The Dark Horse Joss Whedon panel definitely drew a huge crowd of Whedonites Friday night. Tthe panel basically turned into an hour of great back and forth questions and answers between Whedon and the fans. Whedon has claimed his rightful place as one of the demigods of Comic-Con, having earlier that day taken par tin the panel for his new ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the crowd’s warm reaction to the pilot episode, Whedon still has to fight against the fatigue of his own bustling and insane career at the moment.
After a slight introduction from Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, Whedon got underway, Starbucks coffee in hand, talking about everything including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, The Avengers and The Avengers 2, and Much Ado About Nothing. Hit the jump for the highlights.
Whedon started off by reminding fans to still see Much Ado About Nothing if they haven’t yet, as it is still in theaters. No other projects are on slate for him that we don’t already know about, so much of the fan questions involved his past work and what he is currently working for future projects.
In regards to his past work, fans were eager to hear some of his own personal favorites.
- When asked what his favorite death scene was, and there are many as he acknowledged, he said that Fred’s (Amy Acker) on Angel was his favorite. “All the pain was there,” he said, and later shared that the shawarma scene at the end of The Avengers was inspired by the meal that he had with Acker and Alexis Denisof later that night after filming that death scene. He described it as a “magically exhausting” experience for the three. Many fans addressed Whedon’s joy in killing off well-loved characters in his work, but Whedon described that process as him writing characters that he loves, and showing that sudden and painful death is a part of life for those people love.
- On what has been his favorite female character to write and watch on screen, Whedon said he loved working on the crazier, more erratic characters such as Illyria, River Tam, and Drusilla, but that in the end, it always comes back to Buffy. Being very well known for his female characters, Whedon spoke on the question of him being a male feminist by saying that he wished that, “one half could be treated as well as the other half.”
- If one other character from any of his previous works had to be on The Avengers team, Whedon immediately chose fan favorite Andrew, portrayed by Tom Lenk, from Buffy. Whedon was basically salivating at the thought of an Andrew/Thor scene.
Some fans wanted to know more about his own writing process, and what his ultimate projects would be.
- Whedon personally prefers creating his own universe, but obviously isn’t shying away from tackling already established worlds and characters. He said that he begins thinking as a person who is part of that world, and work from the inside out. He likes being able to do big budget summer blockbusters, but then turn around and put out some Shakespeare. Having grown up loving the Avengers comics, the ideas, characters, and mythology just became a part of his vernacular and knowledge, so taking on the world didn’t present as much of a challenge to him. There may have been a Green Lantern dig in there as well.
- Action/adventures aren’t the only genre he wants to tackle. A fan suggested he try Broadway one day, and he was very receptive to the idea, saying he’d thought about it before and would love to do it when he had the years and years to develop a musical. While he said he can’t quite get the grasp on working out a family drama, he leapt at the notion of an animated film when someone asked. Whedon would like to see animated films that are less same-story, CGI type of movies, and more PG-13 tough adolescent adventures.
- If he had a no budget, no licensing issues scenario, and he could make any film he wanted to, he would do a Firefly reunion, to much fanfare from the crowd.
- Given the opportunity, he would next tackle Shakespeare’s Hamlet if he had to undertake another Shakespearean adaptation.
- Whedon stressed the need for more original content in the modern day film industry. He is a part of a working and successful franchise, but when pushed about other projects such as a Wonder Woman film or a sequel to Dr. Horrible, he emphasized the fact that he would rather spend the time working on something else he hasn’t done before.
- As mentioned by Allie at the beginning, Dark Horse’s Buffy comic book series is wrapping up season nine this coming August/September, and plans to be back with season ten in early 2014.
- When asked to describe Avengers 2 in one word, Whedon chose, “Movie… or flipbook.”
- Whedon now works as a consultant on all of Marvel’s ventures, doing polishing work on all of the films and television shows just to make sure everything works cohesively.
- He remained very quiet on specifics about S.H.I.E.L.D. for those not present for the earlier panel. He did promise he had no plans to kill off any of the characters shown in the pilot. When prodded about Cobie Smulders becoming a series regular as Maria Hill, despite having word she was returning for the series, he said he hoped to see her return in the future.
- He does have plans to keep expanding on the Firefly and Dr. Horrible universes, but nothing set in stone just yet. Too many jobs on the table at the moment to think that far beyond May 2015.