OH MY GOD! Have you ever seen anything as beautiful as that?! Take that, Aurora Borealis! Done catching your breath? Done re-watching the trailer? Liar! You know that you’re gonna be watching this at least 4 times a day for the next 6 months or so! Ok, now that we’re done with our collective gushing. Let’s get to the point: Directed by Lord Joss Whedon, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is not only the sequel to the 2012 mega-blockbuster hit Avengers, but also Marvel Studios’ 11th movie. With the first movie sailing past the US$1’000’000’000 mark, expectations are pretty high for this instalment and fans are scrutinising every single thing they can find, including this trailer. Related: Is Joss Whedon a better Writer than Director? The coolest part of the trailer, however, (aside from all 136 seconds of it) was how it hit the ‘net. Initially, it was announced that the trailer would be released next Tuesday (Oct 28th ’14), with a new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, things took a turn when a low res version got leaked online. Within hours, Marvel responded with a statement so epic, that I’m compelled to believe this whole thing was planned. Dammit, Hydra. — Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014 Well played, Marvel’s Social Media Guy, well played. This tweet was followed by a hi-res trailer, released a good week earlier than promised, and has been watched almost 30 million times since… of which I may have contributed a good portion. Now, since the ‘net’s already filled with your standard “Things You May Not Have Noticed” articles (even though we would all have noticed it on our 12th viewing), I’m just gonna do a list of things that, to me, stand out the most, and are gonna keep me thinking till the movie (or the next trailer) comes out. Not the SDCC Clip Back during SDCC this year, the attendees of the Avengers panel were treated to an exclusive first look at the movie. Unlike the other clips that were released at the event, that one never seemed to have found its way onto the internet. However, there have been some pretty vivid descriptions: We open on Avengers Tower, a post-mission party. The game is to pick up Thor’s hammer. Tony goes first and adds an Iron Man hand to help. Rhodey can’t even help. Cap tries and nearly moves it, making Thor look nervous. Ultron, looking only partially complete, stumbles onto the scene. He’s clearly made from Iron Man parts. He talks about the problem with the Avengers and why they are unworthy, before sending in drone suits to attack them. “This is the end,” says Tony. “The end of a path I started us on.” We then see a fight between Hulk and Tony in his Hulkbuster armor. It looks like a hell of a battle. The footage ends with Cap’s shield broken. Tony wakes up to see the Avengers scattered on a rock that looks like it’s floating in space. It’s quite clear that, other than the beginning of the SDCC reel, we have pretty much seen the rest of the footage in this trailer… and then some! While it isn’t entirely against the norm for this to happen, I do find it weird that Marvel/Disney would choose to skip a ready-made trailer and give us something so substantial. Flashbacks? It would be no surprise if the movie contained a fair bit of flashbacks. After all, the first Avengers’ narrative tone was initially built around Steve Rogers’ flashbacks, and were meant to be juxtaposed against his assimilation into present day. (These scenes were, sadly, later deleted but can be watched here!) However, it seems like the flashbacks may be slightly more significant to the story this time around. First off, we see both Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, evidently pre-empowering, amidst what seems to be a riot. Thing is, we’ve already seen them with powers during the stinger scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and they seemed to be in the custody of Baron Strucker. The insinuation here was that they were given their powers by Loki’s staff from the first movie. This would mean that either the movie begins before the stinger scene of Captain America 2 occurs, or it’s a flashback. Another potential ‘flashback moment’ was the seemingly inexplicable shot of a group of ballerinas. Given how out of place it would be in a movie about superheroes (but significant enough to make it into the cut of a trailer) I’m gonna go with the probability that it’s a flashback… Black Widow’s flashback, in fact. Given that she was a trained ballerina in the comics, it’s possible that we may finally get some information on her past. After all, she has been the one character that Whedon has repeatedly insisted on bring to the forefront. Also, the shot preceding this is one of Natasha seeming to share a tender moment with Hulk—perhaps a metaphor for her confronting her own inner-monster? