James Spader, left, has been cast as the titular villain in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron." Spader is a prolific actor with three Emmy Awards under his belt. Click through the gallery for a look at some of his previous roles. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images; Marvel)Link
James Spader, left, and Robert Downey Jr. in "Tuff Turf," a 1985 film about a street gang. (New World Pictures)Link
James Spader plays popular, rich Steff in John Hughes' 1986 film "Pretty in Pink." (Paramount Pictures)Link
Andie MacDowell, left, and James Spader in Steven Soderbergh's 1989 drama "Sex, Lies, and Videotape." (Miramax)Link
James Spader in Steven Soderbergh's 1989 drama "Sex, Lies, and Videotape." (Miramax)Link
James Spader, left, and Kurt Russell team up in the 1994 sci-fi adventure "Stargate." (Claudette Barius / NBC)Link
James Spader, left, Kurt Russell and John Diehl in the 1994 sci-fi adventure "Stargate." (Claudette Barius / NBC)Link
James Spader in David Cronenberg's 1996 drama "Crash." (Jonathan Wenk / Fine Line Features)Link
James Spader stars as Dr. Werner Ernst in the 1997 dramedy "Critical Care." (Live Entertainment)Link
James Spader stars as Nick VanZant, the pilot of a deep-space hospital vessel who must uncover the destructive force that threatens his ship, in the 2000 sci-fi thriller "Supernova." (United Artists)Link
James Spader and Angela Bassett in "Supernova." (Stephen Vaughan / United Artists)Link
Spader portrayed a retired FBI agent tasked with tracking down an elusive serial killer on the streets of Chicago in the 2000 thriller "The Watcher." (Universal Studios)Link
James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal portray a lawyer and his secretary who share a sadomasochistic relationship in the 2002 dramatic comedy "Secretary." (Bruce Birmelin / Lionsgate)Link
In the 2003 TV movie "The Pentagon Papers," Spader played Daniel Ellsberg, the defense worker who leaked a 7,000-page classified Vietnam War document to newspapers in 1971. (Sophie Giraud / FX Network)Link
James Spader, right, played attorney Alan Shore in "The Practice." The series, about a Boston law firm, ran from 1997 to 2004. (Bob D'Amico / ABC)Link
James Spader accepts his 2004 Primetime Emmy Award for his lead role in "The Practice." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)Link
William Shatner, left, and James Spader in "Boston Legal," a spinoff of "The Practice." The series ran from 2004 to 2008, and Spader won two Emmys for his performance. (Danny Feld / ABC)Link
James Spader is surrounded by applause after winning his 2007 Emmy for his performance in "Boston Legal." (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)Link
James Spader, left, portrays W.N. Bilbo, a Tennessee lawyer and lobbyist, in Steven Spielberg's 2012 drama "Lincoln." (David James / DreamWorks)Link
James Spader as "Red" Raymond Reddington in NBC's "The Blacklist," which premieres this September. (David Giesbrecht / NBC)Link
James Spader arrives at the NBC 2013 summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills on July 27. (Dan Steinberg / Associated Press)Link
This morning’s news that James Spader will play the titular villain in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” has the Internet abuzz, with many Marvel fans applauding the casting decision.
One of the Emmy-winning actor’s biggest endorsements comes from Tom Hiddleston, whose villainous shoes he will have to fill. Hiddleston portrayed Loki, the power-hungry demigod who faced off against Marvel’s mightiest in “The Avengers” last year. He also played Loki opposite Chris Hemsworth in 2011’s “Thor” and is reprising the role for this year’s sequel “Thor: The Dark World.”
On Thursday, Hiddleston tweeted encouragement to Spader, one Marvel villain to another.
“Age of Ultron” director Joss Whedon also tweeted support for Spader, teasing fans who had referenced a Spader-Robert Downey Jr. reunion — the pair played a drug dealer and a junkie, respectively, in the 1987 film “Less Than Zero.” Whedon, however, recalled an earlier collaboration:
Hiddleston and Whedon weren’t the only ones chatting about Spader. Following is a sampling of online voices expressing their reaction to the news.
The overall positive reception of the news stands in stark contrast to DC’s announcement last week that Ben Affleck will portray Batman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel. That casting was met with a barrage of skepticism, though the Oscar winner was not without his supporters, Whedon among them.
Then again, Ultron isn’t as well-known as Batman, and moviegoers in general have fewer preconceived notions about how the character should be portrayed.
In the comics, Ultron is an insane, sentient robot who tries to destroy his creator, Dr. Henry Pym, the original Ant-Man. It’s unclear how closely the film will tie to the recently finished “Age of Ultron” story in Marvel Comics, or whether Ant-Man (the protagonist in another upcoming Marvel film, directed by Edgar Wright) will be part of the movie, which is set for release May 1, 2015.
What do you think about Spader’s casting as Marvel Studios’ next supervillain? Take the poll below.
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