This week has become an embarrassment of riches as far as The Avengers is concerned. We saw the deleted alternate opening to the film, a deleted scene focusing on Captain America, we learned that Joss Whedon and Marvel will be developing a S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot at ABC, and today we found out that The Avengers is returning to theaters this Labor Day weekend for a limited engagement.
Now the brains behind the brilliance that is The Avengers has spoken up to close out our week, revealing why he changed the opening to the film, what made him commit to helping out on other Marvel properties in addition to helming an Avengers sequel, and his excitement about returning to television with a Marvel show. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
“Two factors. One: The movie was three hours long. Two: Audiences didn’t respond to it as well in the movie as I think they would as a DVD extra. Most of them didn’t know who this character was or what the context was, and they were like, Uhhh, I don’t know why I’m supposed to be personally involved in this character I don’t know. The rollout to the Avengers getting to Loki was so gradual that people were getting restless. I thought Cobie nailed it, and the reason I thought it was necessary is because I was trying to make a war movie and I wanted to give context that something bad had happened in the past. In a war movie, you don’t know who’s going to live or die, but you do know that this war happened and that [the characters] are going to be in a dire circumstance, and I wanted to create that atmosphere. I was able to get what I needed without doing that. It was tough. I hated cutting it.”
Another deleted sequence unofficially hit the web earlier this week (it’ll be on the Blu-ray) that centered on Captain America and featured a nice scene between Chris Evans and Ashley Johnson, whose waitress character actually pops up briefly at the end of The Avengers in a news broadcast. Whedon admitted that he hated cutting the Cap/waitress scene, but he was able to keep Johnson’s role intact in his follow-up feature Much Ado About Nothing.
Whedon was also asked how he feels in the wake of the massive success of The Avengers, which holds the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time:
“You know, at some point, the numbers become meaningless. They’re large, and you can’t really count that high. I felt like I had a particular mission in making what I felt was a slightly old-fashioned movie, because I grew up wanting to make summer movies and wanting to make superhero movies, and I got to do both at once. I felt like summer movies haven’t been what I remember them to be, so I felt like I would love to evoke something that’s less hip and ironic and more heartfelt and character-driven, and apparently, other people cared about that in a large way.
I don’t think it’s a perfect movie. I don’t even think it’s a great movie. I think it’s a great time, and I’m proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don’t go to see a movie that many times unless it’s pulling on something from within, unless there’s a need there. That’s very gratifying.”
As part of his contract with Marvel to write and direct The Avengers 2, Whedon will also be consulting on all the other films in the studio’s pipeline. He revealed that this was a big part of what made him keen on signing the deal through 2015 in the first place:
“It was part of what made it attractive to me. I loved the idea of being a consigliere. Every writer loves the idea of being able to go in and fix a problem and then leave without obligation. It’s fun! I also love these characters and the Marvel universe, and I grew up reading the books, and I’ve been going back and reading the old books and realizing that they shaped my storytelling way more than I give them credit for. Now I’m starting up a TV show, which is something I really wanted to do, but I thought it wasn’t going to be a part of my life for the next several years. It’s like a tapas menus of projects that excite me, in addition to the Avengers sequel, which I’m excited for because I’m incredibly excited about the next story that I’m going to tell. For me, it’s a huge win.”
The director added that the deal doesn’t specifically state how long he has to spend on each project, so if at any time he feels overwhelmed or out of ideas, he can simply go back to working on The Avengers 2.
Whedon said that he’s excited to return to television, and spoke briefly (yet enthusiastically) about the new S.H.I.E.L.D. series:
“The important thing to me is that we know what the show is. We love what it is. It came together very organically, so when we went in to pitch [to Marvel], it wasn’t like, We’re trying to find this because you want a TV show, it was, Check this out. And that’s a good way to walk in a room.”
If you’re a Whedon and/or Marvel fan, I highly suggest you head on over to Vulture to read the full interview; the guy is unendingly charming. It’s exciting to hear that Whedon is so enthusiastic about sticking with Marvel through at least 2015, and we can rest assured knowing that he’s providing input on Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and God knows what else Marvel is secretly working on.