If Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is the architect behind the studio’s wildly successful shared universe of movies, then Joss Whedon is it’s master builder. And chief engineer. And repair guy. And poster boy. He’s damn important, is what I’m trying to say. Despite only having written and directed one Marvel thus far in The Avengers, – the biggest, best and most important of Marvel’s Phase 1 efforts – Whedon’s input was felt on pretty much all of Marvel’s other films as he has been the studio’s go-t0 consultant and occasionally even writing pinch-hitter that gets called in to just punch up scripts (like he famously did on Thor: The Dark World). And soon the massively popular “Geek Overlord” will be delivering the new biggest Marvel project ever when he wraps up Phase 2 with The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but that may just be the last time we see Whedon behind the camera in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a while.
Whedon himself revealed this potential bombshell, when he spoke to Empire (via CBM) about The Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 & 2, the planned 3rd and 4th Avengers pics scheduled for 2017 and 2018 that will act as the two-part culmination of all Marvel’s projects before then.
“I couldn’t imagine doing this again. It’s enormously hard, and it’d be, by then, a good five years since I created anything that was completely my own. So it’s very doubtful that I would take on the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life.
“I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy. This year has been more like running three shows than any year of my life. It is bonkers.”
Whedon’s workmanship has always been legendary (he famously shot Much Ado About Nothing during his shoot for The Avengers), but the amount of effort needed to mount these types of mega-franchise movies is definitely no small thing, so it’s understandable that the filmmaker is feeling tapped out. Age of Ultron must have been especially tiring as the film’s scope expanded exponentially with the film not only now shooting in several locations around the world (including our very own Johannesburg), but the film also boasting the most post-production CG shots of any Marvel movie ever by a long shot.
If Whedon is indeed calling it quits after this, it will certainly stoke the rumours heard last year that Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s Joe and Anthony Russo will be the ones to helm Avengers 3 & 4, With the Russo’s producing arguably the best overall Marvel movie to date in Winter Soldier, and with their planned follow-up, Captain America: Civil War, more than likely going to be the biggest narrative driving force for the Marvel Universe post-Phase 2, they are definitely the best candidates for the job.
If they do get the gig though, it will be very interesting to see how the handle a film that is certainly going to be a lot more comic book-y than what they’re used to. Winer Soldier boasted the very best action sequences of the entire Marvel line, but what made it so impressive was how grounded and practical it all was. Cap and Bucky engaging in a knife fight under a bridge is pretty far removed from Hulk punching giant flying alien snake beasts and Iron Man flying nukes into magic portals in the sky. And Infinity War 1 & 2 will see that comic book-ness dialled up even further as we will probably see a massive team of heroes going toe to toe with Thanos, a purple skinned galactic conqueror, for the possession of a several nigh-magical artifacts with the powers to rewrite reality.
Maybe all that cosmic craziness will be a better fit for Guardians of the Galaxy‘s James Gunn, who proved that not only could he wield a large cast of crazy, out-there characters without losing any of their charm, but he could also stage the type of brightly coloured, explosive, insane action scenes that will be required in Infinity War. Seeing as how it was his movie that gave us our first proper look at Thanos, as well as the explanation for the Infinity Stones and what Thanos plans to do with them, he certainly has the narrative credentials to finish this whole arc off as well.
Personally, I would be perfectly happy with either the Russo’s or Gunn getting the job, as outside of Whedon they are easily the most exciting and most distinct talents working in the Marvel Universe right now. Or, you know, Whedon could just change his mind and stick around to see this thing out, or even tackle one of the upcoming Marvel flicks like The Inhumans. Yeah, that would definitely also be cool.
Last Updated: February 2, 2015