‘Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon’s Letter to Fans; Talks ‘Dark Knight Rises’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 23rd, 2013 at 9:24 am,

Joss Whedon is officially a mainstream name now, thanks to his writing and directing efforts on Marvel’s The Avengers - officially the #1 record holder for biggest opening weekend in movie history.

If you’re a geek (like us), then Whedon’s name is not a new thing; his work on shows like Firefly and Buffy, films like Serenity, and even smaller projects like the web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and the comic book Astonishing X-Men have made him a welcome face within the hallowed halls of Comic-Con for years now. (Remind me to tell you the story of how I stood next to him in line for a Glee panel a few years back.)

In light of all that has transpired since Avengers hit theaters, Whedon himself has written a letter to fans – ruminating on the journey already behind him, and that still ahead – in his usual witty, winking, Whedon way.

Here are some choice excerpts from Whedon’s open letter, which also touches on other subjects such as how Marvel’s tentpole film will fare against DC/WB and Chris Nolan’s upcoming Batman trilogy finale, The Dark Knight Rises:

Dear Friends,

Well, it’s been quite a weekend. Someday, long from now, I will even have an emotional reaction to it, like a person would. I can’t wait! But before I become blinded by this “emotion” experience, there’s a few things I’d like to say. Well, type.

People have told me that this matters, that my life is about to change. I am sure that is true. And change is good — change is exciting. I think — not to jinx it — that I may finally be recognized at Comiccon. Imagine! Also, with my percentage of “the Avengers” gross, I can afford to buy… [gets call from agent. Weeps manfully. Resumes typing.] …a fine meal. But REALLY fine, with truffles and s#!+. And I can get a studio to finance my dream project, the reboot of “Air Bud” that we all feel is so long overdue. (He could play Jai Alai! Think of the emotional ramifications of JAI ALAI!!!!)

What doesn’t change is anything that matters. What doesn’t change is that I’ve had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of — I’m not even gonna say fans. I’m going with “peeps” — that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of… Because of y’all. Because you knew me when… So this is me, saying thank you. All of you…. this [is] our time of streaming into the main, to crow. To glow. To crow and go “I told you so”, to those Joe Blows not in the know. (LAST time I hire Dr. Seuss to punch my posts up. Yeesh!) Point being, you deserve some honor, AND you deserves some FAQs answered. So please welcome my old friend and certainly not-on-my-payroll reporter/flunky, Rutherford D. Actualperson!

RDA: I’ve seen a lot of a talk about “the Availers” vs “the Dark Knight Rises”. How will you feel if you’re eclipsed by Nolan?

JW: I’m glad I made you ask that. I will feel sad. But let’s look at the bigger picture, and I can’t say this enough: THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Our successes, whoever has the mostest, are a boon to each other. We’re in the business of proving that superhero movies aren’t just eye-candy (they’re eye-TRUFFLES!). People seem intent on setting us against each other, and though I’m proud to be Woody Strode to Nolan’s Kirk Douglas, I think they’re missing the point. Whatever TDKR does on its first weekend, the only stat that matters to me is the ticket I’M definitely buying. Nolan and Raimi INVENTED the true superhero flick, yo. (Special mention to Jon Favreau and James Gunn.) Happy to be in the mix.

This is just a very small sample of Whedon’s full letter – which you can find on his site Whedonesque.com. The longer version touches upon much, much, more -  including the following topics:

  • How he’ll stay grounded after such a big success.
  • If he’ll still focus on TV and independent projects
  • Some shrewd self-promotion for his film Cabin in the Woods and upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
  • The nicknames he hopes he doesn’t get stuck with.
  • Joking reference to the Air Bud reboot he hopes to make (not really).
  • More glowing praise for the fans who supported him all through the years.

Do yourself a favor if you’re a fan: read the letter in full.

