James Spader Officially Cast as Ultron in ‘The Avengers 2′

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 30th, 2013 at 12:53 pm,

James Spader The Blacklist Arrested James Spader Officially Cast as Ultron in The Avengers 2

At San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios came prepared with buzzworthy news and footage to share, but it was the end of their presentation that delivered the biggest surprise. The Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon took to the stage to unveil a teaser and the official logo for the highly anticipated sequel to his record-breaking superhero team-up and few in the audience were expecting it.

What was shown preceding The Avengers: Age of Ultron title card was footage of an Iron Man armored suit transforming into Ultron, the villainous robot and one of Earth’s Mightiest’s greatest foes. Little did we know that the voice and face of that character would be James Spader.

The man who played Dr. Daniel Jackson in the original Stargate film, won several awards for his role in Boston Legal and more recently had a starring role in the latter seasons of The Office, also having worked with Disney in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar nominated Lincoln, is going to play the primary antagonist of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The news comes directly from Marvel who are continuing to embrace a trend of utilizing their own brand to promote internal news and the official casting is the second for The Avengers sequel having happily confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. had signed for both currently-planned Avengers sequels a few months earlier.

James Spader The Blacklist Cell 570x343 James Spader Officially Cast as Ultron in The Avengers 2

Spader pulling a Loki

With Age of Ultron not beginning to shoot until next year, the timing of the casting announcement months before Thor: The Dark World hits theaters and while Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy is curious, if not timely. For the last week, headlines from both Disney-Marvel and rival studio Warner Bros./DC Entertainment have focused on high profile casting, with Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Olsen having been confirmed to be in talks with Marvel while Ben Affleck was officially announced to take on the iconic role of Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.

Since Affleck is official and the other Marvel-associated names are not, perhaps Marvel is attempting to turn the buzz back towards them with an official announcement of their own regarding their highest profile and most bankable upcoming project.

With a commanding voice and onscreen presence, coupled with his unique mannerisms, Spader is an unusual yet inspired choice. Yet, looking at his facial expression in the image from NBCs upcoming series The Blacklist above, Whedon made an appropriate and exciting selection. Our theories of Iron Man’s AI assistance Jarvis going rogue and the voice of the character (Paul Bettany) getting a chance to play Ultron is at least partly not going to be the case.

We know Spader… Ultron is going to be a source of great pain and conflict for The Avengers and it’s becoming increasingly likely that one (or more?) of the heroes may not make it out alive. Who will die? Did Tony Stark create James Spader as his deadliest creation? Should the film be renamed The Avengers: Age of James Spader to better fit Whedon’s entirely new origin story for the character?

[poll id=”669″]

Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: Marvel

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  1. Well, this is…interesting.

    • +1000000!!!!

    • once again MARVEL trumps DC. Other than Cumberbatch, who I want to play EVERY villain in EVERY movie for the next decade! Spader plays a great villain.. remember him in WOLF?

      • Trumps? No. Makes an interesting (and, I think, good) choice? Yes.

      • Trumps? Spader is a trump card? Really?

        You fanboys make me laugh.

        • Well i’m definitely not going to get into all that trumps DC flame war BS, I just happen to think this is a good signing for Marvel, that’s all, nothing more nothing less.

  2. Seems like good casting cause I have heard nothing but good things about the guy. I just have never seen anything with him, at least that I remember. I’ll prob see Lincoln soon though.

    • Was a huge fan of him in Boston Legal. He’s good.

      • Great in Boston Legal, plus he might be the best actor who literally can sell an absolutely emotionless performance and it be outstanding.

        • +1

  3. surprising, but still a good choice :)

    • Agreed, surprising… Considering Ultron will likely be Motion Capture, I can hear his digitized voice as Ultron.

      I’m glad Vin Deisel is out of the running as Ultron, leaving him open to be The Vision as he desired. Better fit there.

  4. Ultron is gonna be just a paid android actor and Paul Bettany turns out to be the main villain.

    • LMAO. Comment of the day.

    • Did you…not read the article at all?

      • It was a Mandarin reference.

        • I’m glad someone got it .. was teaming with sarcasm …

      • Did you not see Iron Man 3?

    • Rofl!!!! You Sir, just made my day!!!

