We all know that the Avengers movies are ensemble affairs. That much is obvious simply from the concept. But The Avengers kept things pretty close to its main characters, whittling appearances from the main heroes' supporting cast down to mentions and asides whenever possible. An adamant Robert Downey, Jr. had to convince Joss Whedon to add a Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts to a few scenes to support Tony Stark's character arc over the film. At the time, Whedon explained that he'd needed to "separate the characters from their support systems" to make sure they were properly motivated to form a team.
This time, the team has already formed for Age of Ultron, and it seems that there's no more need for isolation, as the cast is huge for the sequel. The six Avengers from the previous film return, along with Maria Hill and Nick Fury. Add on our main villain Ultron, secondary villain Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and three new heroes: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision — and you've got a main cast so big (with even more promised) that it's easy to forget the broader landscape of support characters, even if you're paying attention to Hollywood for a living.
So here are ten actors that you've probably already forgotten are in Avengers: Age of Ultron, if you ever realized they were in it in the first place. And if you perfectly remember all of them: bravo.
It's easy to forget that Andy Serkis is in Ultron for a simple reason: he's not doing any motion capture for it! But even below the surface, Serkis' role is one that may be laying pavement on the road to Black Panther. The actor's appearance in trailers bears considerable resemblance to Ulysses Klaw (or Klaue), and Serkis himself confirmed those suspicions in an interview last week. In comics, Klaw is an old Nazi toadie of Baron von Strucker (first introduced to movie audiences in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier), so it's not surprising that he might show up alongside Strucker's first full-film appearance. But Klaw also has considerable history with Black Panther and his native Wakanda.
The evil scientist first traveled to Wakanda to steal some vibranium, an ultra-durable metal (of which Captain America's shield is made) only found in within its borders. During the successful heist, he defeated and killed the Black Panther. As Black Panther is a hereditary role given to the leader of Wakanda, it fell to a young prince T'Challa — the traditional "secret identity" of Marvel's Black Panther — to drive Klaw and his men out of the country.
Marvel has confirmed that Chadwick Boseman will play Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and a solo film, but whether or not Andy Serkis will be reprising the role of Klaw remains to be seen. When asked, Serkis answered "I truly don't know anything about that." And considering that Black Panther won't be out until 2017, it may simply be too early to say.
Linda Cardellini and Julie Delpy
Alright, this one is just a bit of a trick: Cardellini and Delpy's involvement with Avengers: Age of Ultron has only very recently been confirmed. A recent Disney press release included these two actresses on a list of cast members who could be expected on the red carpet of the film's grand premiere. While Cardellini will be familiar to fans of Freaks and Geeks, ER or Mad Men, Delpy is perhaps a less well-known ER alumni, though she's had roles in An American Werewolf in Paris and But I'm a Cheerleader.
Disney's press release is the first we've heard of Cardellini and Delpy's involvement, and the company has confirmed that it wasn't a typo. There's been no indication of what roles they'll be playing, but at least now when your friend points at the screen and goes "Hey! It's that person from that thing!" you can enlighten them. And then remind them that Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) and Danny Pudi (Community) were in the Captain America movies.
Hayley Atwell and Anthony Mackie
It's perfectly fair to forget that the Falcon is in Age of Ultron. Marvel's infamous secrecy kept Anthony Mackie from finding out that his character was in the movie until roughly a month ago, when a family member pointed out that his name was on the posters. The actor has since filmed some truly last minute additional scenes for the movie. On the other hand, Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, fresh off a spectacular turn in her own television miniseries, has been known to be attached to the film ever since a loved one casually spilled the beans on Twitter a year ago.
While Falcon's presence in the movie doesn't require any unexpected plot twists, Atwell's is a bit more mysterious. After all, the events of Agent Carter are separated from the events of Ultron by a large gulf of time. She could potentially appear as a quite aged Peggy, as in The Winter Soldier, but it's more likely that she'll be in some sort of flashback or hallucination. Especially given some of her costars ...
Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skårsgard
... like Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston, both Asgardian mainstays of the Thor films. Much like Mackie and Atwell, one of these cameos makes a lot less sense than the others. As Heimdall, keeper of the Rainbow Bridge, Elba's character could very well appear briefly, perhaps as Thor leaves Asgard for a nice dinner and drinks night with the Avengers. Stellan Skarsgård's Dr. Erik Selvig has a known association with SHIELD that may very well have survived the organization's implosion in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But Tom Hiddleston's Loki is another story.
Unlike Atwell's Peggy Carter, he's not separated by time period but by the fact that everybody thinks he's dead. Thanks to the final scenes of Thor: The Dark World, the audience knows exactly where Loki is: He's secretly taken the place of Odin and is ruling Asgard. That's a situation in which you'd expect to see Anthony Hopkins' credit, not Hiddleston's.
The likeliest solution to this puzzle lies in the mindbending powers of the Scarlet Witch. Wanda Maximoff's powers were initially defined very broadly, and have fluctuated over the years as various writers have attempted to pin them down to something more specific. Joss Whedon has confirmed that Ultron's version of the character can, among other abilities, "get inside your head so that all your worst fears or doubts come to the fore." It seems likely that Loki, Peggy Carter and perhaps Heimdall, Selvig and even the Falcon will be a part of some heavy hallucinations that the Scarlet Witch will inflict upon our heroes.
At least until she and her brother Quicksilver stop working for Ultron and join up with the good guys.
Alright, this one's easy: Don Cheadle's James "Rhodey" Rhodes isn't in a lot of the trailers, but he is front and center in the most solid scene we've gotten of the film so far, in which the Avengers all try to lift Thor's hammer. Perhaps we’ll see him kick some butt alongside the core team? At the very least it appears that he's brought his armor to this friendly dinner and drinks, which implies that he flew there wearing a tailored suit under his armor. It's difficult not to be amused by that.
And finally: Lou Ferrigno. Yes, the co-star of CBS' The Incredible Hulk is in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And he was in The Avengers, too. Ferrigno's voicework was used by the audio folks working on the films to craft the Hulk's roars, growls, grunts and, of course, his infamous single on-liner in the film, "Puny god." And the actor has confirmed that he'll be back for Age of Ultron. Perhaps to say "puny robot?" We've got less than a month until we find out.
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