Joss Whedon has picked one formidable villain for The Avengers team to battle in the sequel to last year’s mega-grossing blockbuster. But sentient super-bot Ultron also presents a challenge for the film’s screenwriter too: How to make a machine that can do just about anything into an interesting on-screen character.
Created by a scientist in the Marvel comics, Ultron is a self-aware robot who develops a lust for power. He has a laundry list of abilities — super-human strength, speed, stamina, durability, flight, mind control, a coma ray and a genius intellect. For Avengers: Age of Ultron, Whedon reveals to Entertainment Weekly in this week’s cover story that he’s stripping back some of Ultron’s abilities and will find a way to humanize — to some degree — the angry bot.
“I knew right away what I wanted to do with him,” Whedon says. “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.”
Whedon adds that he has to be careful “to ground [the character] while still evoking that guy.” And like a certain giant green Avenger hero, it sounds like large doses of rage will be key to his personality. “As a character I love [Ultron],” Whedon says, “because he’s so pissed off.”
For more, much more, from Whedon, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, Aug. 23, which features a 10-page Q&A spread with the writer-producer-director discussing his entire career and future projects. For another tease from the interview, check out Whedon taking on Empire Strikes Back and Twilight.