At the very least, we can add that we, too, hope Whedon stays grounded in the geek persona that has made him an icon-on-the-rise; we need him to bring that same love, care, insight and fun to the recently-confirmed Avengers 2.

For longtime Whedon fans: are you worried now that the geek guru has gone mainstream?

Avengers and Cabin in the Woods are both currently in theaters.

Source: Whedonesque.com

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  1. I’m sorry for repeating myself, but I just LOVED The Avengers.
    If not for Joss Whedon, who knows how terrible this movie could have turned out…
    Thank you Whedon, thank you for making one the best movies I’ve ever seen.
    Just be sure to stick around and make the sequel ;)

    • With his new bankroll and clout, I hope he makes a sequel to Serenity.

  2. SO how much articles are going to be released about the avengers because over the past couple of weeks their have been some serious avengers wanking on this site.
    Can’t wait until TDKR is released Whedon will run along and continue making more Tv shows that will get cancelled.It seems that a movie lacking a plot with a a lot of explosion can be considered quality now,the future looks grim.

    • Now I see that a lot – such and such a movie is lacking a plot…. what do you mean when you say that? We must not have seen the same movie because the Avengers certainly had a plot. Now I’d understand if you said the plot was flimsy, childish, or perhaps even incomprehensible, but to say that the Avengers is “a movie lacking a plot” just isn’t true. It is one thing to levy coherent criticism and quite something else to maliciously tear down other people (Whedon) and the movie so many people have expressed love for. Does it in some twisted way make you feel good about yourself or that you are important? If so, you need help.

      • JB, I loves you.

        • And when I say JB, I mean KB.

    • And guess what, Avengers had the biggest opening weekend ever! :-D

      This is a site run by geeks, mostly read by geeks, and Avengers is a geek’s dream come true. What would you expect?

      • Well played. :)

      • LOL!

      • Agreed!!!

      • Lmao!!!

        • Didn’t realize till I read Kahless’s comment that I’m a geek! No wonder I live on this site.

      • lawyer’d!

    • And if we get more movies like Avengers, then the future doesn’t look grim, it looks fantastic.

    • It doesn’t matter how much TDKR makes, you can’t make a movie that makes as much money as Avengers is for the studio backing it and not have your career make a significant step forward. If nothing else, Whedon will have earned a chance to make his ‘dream’ project, like Nolan got the greenlight for “Inception”. It would take a colossal failure of the sort that Zach Snyder pulled off with Sucker Punch in order to blow the good will this kind of success earns you, and maybe more than one of those to negate it.

    • Wait for the dark knight rises, which is still a stupid title, and then nce again you can enjoy: 1. a bad guy who outshines a weak bat man, 2. another female lead that everyone dislikes, 3. a few good effects and a plot that thinks it is smarter than it actually is… So, enjoy seeing morgan freeman and michael caine, which are the only great actors in the film! I actually will enjoy tdkr, but you need to realize that it is a movie, not your life!

      • Anyone who says caine and freeman are the only good actors in the movie is stupid. Bale is a fantastic actor and JGL is an up and coming star much like time hardy. Marion cotillard and anne hathaway have both made oscar appearences. So your comment is bologna

    • [facepalm] Sure man… keep telling yourself that ;)

      FACT is, The Avengers is a huge success (and a fantastic movie), but so is TDK and BB (two of the best comic book movies of all time) – why you continue to bash The Avengers… who knows – at this point, it just makes you seem petty IMO.

      • Why do you mean at this point people have the the right to express their disappointment with the film.The action was great at the ending but if anyone start to think bout the actual movie one will realize just how average it is.An alien race that is supposed to be advanced easily getting owned by bullets and arrows,they should have just put the army to use at least the transformers got that right.
        The avengers spent the entire time beating up scrubs,the movie would have been decent if Whedon actually tried to throw a decent twist,it’s as if people are saying comic books are supposed to be cliche and contain cheesy dialogue.It’s as if everything was overlooked just because things went boom.