  5. awesome choice!! Danny California walked into that interview and said it was his role then signed the contract before joss even said a word!

    (watch The Office if you don’t get it!)

    • You still won’t get it if you watch the Office because his name was Robert California.

      • lol

    • @ mie

      So you’re saying he’ll decide Ultron is actually bigger than the role he is playing and will talk Kevin Feige out of his own job, replacing him.

      • Awesome…except for, Kevin Feige is one of the few execs who I don’t want replaced. Errr.

    • *Dani California? Isn’t that a Red Hot Chili Pepper song?

      • Hard telling. All RHCP songs from the last 20 years sound the same…

  6. Well… *shrugs* I don’t know what to say about this… O.o

  7. I like this casting wasn’t a big fan of him in The Office but everything else I have loved him in

  8. “I think it moved” – George Costanza
    This is going to good ladies and gentle fanboys.

  9. Cool, don’t know who this is so I can’t judge though through a little research he seems like a good actor.

  10. Oh my God! The Marvel cinematic universe is over! They never learn from their mistakes, I will not watch this! Blah blah blah blah!

    • go back to your batfleck news, DC TROLL!!


      • Dingleberry jelly….

    • Yeesh, I think you guys need to adjust your sarcasm detectors…

      • Exactly what I was thinking. They may just need new batteries.

  11. Well.. It could be like Hugo Weaving as Megatron where its impossible to tell that its him and the action is all cgi anyway. Or it could be like Paul Bettany as Jarvis where its just his voice that they use but you can still tell its him. Is he really gonna wear a Ultron costume? That sounds doubtful to me…

  12. The end of the movie will be Ultron and Tony Stark sitting on a high rise balcony, sipping bourbon and smoking cigars all while discussing the life lessons of the adventure they just went through.

    • Loved Boston Legal and Avengers 2 would be my favorite movie ever if this happened!

      • No Schwarma?

        • Swarm-a? A swarm? Does that mean Ant-Man and Wasp are in? Betcha you’re hiding an Easter Egg…!!!!!

  13. Ok, now cast Maggie Gyllenhaal as Scarlet Witch and let the Secretary gifs pour in.

    • This idea… I approve

    • Hello no. They need to cast a hot chick as SW.

      • Good to see that you got the joke, WMX…

  14. I approve. I can hear his voice with Ultron. If Marvel was attempting to steer the movie buzz away from Ben Affleck being cast as Batman, they’re gonna have to do better than this.

    • If Spader truly is meant for the role I’d rather they cast him than some random a-lister just to draw attention away from Batfleck. Stunt-casting is usually a bad move.

    • Marvel doesn’t need to steer anything except away from the flaming mess that is WB/DC.

      • haha not bad.

      • I’m not sure what’s funnier:

        That picture itself or the people who believe that’s what happened.

        • I’d say the latter.

          • I will tell you what happened Jim, there was a collective “WTF?” followed by a “Hmm that could work… or not. Anyway, back to our OWN movie. Let silly Fanboys worry about comparing our two companies, there is more than enough money to go around.”

      • Ah ah ah

  15. It sure has been a long time since Stargate. Still love that film. One of Emmerich’s best.

    • Same here. I was pretty young when I saw it but I f-ing loved it. Used to pretend I had that staff weapon too. Oh, the child days…

      • Same here as well.

        • Me too.

          Just a shame the TV series was boring without Spader and Russell.

      • One of few films I saw with my father. Its awesome. I ran across it on Amazon Prime 2 weeks ago and watched it again with my son.

      • Where did those days go? Did we all get a “staff” infection?

    • +1. I still remember his breakthrough in Sex, Lies and Videotapes.

    • Hm, I would definitely like that. He would be a pretty good choice.

    • +1

    • Paul Bettany is an alias of Vin Diesel?

      • Eh…don’t see Vin as The Vision being much of a fit.

        If he is indeed doubling up on characters, and he going to be part of a new franchise, I could see him maybe being Black Bolt in The Inhumans film that Feige has name dropped for awhile now.

  16. I’ve never heard of him but he sounds like a really good choice I’ll stand by Whedon with this one who was he in Lincoln I’ve seen that b4

  17. I like it. He definitely can do the cold, menacing vibe that Ultron requires.

    • ^^ This ^^

      • double ^^ this …. why is there no “like” button?

