If you're one of those movie fans that just has to know everything going into a movie, there are some pretty big Avengers: Age of Ultron details that have leaked thanks to the hype machine. We've gotten a good description of what's going into the beginning of the film, and it looks like the roots of a split in the Avengers squad are going to be evident from Age of Ultron's opening minutes.
The new details come from Empire Magazine, [h/t: MovieWeb and ScreenRant], which always gets the scoop on things of this nature. The big news in this latest look at Age of Ultron is that the next Avengers movie will apparently kick off with a "pre-credits Bondian blow-out." By that, we mean a big action sequence featuring the whole Avengers crew; the sort of thing one would see at the beginning of a James Bond movie.
The Avengers' target; one Baron Von Strucker, a Hydra scientist last seen in the stinger for last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Avengers will be taking on the good Baron at the Eastern European castle where he's been holed up with Loki's scepter and, presumably, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
The Avengers, one assumes, take down the Baron or at least put him on the run. Our best description of the Age of Ultron opening, though, deals with the aftermath of that assault.
"As Stark is flying the ship, [Robert] Downey Jr. goes and sits in the pilot's seat. [Jeremy] Renner lies down on a table in the middle of the jet and clutches his stomach while a fake drip is attached to his arm. It's clear that, whatever went down at von Strucker's, it has left the Avengers' ace archer in considerable distress. As the dialogue plays out, it becomes clear that [Mark Ruffalo's] Bruce Banner has Hulked out, or what he calls a "code green," during the assault on Strucker's fortress, and is deeply troubled by it. [Scarlett Johansson's] Natasha tries to reassure him - 'If you hadn't been there, there would have been double the casualties.' Banner grimaces, and replies with, 'You know, sometimes exactly what I want to hear isn't exactly what I want to hear.' Seeking back-up, Natasha turns to [Chris Hemsworth's] Norse god. 'Thor, report on the Hulk?' she asks. Hemsworth immediately lights up and lets rip with a rousing tribute to all the violence unleashed by the Hulk, filled with words like 'screams' and 'victims' and 'whimpering.' Seeing that it has the opposite effect to that intended on Banner, the God of Thunder turns God of Blunter, stammering and stumbling, digging himself deeper into a hole."The Hulkbuster armor is going to figure big into Avengers: Age of Ultron, and we might know why it ends up getting developed.
By now, it's apparent how Age of Ultron's opening will lay the foundation for both the cloud-connected villain the Avengers will face and the eventual fissures in the team. With Hawkeye seriously wounded, Stark will turn to the Ultron program as a way of boosting the Avengers' forces without risking their lives. That will lead to the creation of the Ultron initiative, where Stark meddles with an alien artificial intelligence and gets the whole ball rolling on the titular genocidal robot foe.
On the other side, the opening will make clear that the happy ending from the first Avengers movie really only papered over some of the issues within the squad. The Hulk is still a truly dangerous factor, a ticking time bomb, and it wouldn't be surprising to see that his Hulk-out early in Age of Ultron – with all its attendant "casualties" – would lead to Tony Stark developing some new technologies to deal with the next "code green."
We're talking there, of course, about the Hulkbuster suit, the massive Iron Man armor variant that had the internet reaching for a new set of undies when the trailer debuted last year. An unscheduled "code green" while on a mission is just the sort of thing that would put Tony Stark into Contingency Plan Mode. Tony dreaming up weapons to take down each Avenger seems like the sort of thing that would put Captain America into "Righteous Indignation Mode." Thus, Civil War.
And where does Thanos come into all of this? It seems like a safe bet that Marvel is going to continue to keep the Mad Titan on the sidelines for Age of Ultron. Thanos is the Big Bad waiting for the Avengers and whoever else makes it to the end of Marvel's Phase Three. We might catch a glimpse of Thanos in Age of Ultron, though, if Elizabeth Olsen isn't leading us on.
That shot of all of the Avengers beaten and broken is, apparently, confirmed as an illusion created by Olsen's Scarlet Witch. That's likely the thing Captain America and Tony Stark are arguing about in some of Age of Ultron's previously leaked footage. Asked if it was Thanos who had beaten all of the Avengers in that vision, Olsen was a bit coy.
"I can neither confirm nor deny," she said, "that it totally is."