Joss Whedon, the writer/director and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long-Blog says that when he first saw the script for Marvel’s The Avengers, it was a “disaster.”
In Amy Pascale’s new book, Joss Whedon: The Biography, Whedon recalls meeting with Marvel Studios’ head, Kevin Feige after reading a draft of the script, written by Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra). This was the script that Disney had settled on to make, and Feige wanted Whedon to direct. But, as explained in the Business Insider, Whedon had fault with the work.
“I don’t think you have anything,” Whedon told Feige. “You need to pretend this draft never happened.”
Marvel and Disney had few demands of the script. It had to feature Loki, Thor’s half brother, it had to use each member of the Avengers struggling with each other and learning to work together, and it had to lead up to an all-out battle at the end. Whedon, a veteran team-based comic book writer who launched The Astonishing X-Men for Marvel Comics in 2004, was confident that he could pull it off, but only on his terms.
Whedon went home and wrote a five page treatment which he called Avengers: Some ‘Assembly’ Required and gave it to Feige. The five page treatment laid out Whedon’s plans for the heroes–most of which were already established in their own stand-alone films– and for the franchise going forward. Feige liked what he saw and hired him, and $1.5 billion dollars later, Marvel’s The Avengers is the third highest grossing film in history.
According to an article in GQ, Zak Penn was a little disappointed that his original script was not well received.
“We could have collaborated more, but that was not his choice. He wanted to do it his way, and I respect that. I mean, it’s not like on the Hulk, where I got replaced by the lead actor,” he says, referring to Edward Norton’s infamous decision to install himself as lead screenwriter on that film. “That was an unusual one. This was more normal.”
Joss Whedon’s success with the Avengers led Marvel to assign him to oversee their entire film universe. Whedon helped develop the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series for ABC and is hard at work right now writing and directing Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly-anticpated sequel that wraps up Marvel and Whedon’s “Phase II” part of the overall cinematic plans. As previously reported in The Inquisitr, the cinematic universe is already the most successful franchise ever.
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, written and directed by Joss Whedon, will hit theater in May of 2015.
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