Avengers Age of Ultron

by Brett White

We've known since San Diego Comic-Con that Ultron is the villain next in line to throw down with the Avengers, and now we know that James Spader has been cast in the role. But as bad as Ultron is, he can't be the only bad guy in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Every Marvel movie has more than one bad guy in it, even if they're just henchmen.

Case in point, "Iron Man 3" threw a bunch of super-charged Extremis soldiers at Tony Stark in addition to the threat of Aldrich Killian, and the Red Skull lead an army of HYDRA agents in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Even using the first "Avengers" film as a template, Loki had an entire Chitauri army at his disposal, as well as a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. defectors and brainwashed goons. Whatever dastardly deeds Ultron does in the film, he won't be doing them alone.

With that in mind, we've come up with five ideas for Ultron co-conspirators designed to give the Avengers a workout—and also make them look good while they're mopping the floor with them.

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James Spader

by Brett White

So, that came out of nowhere, right? With Elizabeth Olsen still in talks to play Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson still nothing more than a rumor for Quicksilver, all of our attention was focused on who would be playing the good guys in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Now, out of nowhere, with no warning and not even a few courtesy rumors, we know who Ultron is.

He's James Spader. And this is good news.

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Fantastic Four X-Men

by Brett White

Mark Millar, Fox's creative consultant on all things Marvel, revealed yesterday that the company's big two franchises—X-Men and Fantastic Four—may be on a collision course. The big name comic book writer said, "Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each other's movies." With Fox seemingly building their own universe in the style of Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe, one has to wonder how the two teams will interact with each other.

The most obvious place to look to learn how Marvel's mutants interact with Marvel's first family has to be the comics, where a few team-ups—and clashes—have taken place over the past few decades. After the jump, we take a look at four such stories and examine how they could work as Fox's Marvel Universe expands on the big screen.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

by Brett White

Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" wowed fans during San Diego Comic-Con with cast reveals, wig reveals, and an unexpected thirty seconds of awesome footage. Even though the film had only been shooting for a few weeks, those in attendance got to see every Guardian in action—including the fully CG Groot and Rocket Raccoon. The footage was kept under wraps until it was screened again earlier this month at Disney's D23 Expo, where security must have been a bit more relaxed because cell phone footage of the clip hit the internet hard.

Fans hoped this wide leak would nudge Disney and Marvel towards releasing the footage officially—but director James Gunn says there's absolutely no chance of that happening. "Zero percent chance, sorry!" Gunn said on the subject, according to ComicBook.com. "I know a lot of you have seen the shaky camera footage, but it was made after 12 days if shooting and isn't a true reflection of the awesomeness we're trying to create for you."

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TMNT

by Ryan Rigley

With the numerous film, TV, and video game incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out there, it's easy to forget that the four turtles in a half shell actually made their original debut within the pages of a comic book. Last week, the release date for the new live-action film produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebsman—latest in a long line of spin-offs from Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman's original comic—was pushed back to August 8th, 2014.

Seeing as how that date is right after Marvel's possible blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy," one might assume that Bay and Liebsman have the utmost confidence that their "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will shell shock audiences across the country. But before we feast our eyes upon the latest "Turtles" adaptation, we thought it best to look back on the first—the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon, to be precise. Reminisce with us past the jump!

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Loki

by Ryan Rigley

There's no denying it—people just can't get enough of the God of Mischief. Although Tom Hiddleston's Loki was arguably one of the best parts of "Marvel's the Avengers," apparently the Asgardian trickster will not be appearing in the highly-anticipated "Avengers" sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron." "I don't think there's anything else Loki could contribute to 'The Avengers,' narratively," stated Hiddleston in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Joss gave me so many wonderful things to do in that first film that we'd only be trying to repeat ourselves and probably less well in the second one."

With Loki out of the picture for the "Avengers" sequel, audiences will just have to get their Loki-fill from "Thor: The Dark World" when it opens on November 8th. However, Loki's popularity with the Marvel fanbase could indicate that the mischievous magician will be popping up elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Here are five places where Loki could pop up next.

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Simon Pegg

by Brett White

If you follow actor/professional fan/all-around geek icon Simon Pegg on Twitter, then you've seen his whirlwind New York City tour as he promotes his new film "The World's End." In addition to being a guest on "The Daily Show," Pegg stopped by for a tour of Marvel Comics HQ, where he snapped off a few pics posing with a couple of Marvel's iconic heroes. Of course, one of those happened to be a character that Pegg's good buddy and longtime collaborator Edgar Wright, director of "The World's End," is responsible for bringing to life on the big-screen—Ant-Man.

This led to wild speculation online that Pegg would be donning some quirky headgear and red spandex to star in Wright's next big film. Pegg denounced the rumors quickly in his usual hilarious way via a few tweets (one with a quick NSFW word), which you can see after the jump alongside the pics that sparked the rumors!

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Lex Luthor

by Ryan Rigley

Since the release of Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," vigilant fans have been on the lookout for any hints as to what might be popping up in the upcoming "Superman vs. Batman" movie. In addition to a Wayne Enterprises satellite that makes a very brief appearance in the third act, "Man of Steel" viewers were also quick to point out the Lexcorp building and a Lexcorp truck displayed quite prominently during the last battle.

Could this mean that Batman and Superman will be teaming up to take down the bald megalomaniac known as Lex Luthor? We'd sure like to think so. However, we here at MTV Splash Page aren't the only ones discussing the possibility of Lex's big screen return. In fact, two big name actors are already competing for the role: Bryan Cranston, from "Breaking Bad," and Mark Strong, from "Low Winter Sun."

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Laurel Lance

by Ryan Rigley

With the confirmed list of cameos growing each week, the second season of "Arrow" is already shaping up to be twice as good as the first. Not only will we be getting appearances from Roy Harper and China White. Barry Allen is also set to appear in three episodes of the upcoming season, with the third appearance spinning off into his own "Flash" TV series.

Black Canary, another newcomer to the Arrow-verse, has been pretty much a given from day one of the series. After all, you can't have a Green Arrow TV show without the Black Canary. However, with the news that the Black Canary will not be Dinah "Laurel" Lance, it would appear as though we have a lot more questions than answers when it comes to Laurel's role in the new season.

CAUTION: "Arrow" season one and season two SPOILERS ahead!

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Dr. Strange

by Ryan Rigley

Earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly brought to light the fact that the writers of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." have an unwritten rule when penning episodes: all super-powers introduced on the show must be explained by science — not magic or supernatural forces. With this in mind, it's no wonder that two more S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists have been added to the series' cast of recurring characters.

Joining David Conrad in the S.H.I.E.L.D. science department will be none other than Ian Hart ("Bates Motel," "Luck") in a role that has yet to be specified. While this casting news makes total sense, given the "S.H.I.E.L.D." writers' unwritten rule, we here at Splash Page can't help but long for the magic and mysticism of the Marvel universe—a mysticism that is still welcome on the big screen in films like "Thor: The Dark World." That said, here's a look at five magical Marvel characters that may never appear on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

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Cover Artist

Splash Page welcomes Ed Tadem to our cover artist family (our custom-designed theme up top). Currently working on the forthcoming "Avengers" animated series, Tadem's work can also be seen in the "Jackie Karma" issues of Image's "'76," and in "Pop Gun, Volume 1." Ed Tadem can be found online at EdTadem.com.
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