Power down, Ultron -- you're not the only villain targeting "The Avengers."
"The Blacklist" actor James Spader voices the android antagonist in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," hitting theaters in 2015. But he's not the only bad guy in the mix. Latino-Review.com reports that Joss Whedon's super-sequel has a second villain in the picture: Baron Von Strucker, the menacing leader of HYDRA, the evil organization previously featured in "Captain America: The First Avenger."
A further report from HitFix.com states that Von Strucker will be Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's commander in the "Avengers" sequel; Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen occupy those roles, respectively.
Actors Dougray Scott and Marton Csokas are reportedly in contention for the Von Strucker role. Not to mess with Marvel's mojo, but neither actor really "pops" in the same way as, say, Spader as Ultron. With that in mind, Marvel, here are a few other names to mull while considering the Von Strucker casting process:
Quick, before Superman gets to him! Yes, the "Breaking Bad" star is the easy and obvious answer to play just about anybody this side of Mary Jane Watson. (Honestly, Andrew Garfield would probably be on board for Cranston as MJ.) But, really, in the case of Baron Von Strucker, there are few better options.
Cranston fits the Von Strucker mold, as outlined in the character's reported breakdown. He plays nasty better than nearly everybody. He looks good without hair. But best part of all? He would complete the "Avengers"-"Godzilla" connection, playing a paternal figure to Taylor-Johnson and Olsen in both films. It's worth casting Cranston for that sight gag alone.
He was almost Malekith in "Thor: The Dark World," so both Mikkelsen and Marvel have shown interest in working together. With that foot already in the door, Von Strucker presents the perfect opportunity for the two parties to take it to the next level.
Mikkelsen has the perfect résumé for the gig: He's a former "Bond" villain, he has that deadly Eastern European vibe, and he already has Von Strucker's shifty-eyed glare on lock. Not only that, but it would be great to see two of TV's finest villains take their terrorizing talents to the big-screen. (Spader plays Red Reddington on "The Blacklist," while Mikkelsen is the titular cannibal on "Hannibal.")
Hey, if Robert Redford can star in a Marvel movie, then Ralph Fiennes isn't too big to get his super-villain on. After all, he played the make-up-heavy Voldemort in five out of eight "Harry Potter" films. Casting aside the Dark Lord's slit-nosed visage in favor of Von Strucker's comparatively plain aesthetic would be a piece of cake.
As for his qualifications, well, they speak loud and clear all on their own. Fiennes is one of the finest actors in the business, and truly one of the best when it comes to playing someone ruthless. If Marvel wants to inject some more star-power into the "Avengers" sequel, casting Fiennes could be the way to go.
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" hits theaters on May 1, 2015.
Who would you cast as Baron Von Strucker in the "Avengers" sequel?