Joss Whedon may the golden boy at Marvel Studios as writer/producer director of Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he's not above calling out the studio for what he perceives as some missteps, even though at the same time he describes his time there as the best experience he's ever had with a studio.
In an wide-ranging interview with Buzzfeed News, Whedon goes into detail on several issues he's had with Marvel — as a fan, as a consultant, and as a director. Chief amongst them is the decision not to go ahead with Edgar Wright's vision for Ant-Man. When asked about the departure and his thoughts on it, he was surprisingly open.
“Only that I don’t get it. I thought the script was not only the best script that Marvel had ever had, but the most Marvel script I’d read. I had no interest in Ant-Man. [Then] I read the script, and was like, Of course! This is so good!" said Whedon. "It reminded me of the books when I read them. Irreverent and funny and could make what was small large, and vice versa. I don’t know where things went wrong. But I was very sad. Because I thought, This is a no-brainer. This is Marvel getting it exactly right. Whatever dissonance that came, whatever it was, I don’t understand why it was bigger than a marriage that seemed so right. But I’m not going to say it was definitely all Marvel, or Edgar’s gone mad! I felt like they would complement each other by the ways that they were different. And, uh, somethin’ happened.”
After the success of Avengers, Marvel signed Whedon to an encompassing deal which, in addition to helming Age of Ultron, led him to create not only the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series but also oversee, consult and sometimes re-write parts of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy. A lot of that involves Whedon working director with the directors of those films.
“You know, talking them off the ledge,” he said. “Cause there’s a certain degree of madness. But there’s always method.”
In regards to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he originally planned to have a bigger role in the show beyond just overseeing the creation and directing the pilot. The decision by Marvel Studios to tie the show in so intricately to the movies — namely the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinning out of Captain America: The Winter Soldier — led him to change his plans.
“There was a period where it got … complicated,” Whedon said. “A lot of people who aren’t connected with the show were like, Oh, yeah, you have to have this guest star, and you have to work around this. Sometimes, it makes your head spin. I mean, it’s hard enough when they’re like, And by the way, in Iron Man 4, he’s going to be played by Linda Hunt as a human spider. And you’re like, Oh, OK! I guess I’ll have to work that in.”
Whedon said he was eventually pulled away from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to focus exclusively on Age of Ultron. Now, with production done and directors already hired for the next Avengers sequels, Whedon says he has no plans of returning to Marvel — but loved his time there.
“Working at Marvel is the best experience I’ll ever have with a studio,” said Whedon. “And honestly, all of this is a ridiculous dream. But at the end of the day, you know, it is a Marvel film. There are other arrows in my quiver — I hope. Unless this is my swan song. In which case, it’s a big f***ing swan.”