Actor Thomas Kretschmann has signed on for the role of a major villain in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, according to THR. Neither Marvel nor Kretchmann confirmed exactly who the 51-year old German actor will play, but sources speaking to THR – plus a pile of previous rumors – point to the role being Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.
Kretschmann is currently appearing as Abraham Van Helsing in the NBC TV show Dracula, but his film credits are extensive. He can currently be seen with Sharlto Copley in the horror suspense film Open Grave. He’s also in the Russian IMAX film Stalingrad, which opens in the US on February 28. Previous credits include voiceover work in Cars 2, and roles in Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie and Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
Assuming Kretschmann is in fact playing von Strucker, it supports earlier sources that claimed the character would appear in the Avengers sequel as a second major villain, along with Ultron. Since the character hasn’t officially been confirmed yet, it isn’t clear how he will be portrayed. In the comics though, Baron von Strucker is one of Captain America’s oldest enemies, going all the way back to World War II.
The comics character has survived through the decades thanks to several physical augmentations, along with serums developed by the organization Hydra, which von Strucker led for decades. In the Marvel film universe, Hydra was previously introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger as the Red Skull’s organization, so there is a chance we may see it return as well.
Kretschmann joins several new faces for the Avengers sequel, including Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who will appear as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively. They join James Spader, who plays Ultron – likely buried behind several million dollars worth of CGI. The majority of the cast from the original film also returns. Based on the continuity of the Marvel films, don’t be surprised to see supporting characters from the others pop in. Rumors suggest we may see cameos (or more) from Don Cheadle, Colonel James “War Machine” Rhodes in the Iron Man movies, and Anthony Mackie, who debuts in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015.