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    October 25, 2014

    DISSECTING THE TRAILER OF AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

    The teaser trailer for Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron was released yesterday to a lot of talking points, possible theories and the easter-egg appearances. The 137-second trailer is one of the most watched stuffs on the internet and I am sure that discussions are pretty heavy at the moment. In case you have not seen it (under a rare circumstance), you can check out on the trailer I am embedding after the jump. In this article, I will try to dissect some of the important stuff in the trailer that are prominently featured or hidden in plain sight. Let us consider some of the stuff we are going to talk about may contain potential spoilers.
    EDIT: Some correction on Black Widow's possible demise
    1) WHY IS BRUCE BANNER LOOKS DEPRESSED?



    The biggest question after you watched the trailer is what will really happen to Bruce Banner. It seems that the whole Ultron saga feud gives the most impact on the character as evidently seen here in this screen grab. Is he frustrated, in particular with Tony Stark, who started the whole mess? If that is true, we are looking at possible reference and future of Planet Hulk and Civil War. Or he could be like the other Avengers - defeated and exhausted? OR head over to point number 8 below.



    One of the other highlights of the trailer also point out to the Hulk vs Hulkbuster. The scene has two possible explanations - one, Ultron hacks into the system (as it is established that Iron Man's minion robots can be remotely controlled or act independently of one another) or two, Hulk vs Iron Man goes out of proportion due to SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED (Refer to point #8). As much as we hope that the team remains where they are, but given the amount of bold and risky story move from Marvel lately, anything can happen. So when we heard a lot about Robert Downey Jr.'s inclusion in Captain America 3, we foresee Civil War instantly. Not a surprise by the time we reach the final act of this movie.

    But the fact remains as the circumstances falling upon Bruce Banner AKA Hulk are worrisome. Here is another proof.


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    2) WHAT ARE THE BACK STORIES OF THE TWINS?

    With regards to the twins introduced during the post-credit scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (that is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, duh!), they do have a lot of stories to tell from the trailer. We know that the origin story about the twins will be very different and there should not have any reference to Magneto. Seems fine. It is up to anyone's guess at the moment with regards to their history.


    But these are for sure. We first saw them during the protest scene early in the trailer - but what are they, along with many others protesting on? I am not sure but it looks to me this is from the time, possibly, before they got their superpower. I am guessing the protest happens in their hometown in Eastern Europe.


    Then, we see the twin spending time with Ultron in another scene. This looks like Ultron's secret lair. If you are seeing this, you should know that both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have been portrayed as both the protagonist and antagonist in the comic timeline.



    Hence, other later scenes where they take down the baddies alongside the Avengers members. In one scene, it looks particularly fascinating to see Quicksilver tries to save Captain America from the baddies.

    So, what do these scenes really mean for the twin's journey throughout this sequel? It is possible that the twins are not in favour of the Avengers' works initially (more explanations in the next point) since they were first introduced to be Baron Strucker's working "miracle". But things do change and later, it could also mean that the twins may have been working with Ultron at some point of the movie before switching sides again to work with the Avengers. A typical redemption story once more?

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    3) WHERE AND HOW IS HYDRA GOT INVOLVED IN AGE OF ULTRON?



    Continuing from the previous point, where and how is HYDRA got involved? The trailer gives out very little about the villainous organization's involvement - something that will be played out more on Agents of SHIELD than in the movie. If we look at the current story in the TV series, the arcs that are going on are mind control and alien's writing. It is too early to draw the connection between those two, but mind control could be vital in the movie. We have seen how Baron Struckner was in possessed of Loki's sceptre which Loki used to control minds in the first Avengers movie. We also knew that HYDRA has something to do with the supernatural development of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Will it be possible that the sceptre may have fallen on to the hands of Ultron? Or is it possible that HYDRA is working with Ultron though it seems almost impossible? But we did see how in a scene in the trailer that the twins are seen with Ultron. Here are some of the possible HYDRA's references in the trailer:




    It seems that there is an operation scene but some are saying it may be related to Ultron and some say it is a clear reference to Baron Strucker. Regardless of that, the setting in a snowy forest and the castle in the woods can be seen as a clear indication of how HYDRA may have some part on the plot, most probably in the early (first act) part of the movie.

