Considering the title of the second "Avengers" film and the fact that the film's main villain Ultron had been cast already (James Spader), it was inevitable that the robot villain's "son" would wind up in the film as well. Marvel Studios revealed that Paul Bettany has been cast as the android superhero the Vision for "Avengers: Age of Ultron". While Joss Whedon will return to direct the sequel to 2012's genre crushing blockbuster, "The Avengers", this move merely showcases how the Marvel Studios production staff have been lining their ducks in a row for years now.
Bettany was cast as the voice of "J.A.R.V.I.S.", the artificial intelligence which was a modernized update of Tony Stark's faithful butler in 2008's "Iron Man". He has naturally been tasked to reprise that role in both of "Iron Man"'s sequels as well as the aforementioned "The Avengers". Before this, the actor was perhaps best known in appearing in a supporting role in two Russell Crowe vehicles, 2001's "A Beautiful Mind" and 2003's "Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World". He also starred as the archangel Michael in 2010's "Legion".
The "Marvel cinematic universe" which Marvel Studios have created since 2008 has often sought to build up characters before revealing them in their full splendor, and to this end this gives them a seamless "in" for the iconic Avengers hero. Although a completely unrelated 1940's superhero shared the same name, the Vision that modern fans know debuted in "The Avengers #57" in 1968 and was created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema. The mad robot Ultron sought to create a new ally for use against his enemies the Avengers, who ultimately wound up betraying his creator and becoming one of the most staunch Avengers in their history.
New faces in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" will include Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Strucker, Aaron Tyler-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olson as Scarlet Witch. This latest mega blockbuster is set to debut May 1st, 2015.
"Lost" starring actress to be mysterious female lead in "Ant-Man"!
Evangeline Lilly, star of "Lost" and currently appearing as the original elf character Tauriel in the second "Hobbit" film, has just been announced as being cast as the female lead in Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man" film. Details are scarce and while logic and history would suggest this role would be of Janet Van Dyne/The Wasp, Wright's film will be the first of the Marvel Studios crop to drastically alter the comic book history of its lead.
In the comics, Janet Van Dyne first appeared in "Tales to Astonish #44" in 1963 by none other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves. She originally became Hank Pym's super powered partner to avenge the death of her father, and wound up easing Pym's own sense of loss after the death of his first wife to become romantically involved with him as well. However, Wright's film is set to star Paul Rudd as the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, while an elder Pym (played by Michael Douglas) acts as a mentor. It is possible that Lilly could be playing a version of Wasp either divorced from Pym (even if Douglas is almost twice Lilly's age) or was never involved with Pym to begin with.
The Wasp is one of Marvel Comics' most long time heroines aside for Black Widow and Invisible Woman (of the Fantastic Four), and even literally named "The Avengers" when they originally formed in the comics. It could be possible that Lilly could be playing another role in "Ant-Man", but it would be a shame for Janet to continue to be left out of modern cinema. "Ant-Man" debuts in theaters July 2015.
More sketches and details for March's "All-New Ghost Rider"!
Coming in March is the latest reboot of Marvel's "Ghost Rider" franchise as part of their "All-New Marvel NOW" editorial push. To this end will come an all-new Ghost Rider with an all-new look and motif. The creative team for this comic, Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore, speak at length with Newsarama about their new take on the old franchise, complete with a lot of artwork by Smith. It is revealed that it was their editor Mark Paniccia who suggested that they create an all new "Ghost Rider" who has a bold new twist - that he drives a car rather than riding a motorcycle. It is still unknown if this suggestion came before or after "Fast & Furious 6", which happened to be one of the top grossing action films of 2013.
Smith and Moore state that their new rider, Robbie Reyes, is not replacing the previous "Ghost Rider" Johnny Blaze, as he still will appear in "Thunderbolts". Reyes' Rider will also prefer weapons more closely tied with cars, such as tire irons along with an auto chain hook. Daft Punk and "Speed Racer" were also cited as design influences. While this may seem like a bizarre take, the manga "Gunsmith Cats" offered a lot of car chases in comic book form and remains a classic series which was translated and printed in the U.S. by Dark Horse Comics. Robbie Reyes will be the second new "Ghost Rider" within three years, replacing Alejandra from 2011. Danny Ketch, the "Ghost Rider" of the 90's who ironically created the spiked leather coat and chains look, has been scarce since the start of the Sony film series in 2007.