So far we know that the team will have to re-assemble to battle the threat of Ultron, an intelligent robot run amok (played by James Spader). We also know that some other famous Marvel characters will be making their debut in the sequel, including brother/sister pair Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen); Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), who will be a minor villain in the film; and the android character Vision, who will be played by the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Paul Bettany.
We also heard early on that Avengers 2 would be a lot more international in scope, and today we can confirm that will indeed be the case. Marvel has put out an official press release, which announces the production's imminent arrival in Seoul, South Korea, while also confirming the other international locations that will be featured as part of the movie. Among the locations mentioned:
- London, United Kingdom
- Aosta Valley, Italy
- Seoul, South Korea
- Johannesburg, South Africa (obviously)
None of this is a surprise; Marvel Studios has been at the forefront of embracing the international film markets, setting up productions like Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy over in the UK, or using film like Iron Man 3 to make a big push into the Chinese market. The studio has also made the surprising move of releasing their tentpoles in overseas markets first, drumming box office profits (and usually spoilers) before the films ever hit stateside; in the case of Captain America: The First Avenger, they even altered the title so that international audiences would embrace "The First Avenger" without being put-off by "Captain America."
It's a global industry now, and Marvel is certainly playing a worldwide game.
For fans, these locations will inspire a bit of fun debate about what we might be seeing in terms of secondary characters, or seeds being planted in the Marvel Movieverse that could bloom into exciting things down the line. (The biggest theory being that the Africa segment could be used to introduce a setting like Wakanda and/or a character like Black Panther.)
That all remains to be seen, of course - but for now, check out the official press release from Marvel:
Marvel Studios announced today that the highly anticipated super hero sequel Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" will film key elements of the movie in the capital city of Seoul. Bringing production of this significant motion picture to Korea will create jobs for local extras, crews and vendors which will benefit the local film industry in South Korea.
"South Korea is the perfect location for a movie of this magnitude because it features cutting-edge technology, beautiful landscapes and spectacular architecture," said Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and producer of Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." "We would especially like to thank the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) for making it possible for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' to come to Korea."
"We're very excited to have the production in Korea, and also expect this to serve as the footstep of many more opportunities yet to come," says minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism of Republic of Korea, Yoo Jinryong.
In addition to Korea, where the number of fans of Marvel Studios' films has grown since the release of "Iron Man," the international production schedule for Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" includes locations in London, United Kingdom, where the production will be based, as well as Johannesburg, South Africa; and Aosta Valley, Italy, with additional locations to be announced.
Directed by Joss Whedon ("Marvel's The Avengers"), the film returns its iconic cast, including Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man 3," "Marvel's The Avengers") as Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth ("Thor: The Dark World," "Marvel's The Avengers") as Thor, Mark Ruffalo ("Marvel's The Avengers," "Now You See Me") as Hulk, Chris Evans ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Marvel's The Avengers") as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Marvel's The Avengers") as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner ("American Hustle," "Marvel's The Avengers,") as Hawkeye, and Samuel L. Jackson ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Marvel's The Avengers") as Nick Fury. Joining the cast are Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Godzilla," "Kick Ass 2") as Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen ("Godzilla") as Scarlet Witch and James Spader ("The Blacklist," "Lincoln") as Ultron.
Set for release in the United States on May 1, 2015, Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is produced by Kevin Feige. Executive Producers are Louis D'Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, and Jon Favreau.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters on April 4th, 2014, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.