        • “but if anyone start to think bout the actual movie one will realize just how average it is” – well, there are about 230 people on a site called RottenTomatoes who’s job it is to “think bout the actual movie” and they don’t come to the same conclusion as you do – that’s not even all of them, most reviewers around the world think it’s a great movie, the millions of fans think it’s a great movie, and obviously, the general audience thinks it’s a great movie.

          Point is, at this point, bashing the movie and the guy who made it (don’t try and deny it, there was clearly “bashing” in your above comment ;)) won’t convince anyone.
          It’s fine to have an opinion, but at least support it with some valid points (granted, you did mention you didn’t like the plot, and your reply does suggest that you didn’t like the dialogue either).

          As for the aliens, I really don’t see why some people keep assuming they were supposed to be so strong – just because you’re dealing with aliens, does not mean they can’t be harmed my bullets and arrows, or killed. Their play was to invade earth with mass numbers, not mass strength.
          IMO, it’s not that things were overlooked in the movie (they all have valid explanations given enough thought), it’s mainly the viewer who chose to overlook the explanations…

          • Not to rain on your parade but the avengers did get a 93% on rotten tomato bu the average score is a 8/10 therefore its a really good movie according to them but not great. (Of course this is just critics numbers)

            • That being said, the avengers was never made to win an oscar. It was made for the fans by a fan. And it shows knowlage of the material is far more important than having a big budget to back it up. (The avengers had both)

              • In my book, 4 out of 5 is pretty damn great ;) (plus, the 4 out of 5 is only an average score as you said – most of the reviews I’ve read gave the movie 4.5 out of 5 or 9 out of 10.)

                Still, my point stand: The Avengers isn’t a bad movie at all… very far from it IMO.

              • @ trey

                Yeah and TDK got two awards, Burton’s 89 Batman film one award which people say his films are more like to the tone of The Avengers. Id like to say The Avengers are worthy of 2 awards, maybe 3. They knew what the fans wanted obviously while fans would be split over things within the Batman films whether Burton’s or Nolan’s for that matter.

        • I was wondering how long it would take before people start bashing The Avengers just because it’s such a big hit?
          I guess I have my answer.

    • Sorry, Truth, but you get no play in this ride.

    • FALSE

  3. No, THANK YOU JOSS!! For giving us the movie of the century!! >:D

  4. Good for him! He’s a great director and I like everything he’s done. Glad he’s getting the kudos he’s deserved for a long time.

  5. Hopefully his dream project is Serenity 2 or an adaptation of his Astonishing X-men

    • Just what I was thinking too. Wont get X-men though, too many hurdles with Fox to allow that. So here is to hoping Serenity gets at least one more ride.

  6. Thank you, Joss Whedon. Thank you for making the best comic book movie to date. Thank you for being a fan. Thank you for the letter. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    PS Please do Avengers 2!

  7. Now who exactly is this Whedon fellow again? Did he do something special? o.O
    Seriously great letter and glad he has such a great sense of humor about it. My only hope is that he remains true to his words and doesn’t get a swelled head like some other directors I’ve seen.

  8. First off, I loved the movie. Second off..I have a serious minor problem with a scene that has just been stuck in my head and I need to rant about. How does a helicopter/fighterjet hover next to the most bad ass battlespacestation i have ever seen and manage to shoot an arrow at it? I mean..they have this super state of the art control room that could eat up the enterprises..but yet no one in that room was able to notice a fighter jet was simply flying right next to them for a good 5 minutes? Just bothered me…but hey what can you do. every movie is gonna have some minor things that bug you. still great movie. great job joss…i hope he signs on for the sequel.

      If you’re talking about the jet that Hawkeye and Loki’s minions arrived in, I’m pretty sure the bridge did “receive them” – someone on the bridge asked what their business was and Hawkeye said they had a weapons-shipment and needed to board. They were in a Quinjet as I recall and I’m sure Barton had the access codes to allow him onto/near the Hellicarier…

      (Next time, ask those types of questions on the Spoiler Discussion page – there are still a few folks who haven’t seen the movie)

      • Yeah, that scene reminded me of “Return Of The Jedi”. It brought a little smile to my face.

