This article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Age Of Ultron. You can read our spoiler-free review here. You can also find our complete guide to Marvel Comics references in the film by clicking here.
If Avengers: Age of Ultron is anything, it’s dense. It has to spin out of films, spin films out of itself, and tell its own story with a cast of seven heroes and three villains. There’s a lot going on, and not everyone will have caught all of it. If you’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron and find yourself confused about any part of it, we’ve tried to answer the questions you might have about it. Be careful if you haven’t seen the film, though – spoilers obviously abound!
1. What’s Wakanda?
Visited by Ultron and later the Avengers, Wakanda is a fictional African state which is also the home (and kingdom of) of the Black Panther. Located in northeast Africa, it houses one of the Earth’s two main stockpiles of the super-versatile metal, Vibranium, which explains its wealth and technological advancement (though those aspects weren’t really visible on screen).
In the Marvel cinematic universe, Captain America’s shield is made of Vibranium and Age of Ultron shows that the Vision’s body is also fashioned out of the metal. In the comics, Cap’s shield is an alloy of Vibranium and an unknown super-strong metal which has never been recreated – although Adamantium was the closest successful attempt.
2. What’s Sokovia?
Invented for the movies, Sokovia appears to be an Eastern European or baltic nation which is also the homeland of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. In the comics the pair were born and raised in a different fictional Eastern European nation named Transia, but for whatever reason (we can’t see any reason it’d be rights-related) they altered the name. There is a reference to it in Marvel’s comics universe, but it’s of no particular import (having appeared in just one story) and they appear to have dropped the l to make it sound more authentic.
3. Who was the arms dealer the twins and Ultron met in Wakanda?
That was Ulysses Klaue, the Marvel cinematic universe version of Ulysses Klaw. Klaw is a Black Panther villain in the comics – a scientist who accidentally converts himself into “living sound”. Here he’s a weapons dealer, though admittedly he’s a weapons dealer who just got a Stark-sized influx of money and lost an arm. We wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see him turn up as a villain in the forthcoming Black Panther movie, given his association with the character – though Whedon has also said this wasn’t the plan when he wrote him into the script.
4. Who was that guy with the wings in the new Avengers team?
If you’re a die-hard Marvel cinematic universe fan you’ll probably laugh at this, but we know at least one person who genuinely asked the question, because it’s not explained within the film itself. He’s just there at the party, out of costume, and then at the end, in-costume, with no further information given. That guy is Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, who was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s Cap’s long-time partner in the comics, and in fact he recently became the new Captain America when Steve Rogers’ super-serum was removed from his body, causing him to age.
5. What did Sam and Cap mean by “missing persons case”?
Again, this only makes sense if you’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s a reference to James ‘Bucky’ Barnes, who disappeared at the end of that film. Sam describes himself has having chased a number of “cold leads”, so it sounds like they haven’t found him yet. He will presumably be found in time for Captain America: Civil War, but it’s hard to say for certain how he’ll fit into that story since he wasn’t in the original much.
6. Where did Ultron come from?
The film seems to imply that Ultron is a combination of Stark & Banner’s AI programming and the technology found in the Infinity Stone’s protective casing, which gets shattered at a late point in the movie. We don’t think Ultron was in the gem – there’s too much of Stark in him for that – but he seems to have been realised using technology that was. In the comics, Ultron’s mind is based on the brain patterns of his creator (Hank Pym) which makes a lot more sense, to be honest.
7. What are the twins’ powers in this movie?
Quicksilver has super-speed, which is the same power that he has in the comics, and the same as you saw with a different version of the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The Scarlet Witch has a combination of telekinesis and some kind of super-powerful hypnosis, if not outright telepathy. If that sounds vague, just remember that in the comics she throws ‘probability hexes’ which have unpredictable effects, and also she learnt magic so that she’s an actual witch. It’s probably in their interests to be less specific than that.
8. How did the twins get their powers?
At this point, it’s also quite vague. Obviously they’re not mutants like they traditionally are in the comics, because there are no mutants in the Marvel cinematic universe. They might be inhumans given that inhumans do exist in the MCU, but it seems like if they were it would have come up. The film seems to imply that they’re the result of experiments with the gem in Loki’s staff, which might explain the Scarlet Witch’s mind powers but doesn’t really explain Quicksilver’s speed. I think, unfortunately, the film gives us all the information we’re going to get on this topic, which is to say not much.
9. How can Quicksilver be in both Fox and Marvel Studios films?
It’s a quirk of licensing that applies to him (and potentially the Scarlet Witch) only. Originally introduced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are (or at least were) Magneto’s children, and key members of his Brotherhood of Mutants. However, they later reformed and joined the Avengers, and retained a long association as core members of the team. When the original film rights were worked out for the X-Men the characters were included non-exclusively so that they could be used in a potential Avengers movie as well as any X-Men movies. And that’s exactly what has happened.
10. What was Thanos doing in the post-credits teaser?
That thing he grabbed? The empty Infinity Gauntlet. When all six Infinity Stones are attached to the gauntlet it gives the wearer god-like abilities, but despite his best efforts, Thanos doesn’t have any at the moment. He’s been trying to get his underlings to bring him the stones, but like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element, people just keep disappointing him. So like he says: he’s about to do it himself.
