Published: Thursday, August 4, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
The superheroes of this summer have come and gone, but next year's Avengers ensemble looks mightier than ever thanks to well received outings by Captain America and Thor—not to mention Joss Whedon, who sits in the director's chair.
Whedon—loved by comic geeks and Buffy fans alike—must tie it all together in one of the most ambitious experiments in Hollywood history. The pressure hasn't hurt his dry sense of humor.
"This is the second busiest I've ever been," Whedon said to Entertainment Weekly. "I handle it in the way you have to have intense focus and also be behind on everything—and constantly panicking, which I'm really good at."
In a seemingly unprecedented move, Marvel released an abridged ending of Captain America: First Avenger along with an Avengers teaser trailer online this week. It's not exactly common for a studio to release the ending to one of their biggest summer blockbusters so soon after its release, but considering this is the first time five separate, stand-alone films will ever tie into one, convention has been thrown out.
It all started with Iron Man when Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury recruited an unsuspecting Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) into the "Avengers initiative." And with so many characters to now assemble on-screen at one time, Whedon feels like he's back working on TV again.
"We are almost two-thirds of the way through shooting. We started shooting when I was twelve. It is the longest and most endless thing," Whedon said. "Not unlike doing a season of TV, the movie has so many characters, so many things in it, the movie is so packed it's like I'm making a TV show every week."
That's not to say the frequent San Diego Comic Con attendee hasn't enjoyed himself. Whedon—much like Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston—continues Marvel's method of hiring out-of-the-box directors whose style and storytelling technique fit their respective superheroes regardless of budget or scale.
"Every week I'll get a tired of set, and then I'll get to blow it up and move to the next set. I've been with this actor and now I can get to move to this actor. It's very fun and very varied," Whedon said.
Plot details are scarce, but Thor's main baddie and brother, Loki, looks to play a part along with the all-powerful "cosmic cube" artifact seen in Captain America: First Avenger.
Marvel plans to fill in the gaps between each of their films in a series of shorts starring Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), the S.H.I.E.L.D. operative often seen keeping Iron Man in check. The first of these shorts will appear exclusively on Thor's Blu-ray release next month.
The Avengers' roster features two unfamiliar faces in Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. And How I met Your Mother fans will get to see the legen … wait for it … dary Cobie Smulders as go-to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Maria Hill.
Come next May, Whedon will have either revolutionized the way film franchises are forever approached, or Marvel's grand scheme will have failed. As Nick Fury says, "gentlemen, you're up."