducing the Hell Fire Club, when they showed us the Dark Phoenix. As they were responsible for creating her. But then here we are in X-Men Classics, and there’s the Hell Fire Club. A little off subject, but there’s my two cents for what its worth.

  22. reading back some of the post that I seen on here I believe “Rey” makes an EXCELLENT POINT about having the Fantastic 4 make a cameo in the Avengers movie. THE HULK & THING…. unstoppable force right there. I also agree with… how do they not run into each other when they’re in the same city.

  23. Dose No one remember from hulk that the leader is still out there at large and with no hulk move tell at least 2017 don’t you find it odd he played such a larg role in the movie and was (in part) shown becoming the leader he could have made ultron from old stro teck and have it go out of controle and have to go to the avengers for help/get to the hulk and many through a teaser for a red hulk in there too

  24. Lame, Thanos was the reason to be excited for Avengers 2. Ever since being a kid Thanos + Apocalypse were the coolest villains. Finally thought we would see one fighting it out on the big screen. Super hero movie creators, stop being big babies and make some awesome movies.

  25. Fox / Marvel started the current marvel movie-verse with the first XMen

    There will not be a crossover until the studios buyup the rights. Spider-Man (Sony), XMen (Fox), Avengers (Disney) there are millions of dollars tied up in those rights so don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

    Also most actors/actresses are signed on for a set number of movies, so unless you can convince (like RDJ) to sign on for another (for a lot of $)…. you only have a certain number of movies with these actors.
    Twitter: @aaronlafferty

  26. What if Thanos had the Skrull get into high authority on earth disguised as humans and had them create Ultron to eliminate the Avengers threat?
    Now THAT would be epic.

  27. [“While we’re on the subject of disappointment, the subject of an Avengers/X-Men crossover event also came up in the interview.”]

    Thank God. The last thing I want to see is an Avengers/X-Men crossover. That’s just too much.

  28. I honestly think you could try makeing the age of ultron original with antman

  29. I don’t want that X-men universe anywhere near Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. It would mean the horror of those plot hole ridden jokes as legit Marvel canon movies. NOPE! Noooooo No thanks!

    -Luke Evans as Dr. Strange!