Joss Whedon is a one studio man. At least, for the next three years. Right after the news broke that Whedon will write/direct the sequel to his wildly popular summer hit The Avengers and develop a Marvel-based television series for Disney’s ABC network, Marvel had revealed that they have signed an extended pact with the man once most famous for cult-classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly.
Check-out the statement below, via the Los Angeles Times.
“Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015, [...] As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel’s ‘Avengers 2′ as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.”
This really doesn’t come as any surprise, considering how long it’ll take to develop an Avengers sequel as well as the live-action series. Off the bat, the fact they are locking him in through June 2015 could point to The Avengers 2 arriving in the healthy May slot of 2015, one that worked wonders for the first entry this year. I’m saddened that Whedon won’t be able to write/direct for any other television shows or film studios (his episode of Glee was one of the best that poor show had ever seen and Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog and The Cabin in the Woods were two of the most interesting original pieces I’ve seen out of Hollywood in recent years). I was hoping that the success of The Avengers would give Whedon more freedom to do what he wanted, but getting locked in to one studio and one universe does worry me a bit in terms of his original work. The contract makes me especially wonder what would happen to the Dr. Horrible sequel, as that’s supposed to start production sometime next year, but hopefully there’s a deal that can be worked out in the meantime that’ll let him spend some more time with everyone’s favorite musical villain.
For Marvel fans though, this is fantastic news. Whedon has a storied history of getting better as time goes by. His first seasons of Buffy and Angel were (comparatively) weak at best in comparison to what came later in terms of personal and emotional depth in his characterization and plotlines, especially the fandom that let out a collective whail when Fox ended Firefly and Dollhouse way before their time. In previous interviews, he’s mentioned how he wants the sequel to be “smaller. More personal. [...] By having a theme that is completely fresh and organic to itself.” Doing the sequel will give him time to give the characters that emotional development that won him so many fans with his television work and that he did not really get to go into with the original.
Additionally, the time spent contributing creatively to the other films in the Marvel Universe (including the Thor, Captain America and Iron Man sequels, as well as the Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy adaptations) will help continue to develop that sense of connection the Marvel Cinematic Universe was able to showcase with the last few films. As for the television show, he’s a huge comic buff, so having him work for an extended amount of time on the TV show could help give some great unknown characters the stories they deserve. It could also be a great chance to sneak some of his other favorite actors back onto TV, as he’s been known for bringing his past talents along with him on whichever ride he’s going on.
In the meantime, we do have a few original pieces to look forward to from Whedon. His adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring previous Whedon favorites Alexis Denisof (Angel, How I Met Your Mother, The Avengers), Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, Alias), and Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly, Dr. Horrible), will premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival (cue the fan cheers). Additionally, In Your Eyes, the paranormal romance thriller he wrote starring Zoe Kazan (happythankyoumoreplease), Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield), and Jennifer Grey, is currently midway through production. Either way, it’s great to know that we’ll be seeing a lot out of Joss Whedon over the next few years.
Are you looking forward to a likely 2015 release of The Avengers and more involvement from Whedon?
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