Marvel Studios' Ant-Man just started production and their Guardians of the Galaxy has become the highest-grossing film of the summer at the domestic box office. However, fans are now starting to gear up for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, next year's highly-anticipated sequel to the 2012 phenomenon.
Director Joss Whedon recently wrapped up principle photography and is busy putting the final product together. In an interview with Empire (hat tip to ComicBookMovie), both Whedon and Kevin Feige took the opportunity to tease moviegoers with what's in store for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The Marvel boss explained why Ultron (James Spader) was chosen to be the adversary in the follow-up:
Ultron was the villain Joss wanted, from midway through production on the first film, to have serious repercussions for The Avengers. We unveiled a poster here which is nothing but Ultron after Ultron after Ultron clawing at [and] beginning to defeat all of our Avengers. That's what a lot of this movie is about.
Whedon added that the new villain has "a touch of the apocalypse in him," hinting at some serious repercussions for the team this time around. The main takeaway from the sizzle reel shown at SDCC 2014 was how much darker the tone was when compared to the predecessor.
It's true that the franchise's trademark brand of humor will be in full effect (see: the Avengers trying to lift Thor's hammer at a party), but Whedon has always been interested in going a different route - teasing the possibility of death early on.
In a recent episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, one of the topics our editors covered was whether or not the "Earth-bound" enemies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were becoming obsolete due to the rising presence of Thanos and other cosmic elements (read: Infinity Stones). As noted in that discussion, Ultron seems like he is poised to be one of the scariest foes encountered in the MCU, threatening to destroy the world long before the Mad Titan arrives with his gauntlet.
With words like "apocalypse" and "defeat" being tossed around to describe the battle, it would certainly seem like the stakes will be plenty high in this round for Captain America, Iron Man, and the gang. Fans concerned that the filmmakers are just biding time before a potential Avengers/Guardians crossover should have those fears put to rest now.
One hero that will be combating Ultron and his army of killer robots is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who is looking forward to having his role expanded in the sequel. While we'll have to wait and see how big a part the archer plays in the film, one thing we do know is that he'll be sporting some new duds as he helps save the world.
In the new issue of Empire, there's a new image of Jeremy Renner on set, wearing his redesigned costume while working with Whedon for what looks like an action sequence of some kind. [UPDATE: The official version of that Hawkeye image has been made available - you can check it out, below.]
The linked picture plays in line with previous set photos of Hawkeye in action, highlighting the long sleeves that he'll be sporting in the sequel. Fans have already seen how Whedon is embracing the classic comics costume in this go-around (namely, the color scheme), but thanks to the new photo, one is able to get a great look at it up close and view the details of Hawkeye's suit.