    • No, no way, this casting decision is ridiculous, the movie is ruined now, what are Marvel thinking, more random generic and immature cliches because of a great casting choice etc.

      • Your sarcasm is not lost on me, my friend.

        But you have to admit this casting is already more highly regarded than the Batfleck casting, albeit with a much more minor character. I wonder why?

        • Maybe because Marvel got a real actor.

          • …just like WB/DC. Good, both films are well on their way.

          • Go watch something recent and stop living in 2003.
            Are you serously trying to say Affleck wasnt good in Hollywoodland, The Town, or Argo?
            Why would you attempt to destroy your credibility like that?

            • I never said he wasn’t good in those movies. He was good (not great). I actually like him better as a director.

              It’s no secret, however, that I hate the idea of him being cast as Batman. What of it?

              • Ben Affleck was good in The Town and Argo, but there is a caveat of him being better in movies he has directing control of.

  18. I only saw him in the original Stargate movie, but I know I liked him in that. I can’t wait for this movie.

    • Oh, I just realized that I saw him in “Secretary” too. Oh, he’s gonna be a good bad guy.

  19. YES!!

    This is an excellent choice, he is a very talented actor. Marvel continues to sign true talent. The Avengers 2 will an amazing movie, I can’t wait!!

    It’s nice to see that some studios still know how to cast actors properly for roles.

    *cough, WB, cough*

    • That’s right. WB DOES know how to cast actors properly for roles. I’m glad you agree that Affleck was a great choice.

      As for Spader as Ultron…sure, why not?

      • archaeon…..

        Dream on there WB intern……dream on….

        KEEP REPEATING: “IT WAS A GREAT CHOICE,IT WAS A GREAT CHOICE” until you actually believe it, just like Dorthy, but don’t click your heels.


        • Don’t need to repeat it until he believes it. Some of us believed it the moment we found out and liked the decision. Stop being such a petulant child.

          Both WB and Marvel have made some great casting decisions this month alone. Can’t wait to find out who’s playing Ant-Man.

          • I actually agree with you DAZZ but I do not see why Archaeon feels the NEED to keep on repeating it on this thread!
            just let the kids be kids, I think saying it one time to the person that first brings up the stupid subject of who’s casting is better on this thread, but after that just let them be the idiots! Most of these ppl are now just saying it to get a rise out of him, and he is letting them do it!

            He has his opinion, I-mine, you-yours, but let these clowns just keep showing how childish they truly are by ALWAYS comparing the two Co.
            I’m 100% positive that DC feels they made the BEST decision they could, and I’m sure Marvel feels the same! If anything THE ONLY REASON Marvel announced this was to keep them in the discussion, because they have no need to announce a casting choice 1 year in advance of the movie’s filming!!
            SH*T Marvel would do better to announce who is voicing a couple CGI characters in an upcoming movie that most are excited to know about, BUT THEY STILL CAN’T ANNOUNCE THAT? this is a very questionable announcement, I love this choice for Ultron, but it is the timing I am questioning!

            • Moderation??? are you serious??
              FOR WHAT? the S word that is NOT EVEN COMPLETELY SPELLED OUT?


        • Awww…wook at widdle Mikey twying to make a funny…Awww.

          Too cute…I bet you were trying to be clever, Mike.

          Try harder.

          Oh, and it’s DorOthy.


          • silly silly little archaeon, keep dreaming, keep believing, like a good little boy, jokes on you….

            hopefully, you’ll wake up to reality one day…..

            Probably NOT!


            I’m done with you now, go back and play.

            • Nope…not good enough. You have to put MUCH more effort into your little tantrums and snarky comebacks if you’re going to impress anyone.

              It’s almost cute that you’re even trying…but more just sad.

              Oh, well…good luck.

              • Really?

                So nonsensical points with exclamation marks followed by ‘LOL’ing their own post doesn’t bother you?

                Wow… tough skin…


                • 😛

    • Do you people ONLY watch comic book movies?

  20. Hang on, is he playing Ultron or voicing Ultron?

    Huge difference.

