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. Hey, James Spader. He is an unusual enough actor that this could be very interesting, and work out well.

    • I’d probably agree with that, even though I want Hank Pym/Goliath and Wasp in there.

  2. He was in a not-so-good movie with Keanu Reeves called The Watcher (I think). I absolutely loved him in it.

  3. If every villain is a Stark creation then the audience will be sitting there thinking why does no one just kill Tony Stark and save themselves a lot of future problems as well.

    That worked once in Ironman 3 but cannot work more than once.

    As for James Spader, totally inspired.

    Vin Diesel not so much.

    • BUTTTT… Diesel as a walking, talking alien tree?

      • I AM GROOT!

  4. Hopefully this means JARVIS won’t go haywire and become Ultron. Talk about movie cliches. The trusted AI going bad? Never seen that before, no sir (sarc-mark).

    I have absolutely no idea who this guy is though :) As long as his voice is cold and menacing, I’m cool with it.

    • Spader is a great actor with a very DRY voice and almost as dry facial expressions. He is quite capable of playing up the sinister, cold, calculating aspects of Ultron.

      • I’m guessing he’ll just provide his voice though, unless they decide to deviate even further from the source material and give Ultron facial expressions or something.

        But I’ll take your word on his voice. And later tonight I’ll hit up the old YouTubes and search for this guy to see/hear it for myself.

        I have to say though, this is a really odd way to announce it. Maybe I’m still reeling over the Ben Affleck announcement, but this seems like a pretty lackluster way to announce the main villain of one of the world’s most anticipated movies. I kind of feel they missed an opportunity for a really big fan reaction – what with NYCC coming up soon.

        • I believe they’ll use Spaders voice with a bit of FX on it from the FX department. It’s gonna be very interesting..

          I love James, he’s an excellent choice.

          Fun Fact: Spader and Downey were both in a little film together called Less Than Zero.

          • dang! you beat me to the reference.
            oh well. i was also gonna say if they could get jami gertz and andrew mccarthy to play wasp and antman, respectively, then it could be a LTZ reunion

            • Lets hope not. Unless you WANT to see Iron Man giving a dude head so he can score a fix.

              • Now that was a funny one, got me LMAO on that remark. Yeah, I have a sneaking suspicion that wouldn’t translate too well in A2.

        • look up the trailer for the series “the blacklist” spader plays the main guy/villain. you get to hear what sounds like a very ultron esque voice, and you will be very happy with his casting in the film.

          • all I can say is WOW, and thank you! I had not heard of it until now, but that show looks like it will very quickly become one of this falls best new shows!

            I cant wait for the series premier!

          • Actually, that Blacklist show looks worth checking out as well.

            • Seems to quasi-Silence of the Lambs for me. Sure, it’s coming from a different angle, but at it’s core it just comes off as too much of a Hannibal / Clarice thing to me.

          • Stargate is still one of my favorites.

        • @Avenger. Since Ultron has never been in a movie, and he’s virtually unknown compared to Batman, and Ben Affleck, and Ben Affleck, I don’t think this was going to be a huge announcement.

          However, I do have that similar Afflecktion that I should have some feeling about it. But I don’t. I just feel numb.

          • @Nostelg-O & The Avenger – This announcing wasn’t about trying to top the Ben Affleck announcement, this was about making a good signing which Marvel did. Yes Ultron is not known like Batman or Superman, but audiences will love this character when Wheedon brings him to the big screen. The Avengers product sells itself my friends, they don’t need overhyped gimmick announcements to make a point. That point was made last year to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars, and I wouldn’t be surprised if AOU makes it’s point to the tune of 2 billion dollars in 2015.

  5. I think this is a very good casting choice, Spaders’ voice/cadence/tone/inflection are unparalleled. However, he would have to hit the gym (much harder than Batfleck) if he wants to physically appear in the movie.

    • I seriously doubt they plan to use mo-cap with Ultron – maybe from stunt guys (I could see them using a practical suit for some close ups, like in the case of Iron Man), but it’s my educated guess that the actor will just be providing his voice.

      • +1
        My thoughts exactly. I’m not too in-the-know about Ultron but, I’m pretty sure that he’s COMPLETELY robotic right?? I’d be surprised to hear they’re going for another man-in-a-techsuit scenario.
        Because that hasn’t been done death yet:P

    • Did you really just use the word “unparalleled?”
      Exagerate much?
      Dont get me wrong, he is good, but not THAT good brother?

  6. Whhhhhaaaaat! I love these unpredictable castings! I like james spader so good for him.

  7. I think this is a good casting. Considering this is Ultron’s origin story, I think they want to portray Ultron as a tortured soul and a human apperance in the film is much more effective than using some CGI robot/andriod. Spader is great in most of his recent work ( i.e. Boston Legal and The Office). He played the perfect 80′s villian in Pretty in Pink and hitman in 2 Days in the Valley (Best cat fight scene eveeeer!!). I hope he makes a apperance in Cap America: WS. End of Line.

