Avengers: Age of Ultron: who is the Vision?

The android hero was glimpsed at the end of the Marvel film's latest trailer - and he comes with a backstory...

If you’ve spent any time on the internet over the last few hours, you might have noticed that we got a new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.


Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) continued their battle (here’s hoping after three trailers there’s some left for the actual film), Ultron did lots of scary pontificating, and everyone jumped towards the enemy in slo-mo unison – basically, it was pretty cool.

But what’s got everyone really talking is the split-second reveal at the end of the trailer of new team member the Vision, played by Paul Bettany and so far kept largely hidden from trailers and posters (with a couple of exceptions).

So who is this mysterious figure? Well, in the Marvel comics the films are loosely based on, the Vision (below) is a powerful android (aka a more human robot) with the ability to control his own mass, which allows him to fly, increase his strength and density and become intangible and walk through walls. The Vision also has unrelated robotic abilities that allow him to interface with technology and shoot laser beams from his eyes, which is always good to whip out at parties.

The character first appeared in comics in 1968, created by robotic villain Ultron to single-handedly defeat the Avengers in battle but later rebelling and becoming a hero as he tried to discover the extent of his own humanity.

It’s hard to say exactly how the films will rework this backstory, but it seems likely Ultron (played by James Spader in the film) will still be the Vision’s creator – he is a pretty big part of the movie, after all. And considering that Ultron seems to be teaming up with newbies Scarlet Witch (later the Vision’s wife, interestingly) and Quicksilver in the new trailer, it’s not implausible that the Vision is another attempt by this film’s Big Bad to bolster his forces.

On the other hand, certain details of the film version of Vision imply he has a slightly different backstory this time around – primarily his casting. After all, Paul Bettany has played Iron Man’s Artificial Intelligence interface JARVIS for four films, and now he’s the Vision – does this mean Ultron has given life to Tony Stark’s version of Siri? Why on earth would he bother?

Or does Tony soup up his virtual butler in an attempt to give the team a better chance against Ultron in the final struggle? You think he’d have learned after accidentally creating Ultron…

Fans have also pointed out that the gem on his forehead looks rather like an Infinity Stone – aka the powerful crystals that the Marvel films revolve around, most prominently shown in Guardians of the Galaxy. Could this gem be what brings the Vision to life in the first place? Or does he just really know how to accessorize?

We’ll probably have to wait and see the film to get all the answers – the Vision’s actor certainly isn’t telling, though Paul Bettany did tell RadioTimes.com that his on-screen make-up has kept him safe from too much fan attention.

“I’ve been to Comic-con like five times, and I went this last time as part of the Avengers, and it was… just nuts. It was crazy, Those fans go CRAZY. And that was strange,” he said.

“But I look really different in real life. I’m red and android in the film. So I don’t know, hopefully that’ll help.”


Avengers: Age of Ultron will be released in the UK on the 23rd April