I am one of those stupid people who goes to Comic-Con and knows very little about comics. I apologize for my ignorance, but if you came to Collider for comics coverage, you’re in the wrong place. Movies are our specialty, so at Joss Whedon’s panel for his comics label Dark Horse, I took note of everything he said that related to the cinematic arts, including the reveal that he is actively working on Dr. Horrible 2. Even without the comics, there’s still a lot to talk about. Ninety percent of the hour left Whedon up on stage alone to answer questions from fans who mostly have the same interests I do. Hit the jump for a bullet point recap.
- Whedon finished post-production on Much Ado About Nothing two days ago. They will submit to film festivals with the hopes that a distributor buys it. “If that doesn’t work, check your iTunes.” In addition to writing and directing, he wrote the score—his first.
- Finishing Much Ado About Nothing meant, for the first time in forever, Whedon had nothing to do. So he started talking to the Dr. Horrible team again to plan out Dr. Horrible 2. He noted how many years had passed before closing the discussion, “I can’t wait to tell you more about it. I’m not going to talk about it now.” Okay then.
- Whedon instantly found more mega-success with his second feature, The Avengers, than he ever did in a TV career plagued with struggle. Still, would he ever return to television? “Ab-so-lute-ly. I love television… Most of the great storytelling on screens is being done on television.”
- Whedon says he is “not actually a big ‘go back’ guy.” Once the product is finished, he tends to look forward to something new.
- Whedon commented on the evaporation of the mid-budget movie. Whedon sees that the studios “just want the tentpole or Paranormal Activity” with no in-between. Of course, the director of The Avenger has to follow up with, “Luckily, I would never add to that problem.”
- When asked about making evil characters relatable, Whedon pointed to something Willem Dafoe said about playing good versus playing evil around the time of Last Temptation of the Christ: “There is no difference. Everybody thinks they’re righteous.” That helped him get in the mindset of his antagonists. Yet even he was surprised at how wicked he was, the man who could write Angel’s heel turn after he sleeps with Buffy.
- Whedon said “The Body” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the best television he’s ever written.
- The Buffy animated series was hard to get off the ground because the networks wanted a male counterpart that was just as cool as Buffy. Whedon notes that the dynamic is always changing, and believes the success of The Hunger Games was a victory for female-led action movies. Also, “Jennifer Lawrence is awesome. See Winter’s Bone.”
- Says Much Ado About Nothing is dark. “There is a lot of lying… There’s a real deconstruction of our notions of how love is supposed to operate.”
- If he could bring back Firefly for a second season, it would be set after Serenity so the characters could continue to grow—even though that means he couldn’t bring Wash back.
- Joss Whedon, out of context: “I’m honestly just a girl who can’t say no.”
- Have any plans to work on a stage musical? “Here’s the thing: of course I do… I’m dying to do a stage musical.” Sadly, Whedon doesn’t know that he will ever have the time for such a massive undertaking.
- On Black Widow: “I love her character in a way that I don’t love any of the others.” He likes exploring the darkness in her past, and how that enabled him to include noir undertones in The Avengers. Black Widow’s first scene in the movie, where she’s tied to the chair, is apparently the only scene that remained intact word-for-word from the first draft. Whedon believes that his because he built a career on characters like this: women who initially appear helpless before they stand up and kick ass.
- Remember seeing “Kevin” on the betting board in Cabin in the Woods? Kevin is just a guy that wears a shirt that says “Kevin” who horribly murders people. Director Drew Goddard regrets that Whedon convinced him to cut Kevin from the movie.
- Shooting Much Ado About Nothing at his house was a nightmare. They constantly had to deal with dogs, lawn mowers, and airplanes. It was decided to shoot in black-and-white because a) the movie is a noir, b) it looks elegant, and c) it helped hide some of the lighting issues.
- The CW will soon air Dr. Horrible for the first time ever on television.
Whedon is such an intelligent, self-aware, articulate guy. He absolutely owns this crowd. I was worried that I didn’t belong because of the “Dark Horse” in the title, but this will surely be one of my favorite panels all week.
Catch up on all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage here.