Despite what anyone says, and no matter how many time James Gunn speaks to the contrary, The Avengers is the centerpiece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for films like Guardians of the Galaxy to be their own thing, but Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the sun that all these planets orbit around. This is where the individual threads like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and others all come together, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be a massive collision. To further their impending cinematic takeover, the studio has released this new image of the key players and some badass promo art.
The first Avengers movie isn’t just an end, it’s also a beginning. It’s where all of these various storylines finally come together, but at the same time, it’s the embarkation point for a variety of new directions for the MCU. Out of nowhere you have all these other things to contend with, like gods and aliens, and while up to this point these operations had all taken place in relative secret, now they’re out there, part of the public consciousness, which is a whole other can of worms.
This is a strategy that has served Marvel well up to this point, to have all of these separate adventures, but bring everyone back for one big party. Avengers shifted the direction of the MCU, and Age of Ultron looks like it is going to do the same thing again, leading up to versions of the Civil War storyline and the Infinity Wars, among many others.
This photo shows the gang all together, and comes from a moment we saw in the trailer, right before Ultron stops by and the whole world goes to hell. Here’s the synopsis of Age of Ultron:
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
From everything we’ve seen, things are going to get even darker for the heroes, even turning them against one another, and these images certainly appear to drive that point home in a big way.
I can’t wait to see the evil robot Ultron on the big screen, and, again as illustrated by the trailer, James Spader, and that creepy ass voice of his, is the perfect choice to breathe life into this new villain.
Also, the closer we get, the more excited I am to see Hulk tussle with Tony Stark in his Hulkbuster armor. This feels very much like a first big step towards the Civil War, something many fans have been waiting for. While this will obviously come to a head in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, you have to imagine that many of these symptoms will manifest in the films that open between now and then, much like in the comics.
Starring all of the usual suspects, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and Don Cheadle, and some new additions, like Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Paul Bettany, the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers: Age of Ultron opens everywhere May 1, 2015.