In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Paul Bettany is ready to show his face.
The British thespian who's provided the voice of Tony Stark's droll A.I. sidekick Jarvis in no less than four big-screen Marvel adventures to date will be taking a more physical form as he's signed on to play The Vision (or just Vision) in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."
The Daily Mail first brought word that Bettany had been cast in the role as the "Avengers" sequel is currently setting up shot at London's Shepperton Studios under the code name 'After Party.' (We have a feeling that code name has since been changed.)
The first version of The Vision made his debut during the Golden Age of Comics as an alien from an alternate dimension, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon and first appearing in "Marvel Mystery Comics" #13 (Nov. 1940), published by Marvel predecessor Timely Comics.
It's the Silver Age version of The Vision that staked his claim as one of the most popular comic book superheroes of all time. Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, the second Vision first appeared in "The Avengers" #57 (Oct. 1968) as an android created by robotic villain Ultron. Originally meant to be a weapon against the good guys, The Vision, aka Victor Shade, ends up joining forces with the Avengers ... and eventually marries one of its members, Scarlet Witch.
The Vision's powers include flight, superhuman strength, self-repair and regeneration, mass control ranging from super-heavy to weightless, solar energy projection, computer/IT interfacing and shooting really badass laser beams. His unique abilities should give Joss Whedon the variation of 'super-powers' he's been hoping for in the "Avengers" sequel after pointing out that the heroes of the original film all had similar 'punchy' powers.
In the comics, the Vision was created by Ultron partly as a means to destroy his creator, Dr. Hank Pym. As that character won't be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until "Ant-Man" (July 15, 2015), we have a feeling Ultron's and the Vision's origins will be adjusted to involve Stark Enterprises.
Come to think of it ... might The Vision of "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" be a physical upgrade of Jarvis himself? They're gonna kind of sound the same, after all.
Beyond that, we doubt the Vision will get hitched to Scarlet Witch (to be played by Elizabeth Olsen) this early in the game ... though you never know what ol' Joss might have up his sleeve. Something tells us that Whedon might not be able to resist any android-human sex jokes for too long.
No matter the details of the role and storyline, this new gig should get Paul Bettany back in the good graces of Marvel fans after expressing his distinct lack of enthusiasm for — or at least knowledge of — his Jarvis role in "Iron Man" (2008), "Iron Man 2" (2010), "Marvel's The Avengers" (2012) and "Iron Man Three" (2013).
"I've never seen one of them," said Bettany in an interview with Digital Spy in Oct. 2012. "These [Marvel movies] I know nothing about, and I'm plagued by fan boys who love Jarvis ... and I've got no idea what they're talking about. I have no idea about Iron Man."
You will soon, Mr. Shade.
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" will hit theaters on May 1, 2015.