    • Aye…THERE’s the rub. I’d imagine he’ll be voicing a mostly CGI Ultron.

      • Right? James Spader is AWESOME. I think it would be one hell of waste if he doesn’t get any screen time to display the mannerisms that Rob refers too. I mean, if it’s JUST his voice, then yeah this is all about trying to rope in a broader audience…

        • “if it’s JUST his voice, then yeah this is all about trying to rope in a broader audience…”

          How DARE they!

        • They might do mo-cap for that, then they can add Spader’s mannerisms to a full-robot body.

          • @ scyllaya

            I’m hoping that’s what happens.

            Let’s be real. It’s an evil robot. You can have ANYONE voice an evil robot and then digitize it to your liking.

            I’m hopeful Spader does more than just voice the thing, otherwise I do see this as an addition for the ‘broader appeal.’

            Nothing wrong with that of course, just disappointing if we don’t get to see James Spader exercise his full spectrum of talent in the movie.

    • my question exactly.

    • I think he’ll be doing the face as well – that’s not official but they need to make Ultron’s face more than a helmet if he’s the primary antagonist. He’ll need to emote.

      • Cue the complaints if Ultron has a human face added to his robot head.

        • @ Dazz

          I actually think that sounds interesting. You all can hang me for this but I find Ultron to be an exceptionally boring antagonist.

          Do something like what Dazz said, I’m going to be that much more intrigued.

          Especially with Spader at the helm.

        • If they use this option, I just hope it doesn’t end up looking like the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz”…

          (I KNOW it won’t, but it never hurts to expel such a goofy possibility from one’s imagination…just in case.)


  21. He’s solid. Haven’t seen him in a villainous role before so it’ll be something new.

  22. Okay for everyone hoping Bettany will get a bigger role, it ain’t gonna happen. He has publicly said he has never watched any of his movies where he played JARVIS because “it’s not my kind of thing”. So yeah.

    BUT OMFG JAMES SPADER. This literally made me say out loud “God yes!”

  23. #Ultader

    Man… neither of those are good.

    So we going to see fan backlash? A petition? A Variety poll telling us that .002% of the movie goers will not see Avengers 2 because of this casting?

    How about a ScreenRant article of “Why James Spader will work as Ultron”?


    • All unnecessary, this was a good choice by Marvel.

      I actually like the #Spadetron one :)

      • Just like the good choice by WB too then, eh?

        Like I said above, both studios making great decisions in the last 7 days.

        Comic book and movie fans will be going insane with the amount of epic win happening in the summer of 2015.

        • Yep, I wholeheartedly agree.

        • Same was said for 2013…

        • What Dazz said. Why must everything be turned into college football. Whether its sports, politics, movies, or just about anything. Everybody seems to want to chose a side, pick a color for that side, and then paint their face that color.
          Everything their color does is great, everything the other color does is junk.

          Cant movies from BOTH companies just be enjoyed?
          I am looking forward to A2 AND (gasp) MOS2.

          but… but… how is that possible???

          • Batman is my third favoite comic book character all-time behind Spider-Man and the Hulk, so I do enjoy both companies.

            I’d love to enjoy the next Batman movie as much as I did most of the last three, but I’m afraid Affleck is unfortunately going to get in the way of my enjoyment.

            It’s possible for you because you apparently are a big Affleck-as-Batman fan. I’m not, so what?

    • #Ultronader might work.

      And an announcement for Star Wars 7:


      “These are not the cowbells you are looking for.”

  24. Don’t know much about Ultron but this guy is well able to act. I’m sold.

  25. Great choice. I loved him in “The Secretary” and Cronenberg’s “Crash.” Marvel just added a classy villain who will kill it.

    • The Secretary is brilliant.

  26. ” OH! Well, I’ve never see this guy act and I really don’t know who he is but AWESOME CHOICE! “

    • I have, he can and it is!

    • How about you watch A:AoU?

  27. I reckon he will be the voice of Ultron. Though in the Avengers, one of the scenes that were left out, you can see Jarvis talking to Stark about the condition of the perfect human. You can see a certain kind of humanoid shown to him. Jarvis tells stark that is the future of humanity.

  28. Am i wrong or shouldnt bettany be ultron. Since he is jarvis