If you haven’t kept up with the entire slate of Marvel movies and TV shows, it is all but impossible to keep up with all the characters from Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Even if you’ve paid attention from the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the sheer number of important characters in the latest movie can be overwhelming.
To help, here are all the major characters from Age of Ultron (including some that were only hinted at) that have been important in the MCU or will prove to be in the future.
Spoiler warning: This post will talk about events from Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Tony Stark / Iron Man: The co-leader and benefactor of the Avengers is a self-proclaimed billionaire playboy genius. In addition to all the weapons he has on it, his electromechanical Iron Man suits give him flight and super-strength.
Stark, weary from all his past battles and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, seeks to create a system of artificially intelligent robots who could protect the Earth from evil aliens, to relieve the Avengers. This tendency leads him into conflict now and in the future with the next person.
Steve Rogers / Captain America: Transformed by the Super Soldier program in World War II, Steve Rogers became Captain America and defeated Red Skull before crashing his plane in the Arctic and being frozen in suspended animation.
Working with S.H.I.E.L.D., he saw Nick Fury‘s organization go overboard in trying to protect people before discovering HYDRA had actually infiltrated the entire organization. In addition to his concern for innocent life, Captain values the protection of freedom over the possibility of security.
Thor: Once the crown prince of Asgard, Thor left his world and royal life behind to stay on Earth with Jane Foster and join the Avengers. His hammer, Mjølnir, grants him the power of flight and the ability to control lightning.
Unbeknownst to Thor, his adopted brother Loki, the villain in the previous Avengers movie, has deceptively assumed the throne of Asgard, while Thor has been on Earth. Seeing his fear-induced dream from Scarlet Witch causes Thor to return home.
Bruce Banner / Hulk: A genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated.
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: One of the world’s greatest spies, Black Widow was tortured and trained by the Russians, before joining the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.
In Age of Ultron, Natasha clearly longs for the life held by Hawkeye, but she reveals her trainers sterilized her. While still looking for Hulk, she joins with Captain America to form the new Avengers with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Clint Barton / Hawkeye: A trained S.H.I.E.L.D. assassin, Hawkeye is skilled with a bow and arrow. Early in his career, he chose to save Black Widow instead of kill her, after which they formed a deep friendship.
When the Avengers seek to hide from Ultron, Hawkeye takes them to his off-the-grid home where they meet his pregnant wife and kids, whom only Black Widow knew about.
Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver: Much different than his origin in the comics (where he is a mutant and son of Magneto), Pietro and his twin sister Wanda see their family killed and country torn apart by Stark Industry weapons. They undergo human experiments and join HYDRA (and later Ultron) in order to get revenge on Tony Stark.
Realizing what Ultron truly wants to do, the twins join the Avengers to stop him. He gained super speed and used it to sacrifice himself to save Hawkeye and a small boy.
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch: While her brother received speed, Wanda gained various telekinetic and energy manipulating abilities, including the ability to plant thoughts in people’s minds. Seeing inside the Avengers’ minds, she gave many of them nightmare visions.
At the end of the film, motivated by the sacrificial death of her brother, Scarlet Witch becomes a member of the new Avengers.
Ultron: Created by Tony Stark to be a global peace keeping force, the robot gains sentience and determines the only way for peace to be achieved is the complete annihilation of humanity.
Vision: The Vision is the android born by the result of the synthetic vibranium body created by Ultron, programmed by Stark and Banner using code from Stark’s computer assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. and activated by the Mind Stone hidden inside Loki‘s scepter.
After ending Ultron’s threat, Vision becomes part of the new Avengers.
James Rhodes / War Machine: Colonel James Rhodes, Tony Stark’s best friend, is a U.S. military officer and jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He is known as War Machine when wearing his heavily-armed battlesuit.
He aids the Avengers in the final battle against Ultron and becomes one of the new Avengers.
Sam Wilson / Falcon: Sam Wilson is an Armed Forces paratrooper who is a friend of Captain America and a member of the Avengers under the codename Falcon.
Early in the film, he tells Captain that he has been unable to find “the missing person.” By this he means, Bucky Barnes the Winter Soldier, Captain’s friend-turned-enemy-turned-potential-friend again. He is part of the new Avengers.
