Less than 24 hours after Marvel Studios and writer/director Joss Whedon revealed at Comic-Con International that the "Avengers" sequel is called "Avengers: Age of Ultron," we already know two key details about the film: The story isn't based on the Marvel Comics miniseries of the same name, and the introduction of the sentient robot won't involve an appearance by Hank Pym.
ComicBookMovie reports that in a live interview that aired on Marvel.com, Whedon clarified that the sequel has nothing to do with "Age of Ultron," by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch and Carolos Pacheco. Instead, it's an origin story for the classic Avengers villain.
"Well, because there was a book called 'Age of Ultron' quite recently, a lot of people have assumed that is what we're doing, but that is not the case," the filmmaker is quoted as saying. "We're doing our own version of the origin story for Ultron. In the origin story, there was Hank Pym, so a lot of people assumed that he will be in the mix. He's not. We're basically taking the things from the comics for the movies that we need and can use. A lot of stuff has to fall by the wayside."
Whedon expanded on the omission of Pym to io9.com, saying, "We don't have to have him. It works very simply - this is Marvel cinema, not Marvel comics. One thing [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige has a genius for is knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of. You can invoke the feeling you had and play with the characters you love and remain true to the needs of the film."
So, if Pym doesn't create Ultron in the sequel, then who do we blame? "We're crafting our own version of it where his origin comes more directly from the Avengers we already know about," he's quoted as saying in the Marvel interview. "It's a little bit darker than the other film because Ultron is in the house. There's a science fiction theme that wasn't there in the other one. Ultron is definitely something that evolves, so we're going to get together a couple of different iterations. Nothing can be translated exactly as it was from the comics; particularly Ultron."
The filmmaker also delivered some news about "Age of Ultron" that should make Hawkeye fans -- not to mention actor Jeremy Renner -- very happy. "It's very much a global Avengers film," Whedon said. "A lot of the movie has to do with their place not just in America, but the world. Part of the fun for me, definitely this time around, is writing Hawkeye. He did get possessed pretty early by a bad guy and had to walk around all scowly for most of the movie so now it's nice to actually have the character there and see him interact with the other guys."
The announcement of "Avengers" sequel's title last night sent the upcoming Marvel Comics collection of "Age of Ultron" rocketing up the Amazon.com bestseller list, from No. 63,699 to, as of the time of this article, No. 339. It should be interesting to see what affect Whedon's most recent comments have.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" opens May 1, 2015.