The Marvel universe will enter Phase 3 with the upcoming release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Phase 2 saw this cinematic universe both deepen and enlarge with additional films in the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America franchises, as well as a new entry with the highly successful Guardians of the Galaxy. Half the fun of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going into the films knowing a little bit about the comic story arcs that they are based on. Age of Ultron is no different and will surely be packed with obscure comic references and hidden Easter eggs. Here are 8 fun and interesting facts about the Marvel comic and cinematic universe to prepare you for Age of Ultron.
1. The Avengers Play Poker
Known as the Floating Super-Hero Poker Game, the tradition started way back in 1979’s Marvel Two-in One #51. This regular scheduled, and mostly friendly, evening of poker has been played at numerous locations, including the Avengers Mansion and Fantastic Four HQ. The running joke is that the game is frequently either interrupted by a supervillain, or a character is forced to abruptly leave due to a distress call/general superhero emergency. A few images from the Age of Ultron trailer suggest there may be a scene in the film that pays homage to this fan-favorite bit of worldly distraction. Superheroes play and lose at poker! They’re just like us!
2. Ultron Is Not His Only Name
Like any great villain, when the sentient AI known as Ultron first appeared in the comics, he hid his identity by wearing a red, flowing, hooded cape. Once his Masters of Evil team was assembled and he was ready to reveal himself, he discarded the cowl and alias to instill fear through his true form. Teaser footage hints that the film may go this route as well, with Ultron hiding his true identity from Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as he hatches his master plan.
3. Others Have Lifted Thor’s Hammer
Only those deemed truly worthy and righteous are able to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. While this is a great trick to keep villains from using your weapon against you, it could also hinder you in a battle if you are separated from the weapon, but your ally is within reach to toss it to you. A situation just like that could appear in Age of Ultron
, with an extended trailer teasing Captain America’s ability to ever-so-slightly move the legendary hammer. In the Marvel Universe, many have held the hammer high, including Conan the Barbarian, Superman, and yes, even Captain America.
4. Scarlet Witch is the Real Wild Card
If there is one new character in Age of Ultron
that can seriously alter the playing field of good vs. evil, it is Magna Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch. She boasts a mix of superhuman and magical powers that allow her to alter reality and possess other humans and superheroes alike. Think what damage she could do if she took over the body of the Hulk! How about if she rearranged an entire battlefield to appear false and misleading to the enemy? In the comics, she is one of the few characters able to inflict damage on the seriously beefed up Ultimate Ultron. Where her allegiances will lie in the film have yet to be seen.
5. The Hulk Can Jump Pretty High
You can expect some insane Hulk acrobatics in The Avengers: Age of Ultron
, but the films have toned down Bruce Banner’s otherworldly powers to a degree. You probably won't catch him jumping clear into the lower atmosphere or between continents like he has been known to do in the comics. It’s understandable that the Mark Ruffalo-era Hulk has been more humanized and brought back to earth, especially after his shaky 2003 reboot.
6. Steve Rogers Can Curl More Than You
Probably not something you didn’t already know, but, let’s put this into perspective: Marvel canon generally states that Captain American can curl 500 pounds. For the non-meatheads among you, the curl is where you stand or sit with arms extended and upturned and “curl”/lift a weighted bar to your chest. The average adult male can probably curl around 50 pounds, five times. Captain America can curl a gorilla. Infinity times.
7. There Have Been Many, Many Versions of Ultron
In the comics, the first version of Ultron was created by Dr. Hank Pym, who was quickly hypnotized by the sentient robot to forget he even made him. Ultron then rebuilt himself several times over until he reached his Ultron-5 form. It is the Ultron-5 form that eventually stages his first large scale offensive against The Avengers. This is also the form that goes on to prove his power by creating his own “lifeform,” the android Vision. Many defeats and rebuilds later (including reinforcing his body in the fictional alloy adamantium
), Ultron is in, give or take, his 20th
form. Ultron – keeping superheroes on their toes since 1968.
8. Marvel “Phase Three” – All About the Infinity Gems
These all-powerful gems that grant the owner different powers and capabilities, have been cropping up more and more frequently in the Marvel film universe. The Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger is an Infinity Gem; the Aether in Thor: The Dark World is an Infinity Gem; the orb that sets off the entire plot of Guardians of the Galaxy is an Infinity Gem. So, where are they going with all this gem-teasing? It appears as if they are leading toward a big baddie (most likely Thanos) eventually holding all six of the known stones, giving them unlimited bad guy power. There are a lot of Marvel films between now and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 1, so bet on those films further setting up the movement of the gems to eventually land in Thanos’ thick, blue hands for the penultimate Avengers finale.
Now that you’ve spent some time accruing a little more super-knowledge, there’s still, ahhh, about a month or so before the movie comes out. Why not peruse some of our Avengers t-shirts while you wait?
Facts obtained from Marvel Comics Database and Bam! Smack! Pow!