If we had to guess, we’d say keep an eye on Marvel’s cosmic films – Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Inhumans, Captain Marvel and (of course) both parts of Avengers: Infinity War to find out how that’s going to work out for him.
11. How did Thanos get the Infinity Gauntlet out of Odin’s trophy room?
Personally, I think it was only in there as an easter egg, and that he’s had the empty gauntlet all along. But maybe there’s a story to be told. It could be that it’s like the British crown jewels, so only the fake one is on display. That’d be a safe misdirection tactic, after all. Who’s going to go looking for something if they think it’s already in Odin’s trophy room?
12. What’s the “Red Room” that Black Widow mentions?
If you watched the Agent Carter miniseries, you may know this already. In the comics, the Red Room is a Russian facility where young girls are trained in the deadly arts so that they become lethal, brainwashed Black Widow agents. In the Marvel cinematic universe it appears much the same. It was apparently established by the Russian secret organisation Leviathan and has been operating since at least the ’40s, when Agent Carter encountered one of their graduates. It’s unconfirmed whether it’s still active by the time of Avengers 2, but if we ever get that Black Widow solo movie you can bet it’ll come up in that.
13. Why isn’t Rhodey in the Iron Patriot armour anymore?
Nothing too complex here. Presumably after the events of Iron Man 3, the AIM branding was removed from the Iron Patriot armor to make a clean break with the version that kidnapped the President and killed a bunch of people. Makes sense, really. It’s the same suit, but now he’s back in the original colours and back to using the War Machine name.
14. So Strucker’s dead. Is that it for Hydra?
It would seem to be. The other heads of Hydra were introduced then summarily dispatched in a single episode of Agents of SHIELD, and the Avengers mention that Strucker’s is the final cell when they bring it down in the opening scene. There are probably Hydra agents still around, but without any obviously leadership, chances are they won’t be bothering the Avengers any time soon.
15. So that stuff with Fury at the end. Is SHIELD back?
Well, in a sense they already were, because Agents of SHIELD currently has at least two different SHIELD organisations formed out of the wreckage of the original. But it’s not clear whether either of them has a Helicarrier. This could mean there’s a third SHIELD faction now, but it’s more likely it’s just Nick Fury calling in some favours temporarily. Still, there’s a tie-in episode of Agents of SHIELD due out shortly, so maybe we’ll get some more concrete answers then.
16. Why did Thor go to a cave, and why did he need to take Selvig with him?
This sequence appears to have had a few cuts, which might explain why it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense – there’s a shot in the Avengers trailers of a woman standing in the pool which Thor goes to, but she’s never in the film. In any case, Thor needed Selvig’s knowledge of myth to help him find a mystical pool that’d let him revisit the vision Scarlet Witch gave him so that he could get some closure.
17. How does the Black Widow’s lullaby work?
We all know that the Hulk has a weakness for a pretty woman, and that when he calms down he turns back into Banner. Normally it’s Betty Ross calming him down, but since she’s AWOL at the moment they’ve found someone else who’s fostered the same connection to him. Essentially, the Black Widow’s ‘lullaby’ is her distracting the Hulk, which helps him calm down enough that he changes back into Banner. Nothing more complicated than that.
18. Why aren’t Pepper and Jane in this movie?
It’s dealt with early on. They’re both busy. Pepper running her company, Jane doing science work. Also this way the actors don’t use up any contractual obligations by appearing.
19. How come the Vision can lift Mjolnir?
It’s not because he’s a robot – it’s because he’s worthy to. The actual criteria for being ‘worthy’ are nebulous, but in this case it would appear to be Vision’s ultra-pure intentions that give him the ability.
20. Why is the Hulkbuster armour called Veronica?
It’s an in-joke based on the Archie comics that are popular in the US. The lead character is constantly torn between two very different women – Betty and Veronica. The Hulk’s already got a Betty who can calm him down, so they built him another ‘girlfriend’ – Veronica.
21. Were the visions the Scarlet Witch induced just fears, or the actual future?
This one’s a little more ambiguous than it first seems. Clearly, Captain America and the Black Widow were not seeing the future, because their visions were explicitly set in the past. Thor’s vision seemed very metaphorical, as did Tony’s… except that The Vision (the character) briefly appears in Tony’s vision before Tony knows he exists, and Thor learns about the Infinity Stone in Loki’s staff from his vision, which he doesn’t know already. So maybe they are glimpses of the future sometimes?
22. What’s going on at the end? Why does everyone quit?
Essentially, most of the Avengers retire now that they’ve got no immediate threat to clear out. Hawkeye to spend time with his family, Stark because he wants to focus on the bigger picture, Thor because his vision made him want to go back to Asgard, and Hulk because he knows he can’t be around people he loves in case he hurts them. Cap and Widow stick around because, essentially, they’re both full-time superheroes with a new team to train.
Hopefully that sheds light on some parts of the film that might’ve flown past you. But is there anything we missed?