James Spader is Ultron in The Avengers: Age of Ultron

James Spader Ultron

It was common sense: The Avengers: The Age of Ultron was going to pit the Marvel heroes against an evil artificial intelligence created by a member of the team, so we all just assumed that Tony Stark's beloved robot butler J.A.R.V.I.S., voiced by Paul Bettany, would be the cinematic version of Ultron. We assumed wrong. Today, Marvel Studios announced that Ultron will be played by James Spader, the Emmy-winning star of "Boston Legal" and the world-class douchebag "Steff" from Pretty in Pink.

Since it's pretty unlikely that J.A.R.V.I.S. will change voices spontaneously a la Tom Servo, it would seem that The Avengers: Age of Ultron​ will go in a different direction than fans were expecting. Which, as usual, is probably a good thing. Although we can't help but wonder if the legions of Ultron fans will sing out in chorus declaring Spader a terrible casting choice, setting up a petition to change the studio's mind, and overall just being jerks about the unexpected casting of a proven talented Bostonite.

Oh wait, we're thinking of Ben Affleck.

James Spader is known for some pretty unusual roles, starring in sex dramas like Secretary, crime sagas like 2 Days in the Valley and the Falstaffian political schemer W.N. Bilbo in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron would be his biggest action movie role since 1994's Stargate, in which Spader played the idealistic Egyptologist Dr. Daniel Jackson, trapped on an alien world full of ancient Egyptians and alien gods. We suspect the events of the Avengers sequel will probably seem pretty straightforward by comparison.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015.


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.