“There are no strings on me,” the titular villain touts in the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but director Joss Whedon has revealed there are in fact some limitations to the murderous robot, saying his abilities in the film aren’t exactly as they appear in the comics.
“Yeah, I did,” Whedon replied when asked by Empire if he played around with Ultron’s powers and capabilities. “The powers in comic books – they’re always like, ‘And then I can reverse the polarity of your ions!’ – well, we have to ground things a lot more. With Ultron, we have to make him slightly less omnipotent because he’d win. Bottom line. Also, having weaknesses and needs and foibles and alliances and actually caring what people think of him, all these things, are what make him a character and not just a tidal wave. A movie about a tidal wave can be great, but it’s different than a conflict between one side and the other. When Ultron speaks, he has a point. He is really not on top of the fact that the point he’s making has nothing to do with the fact that he’s banoonoos. And that he hates the Avengers for bringing him into this world, and he can’t really articulate that or even understand how much he hates humanity. He thinks he’s all that. That guy is very fun to write. He combines all the iconic stuff. The powers he has are slightly different – he can control certain things, he’s not just firing repulsors.”
Another new addition of powers to the mix in the film is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, whose origin Whedon says will be just present enough to not bloat the movie.
“They have an origin but it’s largely described. They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running. You don’t want to fall into Spider-Man 3 territory – and I say that as a guy who actually thinks pretty well of that movie, there’s some great stuff in that movie – but there comes a point where you’re overloaded with frontstory, backstory, origin story and it becomes very hard to juggle. My instinct is always, ‘Don’t put in more, work with what you have.’ But I insisted on putting in more in this movie because I felt I needed more villains. I needed someone for Ultron to talk to, and I need more trouble for the Avengers. As powerful as Ultron is, if he builds more Ultrons, they’re Ultrons. There’s no reason for him to ever to talk to them because they’re him. ‘I need you to – I KNOW! I AM TOTALLY YOU! I DID IT EARLIER! I know that because I am also me.’ That’s not a good conversation. Actually, it sounded pretty good there. I think I’m onto something.”
James Spader stars as the maniacal Ultron in the film with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. They’re joined by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Thomas Kretschmann, Paul Bettany and Stellan Skarsgard for the May 1 release.