'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Synopsis Teases Robot Villain's Origins

Iron Man may be responsible for the end of the world

Comic Book Resources has Marvel Studios' first official plot synopsis for next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which teases out the origins of the eponymous threat to humanity that will, apparently, be “the ultimate test” for the team. Spoiler: it’s all Tony Stark’s fault.

The official synopsis runs as follows:

Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

The mention of a “dormant peacekeeping program” hints at the origins of Ultron in the movie, which differ from the comic book incarnation considerably; in Ultron’s comic origins, he was an artificial intelligence created by Hank Pym — also known as Ant-Man — that continually upgraded itself until it felt able to confront the Avengers in its attempt to rule the world.

However, mention of a peacekeeping program brings to mind a later Avengers comic book storyline: the 1983-1984 “Absolute Vision” storyline, in which the Vision combines his robotic brain with an alien supercomputer to become what is ostensibly a worldwide peacekeeping program — albeit one that swiftly decides to rule the world for its own good. (Perhaps signposting the storyline as inspiration, Marvel collected it into two paperbacks last year.)

The “Absolute Vision” storyline fits with a rumor that has been circling about the second Avengers movie for some time: that it will feature the creation of a second Avengers team. In the comic book storyline, the Vision mandates the creation of a second team as a way of splitting the group’s focus and distracting from his own agenda. Whether this will be repeated in the movie in some form — if, indeed, there is a second team in the movie — remains to be seen.

Avengers: Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon will be released May 1, 2015.