Andy Serkis Ulysses Klaw
Andy Serkis and Ulysses Klaw. (Marvel)

When Marvel released the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier today, fans caught their first glimpse at the mystery character being played by performance capture pioneer Andy Serkis.

Unlike Lord of the Rings or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes however, Serkis' character requires no ping pong balls or morph suits and is the actor in all his human glory. But who is he playing?

Fan speculation, based on looks alone, has suggested that Serkis might be playing Marvel villain Ulysses Klaw.

Aside from having an awesome name, Ulysses Klaw is a physicist with a mastery of sound who debuted opposite the Fantastic Four in 1966 and who is a regular foe of Black Panther.

Should these rumours prove true Klaw's connection to the latter would suggest that plans for a Black Panther movie further down the Marvel production line are in place and that his nemesis will be introduced here.

How though will Klaw fit in to the Avengers story? The obvious answer is that he is in the employ of Hydra, who is seen at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier are holding new characters Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) captive.

Could he be one of the scientists experimenting on them, who potentially gives them or unlocks within them their powers of super-speed and, erm, "probability manipulation".

Serkis was confirmed to have joined the cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron in June, which is toward the end of the film's production. This would suggest a minor role, which in turn suggests (given the actor's lofty status) that he is being introduced for future use in Marvel films.

All will be answered in due course, and will absolutely be answered when Age of Ultron hits cinemas on 24 April 2015.