What makes The Avengers: Age of Ultron uniquely interesting over its predecessor is that many of the confrontations its features between Marvel Comics characters - and the spectacle that comes with it - involve self-made antagonists. From The Avengers 2 teaser I witnessed at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, this was certainly the theme of the footage.
The film's primary villain is Ultron, a creation of Tony Stark. We've only seen one official image of the artificially intelligent character (above) but today we have another that leaked online just ahead of next week's release of the official Age of Ultron trailer. We also have a leaked image of the Hulkbuster Iron Man armor which we know is involved in a battle between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner's Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
The Hulkbuster, the largest of Iron Man's legion of armored battlesuits, has been a fan-desired item to include in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man first hit theaters in 2008. In Age of Ultron writer and director Joss Whedon finally brings it into play. We still don't quite now for sure why this happens but Hulk seemingly loses control and from what we saw at Comic-Con, Stark - while in regular-sized armor - flies into the even bigger suit before they duke it out. There's concept art of this (and other new characters) that released during a TV special on ABC last year.
Let's take a look at the live-action version and compare:
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Previously released Hulkbuster concept art:
The Hulkbuster speaks for itself. It's massive and it's cool and we can confirm that Tony Stark is indeed piloting it (and not Ultron's AI as some early speculation suggested). In the Comic-Con footage we saw it being tossed around a lot by the Hulk and hit by a car. We also see its massive arms lock into place with these braces that support it for hitting the Hulk. Either Bruce Banner helped Stark make this machine in case he lost control again or Stark made it in secret on his own and Banner's going to get really angry. More than normal.
The more interesting imagery is that of Ultron. In the teaser footage at Comic-Con - which very well may be the same teaser that airs on ABC next Tuesday during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - we got to watch the scene where Ultron is first introduced. There's a party of sorts in Stark tower (now the Avengers tower) and as the guests leave and our heroes remain (in plain clothes) a broken down armored suit, showing much of its innards, comes stumbling in. James Spader's voice comes through, scarily lecturing and threatening The Avengers and this is the first time they see Ultron.
Throughout the course of the film Ultron will attempt to upgrade itself, like in the comics, and when comparing the two images above, these are examples of two other versions of him. The one in the official Entertainment Weekly cover (below) looks rather similar to a traditional modern Iron Man suit and you can see wiring in between armored plates. The one in the leaked still from what we assume is next week's trailer (or captured from Comic-Con) appears to be another version entirely. Note the curved antennae, more human-esque eyes and added detail on the face. It's very shiny so we can only hope that means Ultron builds a version of himself that includes vibranium (Chris Hemsworth hinted at that to us) - the material Captain America's shield is made of.
[Update: After the trailer leaked online, Marvel has released a new hi-res version a week ahead of schedule along with a poster. Blame HYDRA.]
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
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