It seems weird to me to think that "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" is getting ready to shoot, but of course it is. After all, they plan to be in theaters for the summer of 2015, and if they shoot this spring, they'll have about a year of post-production to bring the gargantuan production to life.

And trust me… this one's going to make the first film look like "Stranger Than Paradise" by comparison.

As we enter this home stretch, there will be some big announcements coming about cast, and I'm curious to see how well the film protects some of its biggest secrets. Bleeding Cool reported a rumor today that Rhodey (Don Cheadle) will play a part in the film, and HitFix can confirm that Col. Rhodes, aka War Machine, has a key role in the conflict with Ultron that is the main focus of the sequel.

Ultimately, Marvel has to start planning for the future. Robert Downey Jr. will not keep playing Tony Stark forever. I was about to say that Marvel hasn't had to deal with recasting one of their marquee characters yet, but that's not true. They recast Bruce Banner for "The Avengers" because they couldn't come to terms with Ed Norton on what role he'd play in the film creatively, and while I really liked Norton's take on the character, I think Mark Ruffalo absolutely killed it in "The Avengers." With The Hulk, though, because the big green guy is the main attraction, it feels like there's a little more latitude. I'm curious to see what happens when they have to make a decision about Iron Man or Thor or Captain America, since those actors have been such a key part of successfully bringing those characters to life.

One thing you can count on is that at the end of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," the group that calls themselves "The Avengers" isn't going to be the same group we saw eating shwarma together at the end of the first film. Major changes are coming for The Avengers, and I've said all along that I full expected the studio to break up the group by the end of the second film specifically to give Phase Three a major narrative arc of trying to get all of the originals back in place to stand against Thanos when he finally comes for Earth. Whether or not Rhodey will be one of those new Avengers standing together at the end of "Age Of Ultron" remains to be seen, but Cheadle's got a few films left on the contract, and I think it would be premature to start predicting his death at this point.

"Avengers: Age Of Ultron" arrives in theaters May 1, 2015.