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    4) EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE UPSET WHEN ULTRON PARTY-CRASHES. WHY?


    This particular screen grab from the trailer also seems important. As Ultron walks "like a zombie" into (crash-partying) the Avengers' party at, presumably, the Stark Tower, we can see a bunch of guests attending the event hosted by Tony.



    It is obvious they are all the members of the Avengers and they are not impressed by Ultron. Understandable considering that Ultron begins uttering threatening words with constant reference to “strings”, “puppet” and “free” to rhyme with his plan to kill humanity. To put it more interesting is that you can instantly spot Ultron’s rusty and gait movement – which I think is a clear reference to being attached to the strings like a puppet. To make the whole thing even more creepy, his threatening words are exactly from Pinnochio’s famous song, “I’ve Got No Strings”. Try comparing the version in the Pinnochio’s classic and in the trailer. Spot on!



    On another matter, try to look at this screen grab then. It is easy to spot characters like Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers and the rest of the core Avengers members. Can you spot the rest? Let’s start from the left across to the right.


    1. Bruce Banner.
    2. Natasha Romanoff.
      Side trip: It seems like Banner and Romanoff are together. Rumours point to them being a couple and it is claimed by many including IO9 (source: http://observationdeck.io9.com/avengers-age-of-ultron-leaked-trailer-screenshot-dump-1649628823). Proof is in the picture below. Now we continue.
    3. Asian chick???
    4. Thor.
    5. Steve Roger.
    6. Maria Hill.
    7. James Rhodes.
    8. Tony Stark.
    9. Clint Barton.



    Asian chick you asked? Yes, Claudia Kim Soo-hyun was cast for an undisclosed role sometimes back earlier this year. So the appearance of the mysterious lady beside Thor is not entirely surprising. But who is she exactly is a question indeed. Someone brought this up in the internet and claimed she could be SHIELD agent Monica Chang (source: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/notyetamovie/news/?a=109848). It makes sense since the character is the chief of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Artificial Intelligence division; and in the comic arc, she is indeed also related to Ultron and the other A.I. pipelines. If it turns out to be true, then Claudia Kim may have bigger role in the future MCU films, including another appearance in Ant-Man, perhaps. We shall wait for more details in coming months then. But I doubt Claudia Kim is merely just a "doctor/scientist who is a friend of Tony Stark".

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    5) ANDY SERKIS


    The trailer may have also gives away a very significant easter-egg about Black Panther. It is a well-known rumour that Andy Serkis has a big part in this movie - not just being a motion capture consultant after all. Here in this screen grab, we see Andy Serkis donning in what appears to be very similar to the animated version of Ulysses Klaw, a supervillain which may just pointed us directly to the Black Panther's involvement and direction in the future of MCU. Here in side-by-side comparison.


    To further strengthen this particular theory about Andy Serkis' exact role, one of the setting for this movie happens to be in Africa - Johannesburg, South Africa to be exact. Now, why is Serkis' role so important in Age of Ultron? Klaw's ability is described as "a human physicist who has been transformed into solid sound, and who wears a sonic emitter on his right wrist as a prosthetic device". In other words - sound manipulation. In one of the comic timeline, Klaw steals metal vibranium - a substance known to exist only in certain meteoric deposits in the small African nation of Wakanda - to power his device. While stealing the precious metal, Klaw murders Wakandan warrior T'Chaka. He eventually becomes an ally of Ultron.

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    6) IRON MAN AND THE MOUNTAIN. COULD IT BE DOCTOR STRANGE OR BLACK PANTHER?