  8. Who? Well, ok I guess. We’ll see.

    • What do you want? Ben Affleck was busy.

      • LOL

  9. After watching avengers last night I’m convinced stark doesn’t make ultron. I believe “phase 2″ is ultron and that’s what Fury and the world council were discussing. Great casting though, this guys a great actor and brings a lot to the table.

  10. Spader! Spader! Spader!

    I am now sold on this movie.

  11. At least that confirms that Ultron will not be a rogue JARVIS since its not Paul Bettany.

    • I think I would rather give her a nice massage!

  12. Like him. I don’t see how he’d be the “face” of Ultron. Isn’t this a robot we’re dealing with? If anything, he’s just the voice AKA a James Earl Jones equivalent.

    • I really hope that Ultron at least looks like Ultron and that they don’t change him 100% like they tend to do when they think they need to “redo” things for the big screen.

  13. I can’t remember what James Spader sounds like, but he may just sound like an “eviler”/darker version of Paul Bettany, who voices J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man/Avenger films. So it could still be J.A.R.V.I.S. who becomes Ultron after all! Just a thought, but it came to me pretty quickly after the official news!

    • no, Spader isn’t English.(British)

  14. Great casting choice. Wonder if we will bring Denny Crane?!

  15. Hmmm….

  16. Nice, RDJ and Spader are finally going to be in a second movie together. The first is Less than Zero (1987).

    • They were also in Tuff Turf, a totally 80s-tacular movie.

  17. Nice of WB to make this news so ho-hum.

    • It might not be the biggest news, but I think this is the more stronger signing and it will show on the big screen in 2015, trust me.

      • Nope, sorry, dont “trust you.”
        Not saying you are right or wrong, just that I dont know you so I dont trust you.
        What I do know is that your opinion is not worth as much as think it is. You are no more clairvoyant than me or any of the rest of us.

      • More to the point:

        Maybe it works out great…

        …maybe we get a voice as “good” as Bane in TDKR.


  18. His acting seems atrocious in the previews for “The Blacklist”. Then again, everything about that series looks like a cheap version of “Silence of the Lambs”

    We’ll see

    • yeah, drink another one!!!

      • @BB: “*snicker*”

  19. This is a fantastic signing by Marvel in my opinion, I think Spader will own ass in the role of Ultron. I like this idea much better than having Jarvis become Ultron. Obviously it sounds like Ultron will be an artificial intelligence created by Stark that goes mad, I can dig that.

  20. Tuff Turf…. God I need to go back and revisit that. Yes im old…

    • it’s on netflix

  21. Great choice. Looking forward to it. He’ll bring it like he brought it in “wolf.”

  22. Hmmm, what if Spader has signed on to play Chthon and not Ultron?

  23. I like the Jarvis becomes Ultron idea but the again its spoiling the film

  24. So pumped for this, but definitely need Pym/Goliath and Wasp.!!!

    • i wonder how many,MANY times i/we have read “need Pym/Goliath and Wasp…”from you goldi? i also wonder how many, many, MANY of those times it had nothing [absolutely nothing] to do with the topic of discussion? so far, it’s at least twice on this thread about ultron. and while, yes, in the comic books, pym created ultron, we already know that to NOT be the case in A:AOU.

      end of rant

      • @jeffro – That’s true, certain characters that work well in the comics don’t always translate well to the big screen, Ant-man is such a character. It wasn’t like Marvel didn’t try to put him in earlier, they just saw that the appeal wasn’t there from general audiences. Now he will get his chance to shine in his solo film in 2015, I think that’s the way it should be. At least Ant-Man has an official film coming, hell i’m still waiting for Marvel to officially confirm a Black Panther film, that’s what i’m really waiting for.

        • Sorry but I beg to differ.

          Many have proposed numerous ways they “could” have introduced Ant-Man to build hype for a solo movie but instead Marvel just cut him out completely.

          A missed opportunity to be sure.

          We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

  25. So incredibly stoked on this casting choice, huge spader fan!

  26. Nobody is going to start complaining how he looks nothing like Ultron?

    • @Slayer – Lol, thank goodness for that.

  27. This casting makes perfect sense.
    Ed Asner was not available.

  28. Perhaps, the Sons of Yinsen Ultron story will be used in Avengers 2, where a head is placed inside of an armor. However, instead of Yinsen’s head Chthon’s skull is placed inside the armor by a religious cult and Scarlet Witch brings Chthon to life using Stark’s Armor as a shell. Which would be a great tie in for how the twins go their powers(Chthon) and why Ultron is so evil.