Because comics! And robots! That’s the short explanation behind the news — reported by the Daily Mail — that beloved British person Paul Bettany will apparently be The Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The average Marvel-loving moviegoer might recall that Bettany essayed the voice-only role of J.A.R.V.I.S., Iron Man’s robo-butler, in the Iron Man movies and the first Avengers. “So how could he play a totally different character?” asks the average moviegoer. “Is this a Rhys-Davies-in-Two-Towers thing?”
Sort of. Some background: In the comics, The Vision is a superpowered android created by the mega-evil robo-villain Ultron. Possible Decade-Old Spoilers Follow: The Vision eventually turns good, joins the Avengers, and even becomes the lover of one of his teammates, the Scarlet Witch. Since Ultron is the titular baddie of the superteam sequel, it’s an easy bet that they’ll maintain that aspect of The Vision’s origin. But having Bettany play the character adds an interesting twist.
Could it be that Ultron takes J.A.R.V.I.S. — who’s spent four movies as a serene disembodied artificial consciousness — and gives him a body? And then turns him against his master? That would give Avengers 2 a bit of a Frankenstein’s-monster undertone.
Marvel Studios did not immediately respond to EW’s request for a comment, so it’s unclear if Bettany will just be voicing the Vision or playing him via motion-capture — although the latter is likely, since James Spader is mo-capping Ultron. Bettany’s casting ends years of Vision-centric speculation in fanboy circles. (Literally, there have been Vision rumors about single person who has ever been remotely attached to a Marvel project.) Theoretically it’s possible that Bettany is playing Thanos, but let’s table that for now.
Also, this does set up the long-term possibility of a spinoff starring Bettany and Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch. Ideally, they would realize their mutual attraction while preparing to play in the world’s premier tennis tournament. That was a Wimbledon joke! Remember Wimbledon?