When a superhero team features as many heavyweights as The Avengers, it’s a challenge to find a villain to throw at them who will actually pose a threat. In the first Avengers film, Loki had to enlist the help of an entire alien armada to fight on his side, and even they eventually got beaten down. The Avengers are at their weakest when afflicted by in-fighting, but since they seem to have learned to put aside personal differences for the greater good, it will surely take a serious challenger to cause them trouble in the sequel.

That new challenger was announced during Marvel’s panel at this year’s Comic-Con, when writer/director Joss Whedon came on stage to introduce a teaser for the sequel, which would be titled The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character named in the title is a deadly robot originally created by Henry Pym (AKA Ant-Man), who has appeared in the Marvel comics since the late 1960s and has fought the Avengers many times, in a number of different forms. It was a little surprising for those who were expecting to see Thanos take centre stage in the sequel, but Ultron has apparently been waiting in the wings for a while.

Speaking to Total Film, Whedon said that his desire to see Ultron go up against the Avengers on the big screen had actually preceded his official involvement with the franchise:

“I was pitching Ultron before I took the job on the first movie. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this, but for the second one, you should totally do Ultron.’ Because he’s been a thorn in their side as much as any other character over the years and particularly back in my history… He’s somebody who can juice things up and he’s a real problem for the Avengers. That’s not always easy to find. It’s not like the Vulture is really going to give them a hard time for 20 minutes.”

Ouch – take that, Vulture. In fairness, while the old bird might be able to rival Tony Stark in the fields of mechanical engineering and electronics, Ultron has the kind of power and durability that could make him a real match for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Although Ant-Man will be getting his own stand-alone movie a little bit further down the line, we recently learned that Ultron’s origin story is being rewritten for the movie universe, which means that he could well have abilities that haven’t been seen in the comics.

The fact that Ultron’s entry into the series has been planned since before the making of The Avengers raises some interesting questions. Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has said that he and Joss Whedon were discussing content for Age of Ultron whilst on the set of The Avengers, which means that they may have already begun laying the groundwork for the character’s introduction in subtle ways.

Do you think that Ultron will prove to be a worthy foe for the Avengers, or is there another character that you would rather have seen in the robot’s place?

Thor: The Dark World is out in theaters 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 will be released on May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Source: Total Film