    So in this particular screen grab, Iron Man is looking at the snowy mountain. It cannot be just a coincidence, right? The snowy mountain may just be Tibet. And Tibet is a great reference to Doctor Strange. In addition to the possibility of Doctor Strange’s reference, IO9 also claimed that the highland might be located in a fictional nation of Wakanda – yet another reference to Black Panther. I prefer the latter notion.

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    7) WHERE IS VISION?

    The only confirmed major villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron is Ultron. Baron Strucker is given minor villain role. So Vision may not be a villain after all. Throughout the trailer, some may be wondering about the absence of Vision (voiced by Paul Bettany). Yes, where is he indeed? My own theory is that – while the origin of Vision may not be similar to how the comic arc where Ultron is the one who created Vision, I like to think that it is Tony Stark himself who created Vision as part of his redemption plan after all the messes. But that is unlikely.


    The more realistic explanation is actually saying that Ultron will be the one that create The Vision. So we know at one point, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision will serve Ultron. Alliance between them do not last long though. (Source: http://screenrant.com/avengers-2-ultron-vision-origins-spoilers/2/)

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    8) IS BLACK WIDOW DYING?

    Joss Whedon once warned that there will be character death in Avengers 2. (Source: ScreenRant) It looks like it is going to happen. Whedon is known to kill off many of the fan favourite characters from his bunch of TV series, so there is a high chance that it will be happening in Age of Ultron. Who to sacrifice you ask? At this moment, I think Black Widow should come out on top of the list. Here’s why?

    Remember some of the points I have mentioned earlier (still a theory). Back at point #1, I talked about how Bruce Banner looks depressed. Look at the last photo where Banner is walking half naked in the forest, then link it up with the romance story between him and Black Widow in point #4. Now draw another link with this picture. EDIT: Read this for more details on the hypothesis. (READ THIS LINK)

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    9) IS CIVIL WAR REALLY COMING?


    Why is Thor suddenly so upset now? Something must have happened. Death? Maybe.

    With the announcement of Iron Man to feature in Captain America 3, all details are pointing towards the Civil War. Thor seems upset in this screen grab, probably because of the messes and fallout from the backfired Ultron programme. With Ultron kicking the Avengers butt, Thor blames it all on Stark. Remember this picture?



    You can see Iron Man is not there. In fact, he is the only one of the six core members who is not around - Hawkeye is piloting it, so it does not count.

    It could be also another explanation to how the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster could even happen in the first place. So what will possibly happen after the end of the second Avengers movie? Thor goes back to Asgard. Hulk shoots himself to space - that's Planet Hulk for you. Captain America and Hawkeye forms an independent team. Civil War happens between Cap and Iron Man. Black Widow - most likely will die.

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    10) BLACK WIDOW'S BACK STORY?



    The point is also another theory on why Black Widow will die. Joss Whedon once said that this sequel will deal a lot of Black Widow’s past. Besides the established fact that she is a Russian, Natasha Romanoff was given a false memory about her being a talented ballerina by the Russian government, at least from one of those comic arcs that deal with her past. This could either be a nod that she was indeed a ballerina when she was young (through flashback) or memory imprint.

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    11) CAPTAIN AMERICA'S SHIELD IS BROKEN?



    It seems so. What other way to establish Ultron as an ultimate villain than to portray his insane power that even Cap's Vibranium shield is not enough to stop him. Just merely a second before this shot, you can see Thor's limp hand. Now that is the first theory of what happen.

    The second theory, points out on the Comic Con scene where all of the Avengers members are dead on the field, except Tony Stark. The broken shield means something, more likely is a dream sequence or vision of Stark, due to the effect Scarlet Witch's power. Now, look at this picture again.


    Is that Steve Rogers on the piano? The out of context ballet scene is also another dream sequence from Scarlet Witch?

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    What do you think? Any more points from the trailer that you can think off? Throw it on the comments below.

    Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming to cinemas near you next year. April 24 if you are in Malaysia or UK or somewhere near the East; and May 1 in USA.
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