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MCU: 10 Things You Might Not Know About AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

There are no strings on Geek Dave...

1. All of the main actors were under contract to appear in a second Avengers film, all except Robert Downey Jr that is. Iron Man 3 marked the end of his formal commitment to Marvel, and so contractually he was not obliged to make any more films for the studio.

Despite success launching many other stand-alone character features in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fact remains that Marvel movies in which Downey appears perform far better than those in which he doesn’t. For instance, even the poorly received Iron Man 2 out-grossed Thor by 39% and Captain America by 69% worldwide. Clearly the studio would want him to continue in the role of Iron Man, and it was equally clear they were going to have to pay him big bucks to do so. As Forbes reported:
"This year, Downey made more than any other actor and recorded his highest ever annual payday. A large portion of his $80 million paycheck comes from the backend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which grossed $1.4 billion at the box office. Though Marvel has been accused of penny pinching when it comes to paying its stars, Downey has leveraged his Iron Man role into a bulletproof position in which the Disney-owned studio must give him a favorable deal on any movie the character appears in."
2. James Spader was Joss Whedon's first and only choice for the role of Ultron because of his "hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling while also being very human and humorous". Spader used his natural speaking voice for Ultron with no accent or alteration.

3. Early on it was made very clear that Spader would not just be the 'voice' of Ultron, as Marvel's Kevin Feige clarified,
"We'll be capturing his face and his body to create a whole performance... We did not hire James Spader to do a robot voice."
That whole performance also included Spader acting on set, and because Ultron was described as 8-9 feet tall he would wear an antennae-like contraption made out of a thick piece of wire with two red balls attached to the top that could be extended and stand up to 3 feet above his head, so that the actors that shared scenes with him would be able to have a reference point for where his eyes would be (the two red balls represented the placement of Ultron's eyes).

Elizabeth Olsen stated that this was actually distracting because Spader would be giving such an intense performance and out of instinct she would look at him rather than the balls representing his eyes. Much to everyone's amusement, whenever this happened, Aaron Taylor-Johnson would yell at her, "Red balls! Look at his balls, Lizzie!" in order to get her to look in the right direction.

4. Before Elizabeth Olsen was cast as Scarlet Witch, both Saorise Ronan and Sasha Pieterse read for the part. As for the other half of the Maximoff twins, it took Joss Whedon almost a year to convince Aaron Taylor-Johnson to accept the role of Quicksilver. Johnson was concerned over the intensity of the Marvel contracts, the time constraints, and the fact that it was going to be such a large cast. Even after he accepted the role, he was still nervous, but was comforted after he learned that his friend and Godzilla co-star Elizabeth Olsen would be playing his sister and would be his filming partner through most of the movie. 

Taylor-Johnson was, of course, no stranger to comic-book movies, having starred in the two Kick-Ass films. Coincidentally, Evan Peters also featured in the first Kick-Ass movie, and he was the actor who bought the character of Quicksilver to life in X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

5. Just before filming began on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlett Johansson found out she was pregnant, so Whedon used a variety of tricks to hide her pregnancy, including shooting Black Widow from the waist up, CGI-ing out her growing belly, and using three near-identical stunt doubles. This caused a lot of confusion among the other actors, with Chris Evans stating that it got to the point where he would say hello and start a conversation with Johansson only to realize midway that the person he was talking to was one of her stunt doubles.

6. Feige revealed that Captain Marvel appeared in an early draft of the screenplay, but was removed since the character had not yet been cast, saying,
"It didn't feel like the time. We didn't want to introduce her fully formed flying in a costume before you knew who she was or how she came to be."
Whedon went so far as to shoot visual effects plates for Captain Marvel to fly into Avengers Tower at the end of the film. Those shots were reused for Scarlet Witch instead.

7. It wasn't just Captain Marvel who didn't make it in to the film, Whedon hoped for a Spider-Man cameo too. But a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment was not completed in time for the characters inclusion, as Whedon explained,
"I would have put both of them [in Ultron], but neither of the deals were made,"

8. In an interview with Empire magazine, Whedon said that the scenes with Thor at the pool and his vision were intended to be much longer. In the scene Thor would've been possessed by a Norn, a goddess of destiny, while Selvig would quiz her about Thor's hallucinations. But Whedon revealed that Marvel executives issued an ultimatum stating that either that scene be edited down or he would have to lose Hawkeye's farm scenes. Whedon chose to keep the farm scenes.

9. Talking of Thor, Avengers: Age of Ultron marked the first time the character had appeared in the MCU without his brother Loki. But that wasn't meant to be the case as Tom Hiddleston did film scenes as Loki but none of them made it into the theatrical cut.

10. As of August 2020, Avengers: Age of Ultron has grossed $1.39 billion worldwide, making it currently the eleventh highest-grossing film of all time. Yet apparently Disney view the movie as a 'failure'.

As reported, even though Age of Ultron made a butt-load of money and got solid reviews, it didn’t make enough money and it didn’t earn enough praise. Especially when compared to the 2012 original, which made over $1.5 billion and was at the time of release the third highest-grossing film of all time (now sitting in 9th place) and it's two sequels; Infinity War earning just over $2 billion and Endgame, the highest grossing film of all time, with a take of $2.79 billion.

Perhaps with a franchise like the Avengers setting standards that are just so high your definition of what is and isn’t a failure starts to change. But it is official, we live in a world where a movie that makes almost one and half billion dollars, and a billion of that is profit, is still considered a failure.

And that's maybe the hardest thing to believe about Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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