      • This.

        The whole point of using Loki using Barton for the mission was that he could gain access.

  9. First of all I’d like to quote the last few parts of Whedon’s letter:

    “Our successes, whoever has the mostest, are a boon to each other. We’re in the business of proving that superhero movies aren’t just eye-candy (they’re eye-TRUFFLES!). People seem intent on setting us against each other, and though I’m proud to be Woody Strode to Nolan’s Kirk Douglas, I think they’re missing the point. Whatever TDKR does on its first weekend, the only stat that matters to me is the ticket I’M definitely buying. Nolan and Raimi INVENTED the true superhero flick, yo.”

    Now stop this Marvel vs. DC crap plz it’s giving comicbook fans a bad name. I could understand if you prefer Marvel over DC or vice versa. I prefer DC but I enjoy Marvel movies and some of their comics too. You gain absolutely nothing by arguing like this but you lose self respect from other ppl. Alright now that that’s outta the way Im glad Whedon made this movie, it basically rewrote the rules of what a summer blockbuster is Micheal Bay take notes :)

  10. Don’t tease us Kofi.
    Tell us the story…

  11. Joss Whedon – the ultimate comic book fanboy who directed a great comicbookmovie.

  12. Is just like to say and I know I’ve said it before but thank you Joss Whedon, thank you for a truley epic and unforgettable thrill ride that is the avengers(which had the biggest movie opening of all time). Let me just say that I hope that you return and work that magic once again for the avengers 2. So take your time on working on the events that will transpire in the sequel. I assure you every marvel fan will return on opening day for the midnight release of the avengers 2 and once again make cinema history. We patiently waited, we knew it was coming and the wait was more than worth it.

    An AVENGERS fan past, present and most definately future. :D

    • P.S. One last thing Mr. Whedon the 4th will be with you always!!!! =-)

  13. Ive seen The Avengers twice so far. TIll this day,i have to say it’s the best CBM ive seen & i enjoyed it from beginning all the way till the end. That’s rare thing. The only work ive seen of Whedon’s was Buffy so i wasn’t sure about him directing other than i what i read from others about him being a comic geek. So i gave the guy the benefit of a doubt & hoped for the best & in the words of Justin Hammer_ WOW!. I also never seen any of Mark Ruffalo’s work & gave him the benefit of a doubt of replacing Norton as Bruce Banner & again i was impressed. I hope he will reprise his role if they make a sequel to The Incredible Hulk. Im lost for words on how much i enjoyed The Avengers. I almost didn’t want it to end but felt like anymore would be overload,lol. I felt every character did have a good amount of time in the film. Thought it was well paced, especially if i was finding myself in their place in third act in the final battle. Not mention the very after-credits scene, lol that’s exactly how i would feel after all that. Maybe even asleep at the table. I can’t wait for sequels to the solo films & hope The Avengers 2 will not be rushed. I can wait till 2015 or longer for Avengers 2 if they’re willing to make it as great as the first film or better. After seeing this, i just have to say this to WB/DC: I hope You’re Taking Notes!

    • Oh Im sure after seeing those B.O. numbers our long awaited JL movie just got one step closer to reality :)

  14. As a HUGE BATMAN FAN, (that includes every single Batman incarnation, except clooney/schumacher) I gotta say….


    It was just smart, funny, and everything a comic movie shud be. Props go to Chris Evans for making me like captain america even more, and for Ruffalo breathing new life into the Hulk, all around, it truly was Marvels finest hour.

  15. I must say, with all the hoopla the Avengers has caused within the past week, I’m a bit conflicted. While this is completely irrational, it does bother me slightly knowing that The Dark Knight Rises might not top The Avenger’s opening weekend. I don’t mind admitting that because I’m a hardcore Batman fan. I have been all my life and it does bother me not seeing him come out on top.

