German actor Thomas Kretschmann has signed a deal to play villainous former Nazi Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in several movies, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and possibly a cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, according to websites ComicBookMovie.com and Dark Horizons.
Kretschmann, who has already played Nazi officers in films such as The Pianist and Valkyrie, will play the battle-scarred leader of HYDRA, whose agents were seen battling Captain America in the World War II period of Captain America: The First Avenger. In the comics, von Strucker is a nemesis of Cap, the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., which makes him a particularly appropriate addition to the Marvel movie universe. Also, he can give Loki a break from multifilm villainy. After all, the Norse god of mischief cannot be in every Marvel film!
The baron is described as a secondary villain to the titular android in the Avengers sequel, but he won’t be a one-shot baddie, Kretschmann promises. He told German newspaper B.Z. Berlin:
“I have a multi-picture deal, which means I will not only appear in the second part [the Avengers sequel], but they’re planning with me for a longer period of time. But I don’t know details yet; they’re keeping their cards close to their chest — top secret!”
Von Strucker is rumored to appear early in Age of Ultron, and be key to the introduction of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). When asked if he was nervous about joining such a blockbuster franchise, Kretschmann said:
“Oh, yes, I was nervous. I was overprepared; then, on the set, I went up to [director] Joss Whedon, who passes for a genius, and said, ‘This is my first day, this is huge, please have patience with me, I’m a bit nervous.’”
It’s rather curious that Kretschmann mentions having been “on the set” already, since principle photography isn’t scheduled to begin until later this month in London. However, some second-unit action sequences have been shot recently in South Africa. Kretschmann’s claim bolsters another theory: that von Strucker will appear in an end-credits sequence in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in tow.
The rest of the cast includes the returning roster of Earth’s Mightest Heroes: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Taylor-Johnson, Olsen and the Big Bad, James Spader.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is slated to be released on May 1, 2015.