Armor Wars Is Bringing Back Marvel’s Worst Villain?

By Sean Thiessen | Published

armor wars

Though Robert Downey Jr. bowed out of his role as Tony Stark, the character’s impact continues to be felt across the MCU. A new rumor suggests that Stark’s impact might not always be a good thing. reports that Armor Wars, an upcoming Marvel film starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, may mark the return of Ultron.

Hauntingly portrayed by James Spader, Ultron appeared in the MCU as the villain of Joss Whedon’s 2015 sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. For a character with such a long and dastardly history in comic books, Ultron was a one-and-done villain on the big screen. His return in Armor Wars would be a challenge; the hivemind robot was destroyed by Vision, who seemed to take Ultron offline for good.

Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel Studios team, however, have not quite let Ultron go; Spider-Man came across a seemingly electrified but inactive Ultron head in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Ultron appeared again in the Disney+ series What If…, and once more in an alternate universe during Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While none of these instances have an obvious, direct connection to Armor Wars, they prove that, in one form or another, Ultron is still out there.

The story for Armor Wars, which was recently altered from a series to a movie, is still under wraps. Its title references a late-80s Iron Man comic story arc in which Iron Man and company must take down a host of armored villains, who are using stolen Stark designs to fuel their criminal endeavors. If Armor Wars explores the dark side of Tony Stark’s legacy, the return of Ultron may be a natural fit for the film.

James Spader Ultron
Ultron In Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Tony Stark created the MCU’s version of Ultron using tech found in Loki’s scepter. Originally designed as a replacement for the Avengers, Ultron was meant to protect Earth from the next great threat; however, Ultron’s deranged sentience judged humanity to be Earth’s greatest threat, and set out to destroy all life on the planet. Rhodes and the rest of the crew in Armor Wars could be in serious trouble if the exterminator philosophy of Ultron comes back online.

The return of Ultron to the main timeline MCU has been rumored almost since the character debuted in 2015. Though Age of Ultron is widely regarded as the weakest Avengers film, James Spader is universally praised for his unsettlingly organic portrayal of the maniacal machine. If he does not return in Armor Wars, another logical place for Ultron to resurface is the upcoming series, VisionQuest.

Details about VisionQuest are almost nonexistent, other than the fact that it will follow Vision after the events of WandaVision. Ultron and Vision are two sides of the same coin, and since Vision was the one to initially take him out, Ultron might have an inorganic bone to pick with the android. While Armor Wars might be the soonest fans could hope to see Ultron, they won’t have to wait nearly as long for Rhodey.

Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes in next year’s Disney+ series Secret Invasion, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Emilia Clarke, and Ben Mendelsohn. A release date for Armor Wars has not yet been nailed down, but if the movie does include the return of Ultron, it can’t come soon enough.