'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Adds Thomas Kretschmann

Thomas Kretschmann

What, you thought one villain was enough for The Avengers: Age of Ultron? Pshaw. He might be the baddie who's bad enough for the sequel's title, but ol' Ultron (voiced by James Spader) will have to share the shadows with at least one other villain -- and we've just learned that he'll be played by Thomas Kretschmann.

Marvel's latest cast announcement reveals that the actor, known for playing Abraham van Helsing on NBC's Dracula, has joined the already-huge Ultron ensemble cast, which includes Spader, Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo. Adding a neat bit of Teutonic continuity to Kretschmann's character names, he's reportedly playing Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.

A former Nazi henchman, von Strucker is a member of Marvel's nefarious HYDRA, an organization dedicated to gaining world domination and imposing a fascist New World Order. Although he's been defeated (and seemingly killed) countless times, von Strucker boasts a variety of physical augmentations that have left him essentially ageless and near-indestructible.

Von Strucker also boasts something called the Satan Claw, a metal gauntlet that increases his strength and shoots electric shocks; in addition, his DNA has been bonded with a contagious Death Spore that not only makes him almost impossible to kill, but can be ejected at will in order to infect his enemies. He is, in short, a bad person.

No word on how the Baron will fit into the Age of Ultron storyline -- perhaps writer/director Joss Whedon is making him Ultron's inventor? -- but he's certainly a worthy adversary for the Avengers, and one whose World War II roots should give Captain America (Chris Evans) something to be well and truly ticked off about.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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