    But with that said, I loved The Avengers. It was fun, action-packed, epic, etc. I’m especially happy with it’s success for the sake of Joss Whedon. I’ve always been a fan of his. And I know The Dark Knight Rises will be one of (if not the best superhero) movie I’ll ever see. Can’t we really put behind all this fanboy bickering and just be happy that we live in a time when an Avengers movie can be well made, as well as a Batman movie that could again transcend the genre without calling one brainless and the other pretentious? Both the brainless (Avengers) and pretentious (Batman) arguments are way overplayed. Just because the plot of a movie may not be the strongest does not make the movie brainless. Being able to juggle all the characters of The Avengers and make an entertaining movie requires smarts. And because the Batman movies are serious does not mean they’re pretentious – it means they are true representations of the best Batman comics.

  16. I hope his dream project is the second season of Firefly.

  17. Michael Bay might copy Joss Whedon’s style for the next Transformers sequel.

  18. Now if we could just get someone to produce an anime movie adaptation like Nolan and Whedon are doing with comics I could die a happy man….

    • A great Cowboy Bebop or Ghost in the Shell would be fantastic.

      • Trigun… and blood + to show those twilight fanatics how real vampires attack

    • @ TheSock

      Id like to see Bruce Timm & Co. make the jump to makin live-action DC films & get things rollin for a unified DC universe.

      • I gotta jump in here and second that! Timm and Co. sure know a thing or two about storytelling, from Batman TAS to Justice League Unlimited and now the one-off movies like the excellent Batman Under the Red Hood and Year One. No telling what they’d do with a live action property, but I would only trust them with scripts and story dynamics; storyboarding and the like. Hire a seasoned director to take point. . . .

  19. Seriously, TDKR will have massive competition at the box office seeing as Amazing Spiderman, Expendables 2 are sure contenders, Also, Bourne Legacy might take some audience off TDKR.

  20. If Whedon won’t get to direct Avengers 2, I hope he helms the next green lantern film, and cast Nathan Fillion as he deserves to be Hal. He would do justice to the vast characters in the Green lantern universe, Green Lantern could be another Iron Man had it been helmed by a director that really knows comic and has great ensemble directing, seeing as the Green Lantern Corp, The Guardians, Manhunters, Sinestro’s army and others ARE NOT emphasized in last year’s flick.
    For me Whedon’s ensemble directing is on par with Nolan, seeing as he helmed ensemble TV shows with critical acclaim.

  21. Joss has always been exceptional in everything he does the epicness that was the Avengers just allowed more of, lets call them the nongeeks to see. not every guy who just made a killing in a single weekend would take the time to personally write a letter to the the people that have supported him through the years and it speaks volumes to his character. Can’t wait to see whats next for him (most excited to see Nathan Fillion attempt Shakespeare, hilarity will ensue). with all his winnings from avengers maybe he can finally bring back Firefly, theirs always hope LOL.

  22. Open Letter to Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige

    If Manipulative Marketing Keeps Making Money… Why Stop Making Bad Movies?

    I recently sat through over two hours of cheesy one-liners, and I’m left wondering whether the 92% favorable rating given to The Avengers by critics on Rotten Tomatoes means they’re all on the studio’s payroll or just didn’t think critically enough. I’m also beyond confused as to why Marvel didn’t hire Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnson or Louis Leterrier – or indeed any director with the genuine talent to tell a story. Joss Whedon has no credibility for this project, and was clearly out of his depth. What a waste – of the studio’s money, and of mine as a frequent moviegoer and shareholder. To mention nothing of the minds of Americans, which this movie will help to further dumb down into thinking that hype and CGI make a “good story” despite grossing $200M+ opening weekend. But unlike other consumer products, smarter moviegoers can’t “return” their viewing of this movie for a refund.

