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As far as next month’s Avengers: Age of Ultron goes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s superhero mega-team will have more than their hands full of villains with the film’s eponymous annihilation-obsessed A.I., among others. However, one of the film’s rogues in particular, played by Andy Serkis seems likely to be a well-placed seed that will sprout a great villain in the upcoming Black Panther film. Yet, oddly enough, a new official description of Serkis’ character reveals an odd connection to Iron Man himself, Tony Stark!
A brand new press release from Marvel Studios provides a descriptive list of the film’s characters. While most of the character information was standard stuff, not exactly telling any tales out of school, the entry about Serkis’ villainous character, listed as "Ulysses Klaue" (using the German ancestral spelling of the surname) would actually provide some important context. According to the description, Klaue will be portrayed as,
A black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster operating out of South Africa. He is a former acquaintance of Tony Stark’s from his weapons-dealing days and a powerful new player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Besides the character’s apparent inevitability as a crossover villain to tangle with Black Panther, it seems that Age of Ultron will introduce Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue as a character who is interwoven into the surely-vast circles of Tony Stark’s seedy former business associates. In fact, as we saw in the beginning of the first Iron Man, Tony, himself appeared to be an enigmatic, inventive, savvy businessman whose scruples and conscientiousness regarding his company’s weaponry left a lot to be desired. Likewise, Klaue, similarly brilliant as a physicist, sounds cut somewhat from the same cloth as Tony. He uses his scientific genius to invent stunning breakthrough technology, making him a more sinister, avaricious version of Stark.
As widespread speculation suggests, Klaue’s involvement in Age of Ultron seems directly connected to the resource known as vibranium, which Klaue is perpetually obsessed with obtaining in order to fuel his technology that is traditionally depicted as having the ability to turn sound into solid matter. Of course, vibranium is also the same super-solid substance used to make Captain America’s shield. That could be bad news for Klaue, since Ultron may also want to get his robotic hands on a supply that he would prospectively use to coat his body, rendering him virtually indestructible. It may even be possible that Ultron grabs Klaue’s contact info off Tony Stark’s virtual Rolodex. Where, might you ask is the vibranium? Well, it’s in the kingdom of Wakanda, which is ruled by the family of T’Challa, the future Black Panther, who will be played by Chadwick Boseman in the 2018 Black Panther solo outing.
You have to give Marvel credit. They have taken long term tentpole planning and turned it into a lucrative cinematic science. Perhaps, another sign of this is the fact that Serkis’ role as Ulysses Klaue seems to be in a nascent stage of a long term arc. Fans of the comic storyline know the character better simply as "Klaw," which was a familial alteration that the character’s father would make. Yet, with the films, there is the sense that, once we get around to Black Panther that Ulysses Klaue will experience a radical transformation by way of his own technology; a metamorphosis that would be perfectly signified by a change of name from "Klaue" to the better-known, "Klaw."
In the meantime, the big screen debut of Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue is ever more imminent when Avengers: Age of Ultron solidifies itself from sound at theaters on May 1.