The countdown has officially begun for Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated sequel to 2012’s The Avengers, with the studio confirming that Avengers: Age of Ultron will open internationally April 24, 2015.
While the May 1, 2015, premiere in the U.S. has been on the books for a while now, the newly announced date of the film’s premiere in the U.K. and Ireland (with more countries to follow) means that there is now less than a year until director Joss Whedon brings Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the rest of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” back to the big screen. Along with Whedon’s return behind the camera, the film will feature the return of franchise stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as new cast members Thomas Kretschmann as Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Aaron Taylor Johnson as Quicksilver , Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, and James Spader as the voice of Ultron.
Actor Paul Bettany, who provided the voice of Tony Stark’s computerized assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. in earlier films, will also return as the voice of an additional character, Vision; the popular android hero from the comics is set to make his big-screen debut in Age of Ultron.
In addition to confirming the international premiere date for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel also released an official photo in the latest issue of Empire magazine (via BuzzHub) from the set of the film featuring Whedon in the director’s chair, with the Age of Ultron logo prominently displayed.
Back in March, a series of images from the set of the film offered the first glimpse of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in action, as well as what may be the partial design of Ultron, a sentient robotic villain that has been a longtime foe of The Avengers in Marvel’s comic-book universe. The photos also revealed a new costume for Renner’s sharpshooter hero, Hawkeye.
With less than a year now until Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters, there’s likely to be a heavy push for the film at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, which kicks off July 24. Whether the sequel to The Avengers can match the box-office returns of its predecessor – which currently ranks third in all-time revenue domestically and worldwide – is likely the biggest question the movie will face in the run-up to its 2015 premiere.