Nick Fury: The director of S.H.I.E.L.D. until he pretended to fall victim to an assassination attempt by HYDRA, Fury is the man responsible for the creation of the Avengers. He appointed Phil Colson as director, but returned in Age of Ultron to inspire the Avengers. He ended up at the new Avengers facility.
Maria Hill: She is the former Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and also held the title of “Commander.” Hill joined Stark Industries in the immediate aftermath to help protect herself from being put in prison after S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse. Fury requested she join him in planning support for the battle with Ultron. Later, Hill was at the new Avengers building.
S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, better known by its acronym S.H.I.E.L.D., was originally a United States extra-governmental military counter-terrorism and intelligence agency.
Run by Nick Fury, the agency was founded by Howard Stark, Tony’s dad, and Peggy Carter, Captain America’s World War II era love interest. It was thought to be destroyed after HYDRA infiltrated it. Now, it is tasked with training the new Avengers.
HYDRA: HYDRA is a terrorist-military organization bent on world domination. It was founded shortly after the rise of Nazism in Germany as the scientific and weapons branch of Nazi Germany.
Eventually, it broke away from the Nazis and infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. to the highest levels. Its existence was revealed and lost a war with S.H.I.E.L.D. The last two know heads of HYDRA were killed in Age of Ultron—one by Tony Stark, the other by Ultron in his prison cell.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker: Originally a sleeper agent in S.H.I.E.L.D., von Strucker was a German Baron and one of the leaders of HYDRA. He was over the human experimentation with Loki’s scepter that lead to the creation of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Ultron killed him in his NATO jail cell.
Doctor List: He was a scientist and one of the prime figureheads of HYDRA. List also served as the right-hand man of Wolfgang von Strucker. Iron Man shot and killed him as he tried to escape.
Ulysses “Klaw” Klaue: He is a black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster operating out of South Africa, including Wakanda. Klaue is a former acquaintance of Tony Stark’s from his weapons-dealing days. Ultron sliced his arm off when he compared the robot to Stark. In the comics, he is an antagonist of Black Panther.
Infinity Stones: They are six immensely powerful objects tied to different aspects of the universe— Mind, Soul, Power, Space, Time and Reality. Only four Infinity Stones have been revealed in the movies, including the Mind Stone in Vision’s head.
Thanos: He is a powerful cosmic warlord who rules over a distant region of space and commands a massive army. Thanos‘ goal is to assemble the Infinity Stones and place them within the Infinity Gauntlet, which he wore in the post-credit scene to end Age of Ultron.
Peggy Carter: She was one of the most prominent agents of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) before, during, and after World War II. Captain America’s love interest prior to his being froze, Carter was one of the co-founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Age of Ultron, she appeared in a Scarlet Witch induced dream for Captain, telling him the war was over and he could come home.
Heimdall: He is the all-seeing and hearing Asgardian and guard of the Bifrost Bridge. Heimdall can see and hear nearly everything that happens in the Nine Realms. He is the current guardian of the Tesseract. He also appears in a Scarlet Witch dream, where he warns Thor of a coming danger.
Pepper Potts: Originally working as Tony Stark’s personal assistant, Virginia “Pepper” Potts is now the Chief Executive Officer of Stark Industries and romantically involved with Stark, who attempts to one-up Thor by bragging about her accomplishments and why she could not attend the party in Avengers Tower.
Jane Foster: She is an astrophysicist as well as one of the world’s premiere experts on Asgard. Foster is romantically involved with Thor, who, like Stark, tries to use her achievements to one-up Stark at the party.
Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes: He was a soldier of the 107th Infantry and the childhood friend of Steve Rogers. Barnes was thought to have died on a mission during World War II. Unfortunately, he was captured by HYDRA, brainwashed, and trained to be an assassin.
With his memory slowing coming back to him, he went into hiding. Falcon gives Captain an update during the party saying he still had not found their “missing person.”
Black Panther/ T’Challa: While he is not mentioned by name, Age of Ultron is clearly meant to serve as a foundation for the later introduction of the character. Black Panther is the ruler of the kingdom of Wakanda, home of vibranium (the material Captain’s shield is made from).