While the Iron Man films gave rebirth to the career and stardom of Robert Downey Jr. thanks to the oddly perfect casting of him as Tony Stark, they carried supporting casts of big-name talent, one of whom many don't even realize is in the film.
Paul Bettany (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) played a part in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 as the voice of Jarvis, Tony Stark's Artificially Intelligent computer who helped in the creation of Stark's Iron Man armored suits. According to Bettany, he'll again provide the voice of Jarvis in Joss Whedon's The Avengers next year.
J.A.R.V.I.S., which stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System, can be considered one of Tony Stark's special abilities since he's one of Marvel's biggest superheroes who actually doesn't possess any "super" powers. Stark is all about the tech and Jarvis is a key part of that in the Marvel Studios film universe, not only being Stark's home computer sidekick in the films (and a butler in the comics) but being a part of his suits.
Bettany explains that he never knows in advance whether he'll be in the next Robert Downey Jr. comic book movie adventure, since he always find out last minute. For him that's fine, since it's the easiest acting role he's ever had to do that all began as a favor for his pal, Iron Man director Jon Favreau..
"This is pretty much the way it always goes... I never get the call until literally about a month or two before the movie comes out, and then they bring me in once everything else is done. I'm literally the last person hired. It's exactly like voicing animation, except I don't even have to sync to anything. It's the easiest gig in the world."
The Stark Tower will feature in The Avengers - it's spotted briefly in The Avengers trailer - and Jarvis will undoubtedly be there. What's interesting is that at one point in the books, the human version of Jarvis was replaced by a Skrull, the alien invaders we expect are the villains in The Avengers movie. As an AI, that won't happen in the film but maybe he'll be hacked? Nick Fury did it in the books, surely the aliens could if need be?
Expect Paul Bettany to also return a fourth time to play Jarvis in Iron Man 3.
The Avengers hits theaters May 4th, 2012 and Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013.
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Header image edited by Rob Keyes with brushes by ~WuRklash.