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avengers age of ultron paul bettany the visionTim Whitby/Getty Images for BFI

For years Paul Bettany, the British actor from "A Beautiful Mind" and, for some reason, "Priest," has been an essential but easily overlooked part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, voicing Jarvis, the artificial intelligence assistant to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), better known as Iron Man. That role will be vitally expanded in the upcoming sequel "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," with Bettany signed on to play The Vision, a robotic member of the Avengers team who was created by the titular villain (played, in the movie, by the always-slithery James Spader).

Variety confirmed the news, which initially broke out when Bettany was spotted in the costume. While production on the super-sequel doesn't begin until next month, the common theory is that, unlike in the comic books, Stark himself will design and build The Vision. (In the comics, Ultron built The Vision to serve as a partner in crime, but Vision turns on Ultron and becomes one of the team's greatest heroes.) If Vision becomes some kind of living embodiment of Jarvis, well... that would be pretty cool.

Some theories, based on last year's Comic Con teaser and, of course, idle speculation, have Ultron as a creation of Tony Stark's, which would add another dramatic wrinkle to the scenario.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron," which will once again be written and directed by geek god Joss Whedon, is out May 1, 2015. This time, there will be lots of robots.