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James Spader to play Ultron in ‘Avengers’

(CNN) — The next time the Avengers assemble, it’ll be to face off with James Spader.

The actor has been cast as the formidable foe Ultron in the next “Avengers” movie, Marvel announced Thursday.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” will show a more humanized — but just as fearsome — villain, Whedon told Entertainment Weekly.

In the Marvel universe, Ultron is a sentient robot that has an incredibly wide range of abilities, coming equipped with super-speed, super-strength, flight, mind control and a coma ray, to name a few. Whedon’s Ultron won’t be quite as versatile, and the filmmaker is imagining a less robotic bad guy.

“I knew right away what I wanted to do with him,” Whedon, as an admitted fan of Ultron’s, has said. “He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers … he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain. And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone (a new character, Scarlet Witch) who’s a witch.”

We trust Whedon knows what he’s doing — this is the same guy who wrote and directed the third highest-grossing film of all time, 2012’s “The Avengers.”

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” will debut on May 1, 2015. In the meantime, Spader will be on the small-screen as well: The three-time Emmy winner stars in NBC’s “The Blacklist,” which premieres September 23.

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