Just days after rumors began circling that Tony Stark's AI assistant JARVIS and the actor who plays him, Paul Bettany, would take on the titular moniker of Ultron in the 2015 sequel, Marvel has announced that three-time Emmy Award-winning actor James Spader will play the evil robot.
Spader is the first official new addition to the cast of "Avengers: The Age of Ultron." Returning writer-director Joss Whedon has teased new team members Quicksilver and Scarlett witch on several occasions since making the rounds with "Iron Man 3," but no official casting announcement has been made.
Actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen are said to be in various states of negotiations for the roles of the super-powered brother-sister duo, but Spader is the first to be officially locked down and announced by the comic book house.
The rumors of JARVIS and Bettany taking on the role began shortly after San Diego Comic-Con, when a teaser for "Age of Ultron" depicted Tony Stark's Iron Man armor transforming into the iconic head of the Avengers' robotic nemesis.
Whedon then fueled rumors of Iron Man's involvement in the creation of Ultron, when he revealed that Hank Pym aka Ant-Man, the character who builds the robot in the comic books and is set for his own 2015 film adaptation, would not play a role in the events of his sequel. It's still possible that JARVIS will play a role in Ultron's origin, but now it has been confirmed that if he does, his voice will not remain Bettany's.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" opens in theaters on May 1, 2015."