You know you're dealing with the obsessive, knotty world of comic book movies when merely announcing the title of a movie can send a legion of dedicated super-fans into a speculative frenzy. This was the case when Marvel unveiled the subtitle for their highly anticipated sequel to last year's "The Avengers," titled "The Avengers: Age of Ultron." (For those without a basement full of long boxes, Ultron was a robot menace that turned out to be one of the team's deadliest foes.) While the movie isn't going to be released until the summer of 2015, details have started to emerge about what to expect from the sequel, with handsome dandy Tom Hiddleston confirming that his fanciful Loki will not be the villain for a second (third, if you count "Thor") time, Edgar Wright clarifying the film's connection to his own "Ant-Man" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" writer/director Joss Whedon offering further tidbits (including stuff about Thanos and The Vision).
First and foremost, Tom Hiddleston, who has become a breakout star of the Marvel cinematic universe (especially when he adorably appeared at Comic-Con in full Loki regalia), confirmed to Entertainment Weekly what he had been skirting around since his appearance at the Con: that Loki will not be a part of "Avengers: Age of Ultron." "He's not in it," Hiddleston told EW flat out. "Here's the thing: I don't think there's anything else Loki could contribute to 'The Avengers,' narratively. Joss gave me so many wonderful things to do in that first film that we'd only be trying to repeat ourselves and probably less well in the second one." He then added that, for $5,000, he'd appear at your kid's birthday or bar mitzvah outfitted in the horns and everything (not really).
Hiddleston then, amazingly, cited films from his childhood as a reason for being okay with not coming back for the second 'Avengers.' "When I think of all the things I loved as a child, for example, Hans Gruber wasn't in 'Die Hard 2.' And in Indiana Jones, by the time he moves from the Lost Ark to the Temple of Doom, there was a whole new bad guy. I think keeping it fresh and new is good for 'The Avengers' even though it's a shame for me." He added that the first film was "the most fun ever," and that Loki is back with a whole new bag of tricks in this fall's "Thor: The Dark World." "It's… another poker game for the god of mischief," Hiddleston told EW. "And he plays it well."
While talking with Total Film (via Comic Book Movie), Whedon said that Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, who created Ultron in the comic book, would probably not be making an appearance in his movie (the Comic Con teaser seemed to suggest that the character was accidentally created by Tony Stark aka Iron Man aka Robert Downey Jr). "We're not going to see Pym and all the accoutrements," Whedon told Total Film. He seemed to suggest that The Vision, an android that Ultron himself created (and who is rumored to be a character played by Vin Diesel), will probably not be a part of this film. "Ultron is more central to the Avengers as they are. But we will explore the idea of lineage, because he was created by us and we're going to own that… Then we have the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and I think that's plenty, because Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch did not begin their time as friends of the Avengers, so there's going to be a lot of, well, conflict."
Whedon says that a multi-studio crossover (as the magazine suggests) is not in the cards ("I'm not like, 'How can we get more licensed characters because I want to kill myself and make a nine-hour movie"), he did more directly address the looming threat of Avengers mega-villain Thanos, who was teased during the credits of the first "The Avengers." "We have to stay grounded," Whedon said. "It's part of what makes the Marvel universe click— their relationship to the real world. It's science fiction and Thanos is not out of the mix, but Thanos was never meant to be the next villain. He's always been the overlord of villainy and darkness."
And reiterating Whedon's claims that Hank Pym and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" will not intersect, was "The World's End" director Edgar Wright, who will be directing the "Ant-Man" movie (tentatively scheduled for fall of 2015). While talking to Science Fiction (again, via Comic Book Movie), he was asked if Ultron was ever a part of his "Ant-Man" movie, Wright said, briefly: "I cannot really get into that, but ummm…I'll say no. No he wasn't." Well, that clears things up: Tony Stark makes Ultron in the new Avengers movie. After all, isn't Ultron just a couple of degrees away from all those crazy suits at the end of "Iron Man 3"? Answer: yes.