Joss Whedon has been working with Marvel on The Avengers, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and as a consultant on various other related properties for several years. As Geek King Of The Universe (title of Whedon’s biography, written by Amy Pascale,) Joss happily took on the deal because who wouldn’t want to climb in the sandbox with all their favorite things from childhood, play with them, and get paid for it?
But, as written previously on the Inquisitr, it’s had a cost for Whedon. Obviously, working on something so big, with so many working parts is going to take a physical toll, but what about the mental toll? All the things, especially as a fan, you’d like to do but can’t. Or that you’d like to do better, but it’s out of your hands.
A Partner-In-Crime for Loki
Joss felt the power was out of balance between the superheroes and Loki in The Avengers, and he went toe-to-toe with Marvel wanting to add another villain into the mix.
“It was the one battle I lost completely. I definitely felt like I had Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I have four of the biggest, baddest, toughest guys out there and [opposing them] I have one British character actor. And [Marvel] believed very strongly they didn’t want to add any more mythology. I wasn’t gonna argue in the end. It was very difficult for me to make that work, but the ace in the hole was Tom Hiddleston because he’s so compelling, and commanding and gracious about it. It became how he got in their heads and it’s gonna be fine. It took me a long time to accept that because [I kept thinking], ‘They need someone to hit.'”
That ended up being better in the end because it allowed the story to really focus on the character moments between the Avengers and show how hard a time they had working together and what it took to form them into a team that could fight together to defeat the imposing Chitauri.
The Farm vs. The Cave In The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Whedon’s character moments in Age Of Ultron – at Hawkeye’s farm with his previously unknown family, the Scarlet Witch powered fever dreams of each of the superheroes (except the Hulk), and Thor’s cave of wonders with a built in pool — were under fire by Marvel.
“The dreams were not an executive favorite either — the dreams, the farmhouse, these were not things they liked, they were things I fought to keep. With the cave, it really turned into: they pointed a gun at the farm’s head and said, ‘Give us the cave, or we’ll take out the farm,’ — in a civilized way. I respect these guys, they’re artists, but that’s when it got really, really unpleasant… I was so beaten down at that point that I was like, ‘Sure, okay. What movie is this?’ And the editors were like, ‘No. You have to show the [events in the cave]. You can’t just say it.'”
The Mystery of Phil Coulson’s Death and Revival
Joss knew that the only way you could bring the Avengers together was to give them a reason to fight. And what better way to do that than to kill the proverbial heart of the organization, someone all the heroes liked — Phil Coulson. But what Whedon was worried about was his reputation for coldly killing off fan-favorite characters.
“In our first meeting, Kevin Feige said, ‘This is what we’re gonna do,’ and I said, ‘Oh, but you have to go out there and tell everybody that it was your idea because this is going to get me in so much s**t. Because they are all going to be like, ‘Oh, he did it again!'”
Coulson’s death wasn’t the only problem though — his resurrection on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. posed another issue Joss had to grapple with.
“There’s a thing where you can do that so many times and there’s nothing at stake. But it’s difficult because you’re living in franchise world — not just Marvel, but in most big films — where you can’t kill anyone, or anybody significant. And now I find myself with a huge crew of people and, although I’m not as bloodthirsty as some people like to pretend, I think it’s disingenuous to say we’re going to fight this great battle, but there’s not going to be any loss. So my feeling in these situations with Marvel is that if somebody has to be placed on the altar and sacrificed. I’ll let [them] decide if they stay there.”
And after, I would assume, having to answer the Coulson question over and over again, Joss came up with a bit of a sassier way to explain the revival.
“Yeah, [Coulson’s] dead. The entire television series is just a fever dream. It’s a Jacob’s Ladder moment he’s having at the point of death, but we don’t give that away until after season seven. And there’s a snow globe. Now I’ve given it away. Bollocks!”
If nothing else (and I believe there is more), Joss Whedon has a sense of humor about everything, which is a good thing because now that he’s free once again, aside from overseeing the universe of geekdom, who knows what story worlds he’ll be exploring next. I, for one, am excited to see where they’ll go.
[Image courtesy Disney via Collider]