    Let’s begin with the script, which is appallingly low-minded. Even a fast-paced comic-book-hero action movie can and should contain thoughtful, character-revealing dialogue (dialogue meaning more than two sentences per utterance, at least now and then!). It becomes quickly impossible to care at all about any of these once-special characters, each of whom is reduced to sheer flatness.

    Nor is there any discernable armature (moral) – just a vague sense that the movie is flogging to death the platitude of how awesome America is because it’s full of rag-tag teams of really special, gifted people who are destined to save the world from some nebulous evil. The entire plot is, in fact, disconnected and rambling. On the one hand, the movie makes the sweeping assumption that every moviegoer will already know the backstory of the characters (It opens with Loki arriving and being introduced as Loki. End of introduction.) Why not set up each character (as well as the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D) in a way that ties all the prior movies together into this one? But regardless of the lack of backstory and context-setting, the plot is full of outrageously intelligence-insulting turns that are devoid of both logic and human (or superhero) authenticity. Loki plans to use the Hulk against the group – because in a convenient up-ending of logical continuity, the Hulk’s first rage in this movie will be unleashed on anyone and anything around him and be unable to distinguish his friends and enemies. The Black Widow announces that apparently, a blow to the head is sufficient to clear Loki’s magical mind-controlling energy zaps. Loki opens a hole in the sky and randomly brings in Transformers-esque aliens to help him in his feebly articulated quest to “free Earth from freedom”.

    Kudos to critics like A. O. Scott for telling the truth about this movie and Whedon’s failed vision for The Avengers. Just because people spend their money on something hotly anticipated doesn’t mean it’s good. This movie is a crass manipulation of people to cough up money to cover the studio’s ill-spent investment, and you can keep doing this because moviegoers are not entitled to demand a refund for the waste of two hours of their life. Nor, can they take you to court over product misrepresentation through trailers that set a tone of quality that the feature film doesn’t even begin to reach. Clearly, it’s time for that kind of consumer protection in the movie industry, because failing that it seems unlikely that studios will actually take responsibility for the egregious waste of resources that goes into churning out mediocre movies like The Avengers, let alone the outright duplicity of packaging it as something worthwhile and meaningful.

    • Open letter to guy that obviously knows little to nothing about actual filmmaking, didn’t actually pay attention to the film, desperately (pathetically) trying to go against the status quo, and clearly knows nothing of the source material:

      You probably think Tree Of Life was actually a GOOD movie, huh?

    • Yeah, what a waste of the studios money.
      They really must be kicking themselves over spending $220,000,00 on the film and $100,000,000 on marketing.
      Wait, what? The film has made over $700,000,000 worldwide.
      What a waste.

      • $320 million for over $1 billion; Marvel/Disney must be crying with shame. :-D

    • … well, that’s your opinion ;)

    • Movietarget = sad, pitiful human being

      Sorry you didnt have as much fun at the Avengers as the rest of us. I have been twice. Nothing you said in your rant is even close to the truth. Your opinion? I dont think so. For some reason people like you just get off on pissing in everyone elses cornflakes. Get a life, lol.

  23. Its not only far from bad. Its so far from bad that the word shouldn’t even be used in the same sentance with anything relating to it lol


    But only if it’s dark, gritty and not an origin story.

    • LOL!!!

  25. Joss Weadon did A great job on the Avengers but he couldn’t do the same for Wonder Woman. I suppose he likes Marvel better than DC.

  26. Joss Whedon tried handing DC more than one Wonder Woman script treatment to WB. Obviously they weren’t enough so Whedon pretty much thought the hell with WB/DC then after that im guessing. DC’s loss, Marvel’s gain. I mean, what has DC got goin Besides Batman/Superman films? Nothin really. They had Supergirl,Steel, The Losers, Green Lantern, Jonex Hex. No wonder why they been milking Batman/Superman as best they can.