Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled for release May 1, 2015 in North America, and Marvel is slowly beginning to unveil more details about the follow-up to the original blockbuster. Collder and IGN have posted today their transcripts from a roundtable interview with Joss Whedon conducted last summer on the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and in it the fan-favorite writer/director gives new context into choices made for the original Avengers movie as well as the upcoming sequel, including the revelation that Whedon had much of Age of Ultron planned before he even began filming the first movie.
"Yeah, before I took the first job, I said, 'Well, I don’t know if I’m right for this or if I want it or you want me, but in the second one, the villain has Ultron and he has to create the Vision, and then, that has to be Paul Bettany,'" Whedon said. "It took me three years before I could tell Paul that I’d had that conversation, but after that, I stopped. I was like, 'That would be cool if there’s you have Ultron and you have Vision and Paul played him, and Scarlet Witch and Pietro, definitely.' They’re from my era, they’re very different, their powers are different, it’s not all punching, it gives a different palettes, we can do more interesting things, it’s fun; those things were absolutes."
Whedon says one big change he's making in his approach to Avengers: Age of Ultron over the first Avengers is that he's focused more and putting a higher bar for himself to reach.
"Yeah, the first one, it was a raggedy me that made that film. It did take a lot out of me," the director revealed. "Going in this time, I just had to sort of recalibrate my entire existence and throw myself into it more wholeheartedly and say, 'Okay, I’m actually going to make it harder to make from the last one. I’m gonna just invest myself in every part of it, in every production meeting, in every location scout, and every question about a prop that I’d like to avoid. I might even work harder on the script. There’s nothing in it that I’m not going to let tear me apart. I’m just gonna give myself up to it… like a Christian to a lion.'"
Whedon goes on to reveal that the lack of a standalone Hulk movie with Mark Ruffalo was a conscious choice by Marvel Studios' head Kevin Feige, in an effort to have a team member character who was exclusive to the Avengers movies.
When asked about the rumors of a larger role for Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye than the original, Whedon was decidely mum and would only say "something's up with that boy."
The writer/director also added that during the writing of the Avengers; Age of Ultron script he got inside Ultron's head and at one point could understand the android antagonist's motivations and even agreeing with them.
"I think for me, there’s always a point where I’m writing them where I’m like 'They’re right! The Avengers suck! We got to do something about that. We got to take care of these guys,'" says the Buffy creator. "Hopefully, you will come out of this, if not agreeing with him then getting him, and getting his pain, which leads to a lot of damage, and some humo. How’s he different? I mean, villains are different from each other. The important thing for me is he’s not this external thing. He’s not Independence Day. Not that I’m criticizing that movie, but it’s not like we spent some time on the alien going 'Oh, I hate that Will Smith! Punched me right in the face my first day there!' When he’s in his scenes, you want to feel like he will never understand that he’s not the hero."