In the past two weeks, Marvel Studios has taken up a fair share of the news cycle. A low-resolution version of the first trailer for The Avengers: Age of Ultron was leaked online (by Hydra); Marvel responded by releasing the official high-definition trailer a week before its planned debut during last week’sAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — instead, ABC aired an extended version of the trailer. Then, at a special event, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced their entire slate of Phase 3 films with help from Marvel directors like Joss Whedon (The Avengers: Age of Ultron) as well as Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
More recently, Idris Elba (Thor‘s Heimdall in the Marvel Universe) let it slip in an interview that both he and Tom Hiddleston would appear in Age of Ultron — a tidbit Marvel Studios, including Feige and Whedon, meant to keep under wraps. Now, Whedon has commented on Elba’s reveal and other aspects of the upcoming Marvel Studios schedule, including Age of Ultron.
In an interview with Vulture, Whedon admitted that the leaked information (specifically Elba’s comments) is inevitable when working on a project as massive as Age of Ultron or, presumably, any upcoming Marvel Studios film. In terms of whether or not he or Feige had contacted Elba about the leak, he said he hasn’t, but can’t say the same about the Marvel Studios president:
Um, should he receive an email from me, there might be an attitude of scold… Yeah, when you have a cast of 19,000 people, inevitably, once every month, you pick up [a story] and you’re like, “Awww.”
As for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which Whedon recently revealed would take a look at the “global perspective” of the superhero team, finished filming a few months ago, with Whedon currently hard at work in the editing bay. The self-deprecating director explained that even noticing all the mistakes he had made during filming couldn’t lessen the enjoyment of “finding a way to make something more emotional or funnier or cooler.”
In terms of Marvel’s larger plan, Whedon couldn’t comment on how many Phase 3 movies would include Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, but he did offer his reaction to the studios’ long list of upcoming films, which may have overshadowed Age of Ultron at the Marvel event:
“You know, it is a little daunting, and you sort of go, [mock-whiny] “What about my movie? I haven’t even been born and you already like my younger siblings better?” But at the same time it’s exhilarating. It’s really fun to see where Kevin’s taking it and to see the workings of that mind. I think it was a very canny and very human move, I really like the slate.”
It was certainly the case that in the days following Marvel’s Phase 3 announcement, certain titles like Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War were at the center of plenty of discussions and speculation — whether explorations of what each property has to offer, or lengthy breakdowns on the Screen Rant Underground podcast. Although Whedon’s vision is his own, he admitted that that even he isn’t able to avoid all fan reactions and speculation:
“Sometimes. Sometimes it’s depressing, sometimes it’s enlightening. Every now and then, you definitely learn something from some random person on the internet who sees your work in a way you didn’t, who sees truth in it, that’s worth it.”
It may be true that Marvel’s Phase 3 titles have recently overshadowed the studios’ next release. Between the confirmation of many long-awaited big screen debuts like Inhumans and Captain Marvel, as well as the surprising nature of Feige’s announcement (Marvel has never previously revealed so many titles in such a short time period), the amount of attention given to Phase 3 in the last week is understandable.
However, as the premiere of Age of Ultron draws closer, it will surely receive the attention it deserves — and Whedon so clearly hopes it receives. So far, all indicators point to it being the biggest movie yet to be released by Marvel and perhaps it will (read: it almost certainly will) knock out The Avengers as the studios’ most financially successful film.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1st, 2015.