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Thomas Kretschmann is Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

Thomas Kretschmann
Thomas Kretschmann
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Thomas Kretschmann has been cast as villain Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Age of Ultron," according to an article published by The Hollywood Reporter on Jan. 15, 2014.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Baron Wolfgang von Strucker is "an antagonist for both Captain America (Chris Evans) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). In the comics, the man was a Nazi officer who becomes one of the heads of HYDRA, a terrorist organization."

Kretschmann's other recent film credits include the 2013 movies "Stalingrad," "Open Grave" and "Dracula 3D." He plays Abraham Van Helsing in the NBC series "Dracula." NBC has not announced yet if "Dracula" has been renewed for a second season, but industry analysts say that the show is likely to cancelled due to low ratings.

His movies scheduled for release in 2014 are "F2014, "Plastic" and the TV-movie "The Saint."

As previously reported, Elizabeth Olsen has been cast as Scarlet Witch (also known as Wanda Maximoff) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which is set for a U.S./Canadian release date on May 1, 2015. (The movie's release dates in other countries may vary.) Filming of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" begins in early 2014.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who co-stars with Olsen in the 2014 "Godzilla" movie) confirmed in an October 2013 interview with Total Film that he has the role of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch's brother, in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Evan Peters plays the Quicksilver character in the "X-Men" movies.)

In November 2013, Olsen made some of her first comments to the media about her role as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" when she did interviews for her movie "Oldboy." Olsen did a roundtable interview with me and other journalists at the New York City press junket for her movie "Oldboy," a dark psychological thriller that is a remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name.

When I asked Olsen about her role in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," she replied: "It's funny. We [Aaron Taylor-Johnson and I] are going from husband and wife [in 'Godzilla'] to twin brother and sister ['Avengers: Age of Ultron']. I'm excited to actually get to work with him, because we didn't work with each other much in 'Godzilla." I'm excited. I've been doing homework and reading comic books as my homework right now ...

"I'm feeling really excited about Scarlet Witch because she's really complicated. It's really fun stuff. I'm kind of tired of playing myself right now, like, versions of myself. Doing something like [Scarlet Witch] sounds a lot cooler."

Olsen, 24, is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of "Full House" fame.

Olsen has starred in mostly independent movies, but her roles in the big-budget studio movies "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Godzilla" could take her career to the next level. Olsen's movies released in 2013 are "Kill Your Darlings" and "Oldboy," which opens in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 27. Her independent movies "Very Good Girls" and "In Secret" premiered at film festivals in 2013 and do not have any U.S. release dates yet.

On July 20, 2013, Marvel Studios revealed at Comic-Con International in San Diego that the second "Avengers" movie is called "Avengers: Age of Ultron." The cast members of the original "Avengers" movie are expected to return, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Chris Evans as Captain America. And it's highly likely that a superhero from the Marvel universe will be added to "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

On Aug. 29, 2013, Marvel Studios announced that James Spader is playing the villain Ultron. Fans' reactions to the news were mostly positive.

"The Avengers" (which is available on demand, DVD, Blu-ray and digital download) was the highest-grossing movie of 2012. The movie sold $623 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada and a total of $1.5 billion in tickets worldwide.

Joss Whedon, who directed and wrote the first "Avengers" movie, is back on board as director/writer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Details about the "Ultron" plot are being kept a secret, but Whedon commented to Entertainment Weekly (before the announcement was made about Spader getting the Ultron role) about how he envisions the Ultron character: "I knew right away what I wanted to do with him. He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain.

"And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [a new character, Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch ... As a character I love [Ultron], because he’s so pissed off.”

Given the way that Whedon crafts larger-than-life, non-human characters (such as The Hulk) in his movies, Spader will likely have to do motion-capture work, rather than donning a clunky robot costume.

Other stars of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" are to be announced.