You didn’t think that Ultron would be the only villain in the next Avengers movie just because it’s called Age of Ultron, did you? Heck no. With the try-to-top-this attitude that these big, bombastic superhero movies—and really all summer movies in general—have fully embraced over the last decade or so, any movie you try to sell to a summer audience is going to have to be bigger, louder, packed full of more heroes, and more fully swarming with ever eviler villains.
To that end, Age of Ultron writer/director Joss Whedon has decided to super-size his superhero sequel by augmenting the evil robot at the heart of his film with one of the most despicable villains both in modern fiction and in modern history—the Nazi. Or, in this case, an ex-Nazi turned current head of HYDRA. That’s right, Age of Ultron is going to include that monocled, bald-headed, Satan-Clawed king of evil, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, and it looks like Whedon and company have found the actor with enough darkness inside of him to bring the guy to life.
Rumors have been getting passed around for a while now that Marvel was looking for an actor to play von Strucker in Age of Ultron, but today The Wrap got a little bit ahead of the rumors and reported that not only is he definitely going to be in the movie, but that Thomas Kretschmann has now been hired to play him. Of course, Marvel usually likes to control how their casting announcements come out, so they’ve yet to get on board and confirm this, but generally The Wrap reporter who wrote this up, Jeff Sneider, has a good enough track record that we can probably consider it a done deal.
Who is Thomas Kretschmann, you might be asking? He’s a German actor, which means in Hollywood-speak that he’s already played a Nazi in a whole bunch of different movies. Perhaps you recognize him from being evil in things like Stalingrad, The Pianist, U-571, Downfall, or Valkyrie. Or, if movies about Nazis aren’t really your thing, perhaps you recognize him for playing Van Helsing on that Dracula show that just debuted, or Dracula in that awful Dracula movie that Dario Argento made last year. Basically, if you need to make a vampire movie or a World War II movie, Kretschmann is your guy.
As far as the character he’s playing here, Baron Strucker is a villain who’s been in the Marvel comics for quite a while. Remember that science division of the Nazi party HYDRA that was featured in Captain America: The First Avenger? Well, Strucker started out as a Nazi officer, eventually helped the Red Skull form HYDRA, and then took HYDRA over after the Red Skull disappeared for a while. He’s done a whole lot of evil and has been a thorn in the side of a whole lot of heroes, but the basic gist of the guy is that he’s always finding ways to keep himself from aging, he’s a master fighter and strategist, and he’s often wearing a pretty sweet accessory he created for himself called the Satan Claw, which makes him strong, lets him shoot lightning, and generally just looks great.
While the title of the film would indicate that the evil robot Ultron is going to be the antagonist giving our favorite heroes the most trouble come Avengers: Age of Ultron, this Strucker cat is certainly nothing to sneeze at either. Hopefully they include his monocle. Not nearly enough bad guys wear monocles in movies these days.