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this… Or am I? Related: Watch Wanda’s and Pietro’s scene in The Winter Soldier. Waka-Waka for Vibranium! With the announcement of Ultron as the antagonist of Avengers 2, fans theorised that at least part of the movie will see the villain attempting to either steal or mine vibranium. While this may not seem like much to infer from, one must keep in mind that vibranium’s a pretty special thing in the Marvel Universe. Not only is it pretty tough to damage, it’s also found only in two places: Antartica and Wakanda. The version that appears in the movies is from Wakanda… which just happens to be the homeland of T’Challa, the Black Panther. The theory of vibranium may be strengthened by what seems to be a glimpse of Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis, is that you?), a frequent foe to both Black Panther and Ka-Zar, and is often seen seeking the rare metal. It’s highly possible that Klaw may have been smuggling vibranium out of Wakanda, but loses his cargo when his ships are attacked by Ultron. Unworthy? Multiple shots of the trailer show Thor standing without his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, an object of focus in the first Thor film. Not only is this underlined by an actual shot of Thor dropping Mjolnir (seemingly in shock of what he is seeing, though that could be clever editing), but it is accompanied by a shot of a raging Thor rising out of water. Is Thor once again unworthy? Does he lose faith in himself? Did Loki, from the throne of Asgard, sabotage his brother? Was he really sweaty from lifting the hammer all day long and just needed some time away from it and a cold shower? And is it just me, or is there a recurring theme of heroic icons being lost? The shot of Cap walking with no shield in hand nor on his back not only raises eyebrows, but also accentuates his slouchy demeanour and introduces the possibility of a defeated man. Perhaps this could be following the scene where his shield gets broken… or something worse. BAMFury In some ways, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has been one of the more visible MCU movie characters since 2012’s Avengers. Not only did he play a significant role in Captain America 2, he’s also appeared, not once but twice, on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That said, we only get a split-second’s glimpse of him here making it entirely possible that his participation may be not unlike his role on MCU’s television end of things: a cameo. That being said, an early shot in the trailer (presumably the “post-mission party” scene) seems to feature the only shot of Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, who has also appeared on the aforementioned TV show. However, as an employee of Stark’s, we may get to see her more than the trailer lets on. Also worthy of note, is Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes (a.k.a. War Machine) is present in the movie. While I’m sure that he’ll be not much more than a guest star, I do wonder what will his excuse for not helping out this time be? With so many potential guest appearances having been set up, I am left with only one question: Where’s Coulson?! No Strings Attached Having balls is when you decide to use a song from a 1940 Disney cartoon to score your dark-as-hell movie’s trailer… and also have your antagonist quote the song. In this case, the song and cartoon in question would be “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio, although it’s heavily re-arranged to creep the crap out of anyone who hears it. What truly grabs me is how this clues us in to what to expect from Ultron in the movie. Although he’s already a well-layered character in the comics, it’s possible that we may be seeing more about his desire of wanting to be sentient and, eventually, omniscient—a definite analogy for going from an A.I. to a “real boy.” And because I found this awesome mash-up while looking for the original song, I’m just gonna leave this “Age of Pinocchio” trailer here. Vision-less As excited as I am to get a real good look at Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Ultron and, most of all, Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armour, the one new character I was really looking forward to was Vision. Not that he’s my favourite character or anything (‘though he is pretty cool), but Vision is pretty much the missing piece of the puzzle. This is all the more highlighted by the choice to use “I’ve Got No Strings” as the thematic glue of the trailer. While it can be easily assumed that it applies to Ultron on multiple levels—his desire to be a true sentient; his refusal of being a “puppet”—there is also another layer: Ultron’s desire to play god—his transformation is not just from wooden puppet to a real boy, but to being Geppetto (essentially, a creator). Not only does it seem that Vision may be a big player in the ultimate defeat of Ultron, there’s the big red flag that he’s being portrayed by Paul Bettany… who also voices JARVIS. Coincidence? No freakin’ way. I’m guessing that not only are we gonna see Ultron build a sentient being in his image, he will also hijack JARVIS—therefore killing two birds with one stone: first by creating a platform for himself, second by handicapping the Armoured Avenger. And having seen JARVIS’s impressive array of capabilities (especially when paired with the Extremis technology as evidenced in Iron Man 3), it’s possible that we have actually not even witnessed the real battles that the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are going to have to face. Have any theories of your own? Be sure to share it with us in the comments below!