Friday, December 20, 2013

Does AGE OF ULTRON Have a Second Villain? (It Probably Does)

Latino Review has the best track-record of the independent movie gossip-hunting sites, even if they're by no means "always" on-target. But their big post-holiday (possible) "get" makes all kinds of sense. It doesn't sound like something that'd be a "spoiler" for the movie itself, but it does sound like it could be a spoiler for one of the other (by then previous) movies, so I'm putting it after the jump.


POSSIBLE SPOILER SPACE

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According to LR's sources (which a few other industry journos appear to be backing up) the secondary villain is BARON WOLFGANG VON STRUCKER, a perennial Captain America enemy and (traditionally) one of the surprisingly large number of immortal Nazis running around the Marvel Universe. In the comics he's technically the founder of HYDRA, but in practical terms he's become the guy you get when The Red Skull and Baron Zemo have been used too recently (or are dead.) 

According to Drew McWeeny at HitFix, the plan is for The Baron to be more of a guest-villain than a co-nemesis: He'll the threat The Avengers are dealing with as the film opens, and will primarily serve as a means by which the team encounters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen). Even before McWeeny had jumped in, that's where my mind immediately went: The important things (character-wise) about Pietro and Wanda, in the books, are that they're siblings, they start out as villains and their father is a supervillain.

This is where it gets wonky: In the comcis, dad is Magneto and the twins are mutants (make no mistake, though - otherwise the pair are tied almost exclusively to The Avengers, they're not considered "X-Men characters"), which of course isn't going to work out because of movie studio business stuff i.e. only Fox can make X-Men movies. Strucker, meanwhile, traditionally has as lieutenants twin offspring of his own, Andrea and Andreas. McWeeny's story only says that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will be "working for" The Baron, but it's easy to imagine Whedon etc. wanting to preserve that crucial "kids of a villain" element by making them Strucker's children in this incarnation... though it's equally easy to imagine Marvel waiting until the last possible moment to decide that, shooting dialogue "both ways" or having them be adopted on the off chance that Fox wants to start playing ball on crossovers (remember: it was supposedly only a matter of logistics and time that kept "AMAZING SPIDER-MAN's" Oscorp Tower out of "AVENGERS'" New York skyline.)

All well and good, but we're still a ways out from the actual shooting of this movie, which makes this kind of early for Marvel to be casting around (and psuedo-secretly, no less) for what might be a cameo at best. Which leads me to wonder if we won't actually be seeing Strucker a lot sooner - like say just a few months from now. At least part of the plot of "CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER" looks to be that S.H.I.E.L.D is being influenced/overtaken by nefarious forces, and "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D" has been teasing "The Agency is going bad" as a substory for awhile. That's typically the sort of thing The Baron can be found behind, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if whoever they end up casting (supposedly Marton Csoksas and Dougray Scott are on the shortlist) ends up shooting a quick cameo (or post-credits stinger) so as to be revealed as the real power behind the throne in "WINTER SOLDIER."