After wrapping post-production on The Avengers following a lengthy and complicated shoot, Joss Whedon’s job wasn’t even close to being done. The seemingly endless and draining press circuit began where Whedon toured the world promoting the film, walking red carpets and losing his voice. Repeatedly.
That process for this one major project was the beginning of a new chapter in Whedon’s career. Gone is the skepticism surrounding ‘that guy who did Dollhouse’ and in is the demands of a massive fan base to have Marvel Studios bring him back for the sequel. Marvel was game, but Whedon wasn’t at first.
The superhero epic successfully brought together Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor and broke box office records for biggest opening weekend with a $207 million+ domestic haul. Within two days, Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger was quick to confirm that The Avengers 2 was in development. Outside of our own speculation that the movie would come out in 2015 and what we knew about the post-Avengers character sequels, there was little available information.
From watching countless interviews with Whedon following the film’s successful release, it was very evident that he was unsure of whether or not he’d come back. And it wasn’t just a negotiation tactic. After seeing Patty Jenkins exit Thor 2 – much to the chagrin of Natalie Portman – and Favreau take himself out of the running to return for Iron Man 3, coupled with the fact that veteran directors of Captain America and Thor chose not to return as well, it was a very real possibility that Whedon shared the same sentiment. The studio process is killer, and for films as strictly controlled as Marvel Studios’ interconnected properties, it’s an even more stressful challenge.
In chatting with Co.CREATE at the Toronto International Film Festival, Whedon reflected on The Avengers and how moving from that to a small, more relaxing and personal project such as his Much Ado About Nothing was not only refreshing, but like a vacation.
“The Avengers was a job and a really tough job. I can’t say that about Much Ado. That was a gift, a gift from my wife who said, this is what you want to do. You don’t want to travel. You want to do this. I remember thinking: Have I gone completely mad? Then, I’m shooting and I feel all the tension release from my body. It was amazing. When you work at something really hard, then working at something else is a vacation. I remember returning to work on The Avengers with a clearer eye and being more invested not because I have my art and this is my commerce but because the joy of storytelling is back.”