For those who were curious as to how Joss Whedon envisioned the big bad for his upcoming Avengers sequel...
Look no further.
The latest cover of Entertainment Weekly provides the first look at Ultron, the villainous robot that kicks up the world-threatening disturbance that Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, et al. will be battling in the hotly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron, due in theaters May 1, 2015.
And as far as the online peanut gallery is concerned, the robot's design is faithful to the original Marvel Comics supervillain detailed in the "Age of Ultron" storyline.
James Spader, who can't help but carry the convincing air of a malevolent supervillain about him on screen, is providing the motion-captured man behind the machine.
In the film, Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark creates Ultron as an alternative to his own Iron Man so that he can retire his own suit and just be, you know, a normal crafty billionaire. But that obviously is a terrible idea, and Ultron decides that, as far as human beings go, who needs 'em?!
"Ultron sees the big picture and he goes, ‘OK, we need radical change, which will be violent and appalling, in order to make everything better'; he's not just going ‘Muhaha, soon I'll rule!'" Whedon explained to EW. "He's on a mission. He wants to save us."
According to reports, Mark Ruffalo was the one who revealed (Hulk blabs!) that the entire principal cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron is headed to Comic-Con next week for the Marvel panel, which obviously has put the spring in the steps of thousands of fanboys-and-girls.