Comic book movie fans are foaming at the mouth to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron - to watch old favorites like Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor team up once again. Earth's Mightiest will be joined by a few new faces this time around; including, most importantly, "the Twins": Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). They're hardly the only franchise newcomers featured in the film, though.
Take for instance, fan-favorite thespian Andy Serkis. The actor has been briefly shown in the movie's various trailers (with a look that closely resembled Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw), but not much is known about the character he's playing in the anticipated sequel. Now, Serkis himself has revealed a few little details about his role - including that his screen time in Ultron is little more than a glorified cameo.
While at the Jameson Empire Awards (during which Serkis won Best Actor for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), the actor spoke with Empire (watch the full interview above) and discussed many topics, including filming on his directorial debut (a Jungle Book adaptation). Of course, his participation in The Avengers 2 came up.
Serkis took this opportunity to officially confirm that he is in fact playing Klaw, but don't expect to see too much of him in this film:
"It was really minimal. It's a tiny role, a little cameo role. But I just loved doing it and it's a great character."
At this point in the Age of Ultron pre-release phase, it really shouldn't come as a huge shock that Klaw won't have the meatiest role in the proceedings. As you might expect, much of the screen time is going to be dedicated to the titular villain and the beef he has with the superhero team - which includes, diving into Ultron's dynamic with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Director Joss Whedon also needs to continue the personal arcs of the established heroes, so a minor character like Klaw wouldn't have too many opportunities to pop up in several scenes.
That said, it doesn't mean that Serkis won't have an important part to play. The trailers for Ultron have shown that the evil A.I. will undergo multiple transformations during the running time, with his "Prime" form featuring a coat of Vibranium. That material is frequently associated with Black Panther's home country of Wakanda, so it's entirely plausible that Ultron could make a trip to the nation to strike a deal with Klaw so he can get his hands on the precious resource.
Of course, Marvel is always looking five steps ahead when plotting out the future of their cinematic universe, regularly sprinkling Easter eggs of what's to come in their films. Klaw's inclusion in Ultron has lead many to speculate that the character will be used again down the line - perhaps as the primary antagonist in the solo Black Panther movie that's due out in July 2018. However, Serkis has no idea if that's the case:
"That, I know nothing about. I truly don't know anything about that."
Moviegoers have come to expect actors in popular tentpoles to play coy when it comes to talking about future appearances and the like, but there's a good chance Serkis actually is in the dark in regards to Black Panther. The film is still more than three years out and has neither a writer nor director attached at the moment, so Marvel very well could be in the process of plotting out how that movie will play out.
However, the safe money would be on Klaw returning down the line, simply because you don't get an actor of Serkis' caliber for a short cameo in one film - and the idea of Serkis matching wits on the big screen with Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up) as Black Panther is almost too good to pass up. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be in theaters May 1, 2015; Ant-Man on July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Black Panther - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019; Inhumans - July 12, 2019.