With just under 5 months left until Tony Stark is snarking up the screen in his red and gold tin can, it’s full steam ahead for Marvel’s Phase 2, the second step in their plan to turn the entire population of planet Earth into comic geeks (Which gets my vote).
Out of all of their developments though, the riskiest but also the most interesting is S.H.I.E.L.D., the spin-off TV series that Avengers director and Geek Overlord Joss Whedon is making for ABC. There hasn’t been much info forthcoming, but now ABC president Paul Lee has revealed the biggest nugget thus far, and it puts a certain Avengers character in a very mysterious light.
Speaking to IGN, Lee put to bed the rampant rumours of one aspect of the show, namely, exactly where/when it actually takes place:
“There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.”
Now hold on just one schwarma munching moment. Takes place after the Battle of New York? But Clark Gregg has been cast in S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Coulson, and he died before the whole New York shindig, so how can this take place afterwards? Surely, Lee just made a mistake, right? Nope:
“This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.”
And cue the crazy fanboy theories. Now remember, Whedon did pull one of the the oldest cinematic tricks in the book in Avengers, in that we only saw Coulson close to death but not actually dead. It’s Samuel L. Jackson’s Col. Nick Fury that breaks the news of his death to the rest of the team, showing us Coulson’s bloody trading card as proof. But we already know that the card was a lie just to motivate the team, so having him lie about Coulson’s actual death isn’t that far fetched. Although, kind of a dick move, Fury. And if he did die, could this Coulson just be a Life Model Decoy? Oh, the “Coulson is Vision” fanboy theorists will just love that one.
Now about that world that Whedon has built for ABC, the writer-director spoke to MTV about how S.H.I.E.L.D. needed to be different to other shows.
“You’ve got to bring a little bit of spectacle to it. It’s gotta be bigger than your average cop show, but at the end of the day it’s about the peripheral people, it’s about the people on the edges of the grand adventures. The whole point of this show is that even with all these big things, the little things matter. So it’s about people who don’t have super powers. There will be some people with powers, there will be effects, the spectacle of Science Fiction story telling, but all played on a very human/small level.”
Whedon then also went on to provide an update on the script for Avengers 2, the final finish line for all the Phase 2 projects, and it sounds like he’s getting in touch with his psychotic side a bit.
“I’ve done the outline, I’m writing the script now and so the script should be done in a couple of months. I’m pretty excited about it, I have to say.”
“[We] don’t go bigger, [we] go deeper. The grand thing is that all of these people have met so you have that out of the way. Now you can spend your time just digging in and by digging in, I mean with a scalpel, to cause pain.”
Now as you know, Whedon has also been given an exclusive contract as Marvel’s Creative Consultant for their full line of upcoming movies i.e. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.. But what does a Creative Consultant actually do and does it take preference over his work on Avengers 2 and S.H.I.E.L.D.?
“It’s been pretty equal, I read all the scripts and I give notes on everything. I’ll look at cuts when they’re ready to show me. I’ll talk to directors if they want to, I try to make myself useful without being intrusive, but I’ve gotten to sort of be a part of all of them and that’s a dream job for a kid like me.”
The Whedon directed pilot episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. will begin filming later this month, and the series is expected to air in the 3rd quarter of 2012 if picked up for a complete season by ABC. While the cinematic portion of Marvel’s Phase 2 kicks off with Iron Man 3 on May 3, 2013.