Age of Ultron: Joss Whedon Discusses Killing Off An Avenger

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Captain America Death Marvel Comics Age of Ultron: Joss Whedon Discusses Killing Off An Avenger

What do Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Serenity and The Avengers all have in common? Outside of adorable casts of characters, it’s the sadness and shock associated with the death of a key character in all of these Joss Whedon projects that fans latch onto the most.

For Whedon’s next big film endeavor, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the idea of “death” has been teased as far back as February, long before the title of The Avengers 2 was revealed. Is it therefore a forgone conclusion that one of Earth’s Mightiest will not live through the next team-up event?

Speaking with EW about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series airing on ABC next month – a show where oddly enough one of Whedon’s victims is resurrected – the writer/director and overseer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe spoke about idea of legitimately killing off a key character from the Marvel library.

“I’m always joking about that. Um…maybe?… But I’d have to have a really good reason, a really great sequence for [Marvel executives] to go, ‘We’ll cut off a potential franchise, that’s fine!’ They know as any good studio does, that without some stakes, some real danger, how involved can we get? We don’t just rule it out across the board, but neither is the mission statement ‘Who can we kill?’ We try to build the story organically and go, ‘How hard can we make it on these people?’ You go to the movies to see people you love suffer-that’s why you go to the movies.”

With at least two new characters joining the team in the brother-sister act of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, possibly played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen respectively, and contracts not getting any longer on actors playing already-introduced characters, Marvel will have to find a creative way to remove and replace characters on the core Avengers roster in the long-term. Whether that happens in Age of Ultron or sometimes further down in Phase Three of the MCU remains to be seen, but from the get-go Whedon has been clear about making his sequel more personal, more gripping and more – wait for it- “dark.”

Hawkeye Cover Marvel Comics Now Age of Ultron: Joss Whedon Discusses Killing Off An Avenger

Lately it’s been repeatedly mentioned by Whedon and Marvel Studios President of Production Keven Feige (the man behind the curtains of the entire franchise) that Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) would get plenty of screen time in the sequel after practically being written out of The Avengers by becoming a brainless minion of Loki. With the actor’s schedule, Hollywood demand and minimal potential for spinoff, the ace archer is at the top of our list for potential to-be-KIA heroes.

There’s also potential for one of the new characters to not make it past their introduction and we suspect Scarlet Witch could very much be in danger as well, given that her character’s death is the primary plot motivator of the third volume of The Ultimates in Marvel Comics (which also happens to feature Ultron), a series of books the film universe draws much inspiration from. There’s also the fact that she will potentially be the first Avenger we meet whose powers are based on magic and that’s a can of worms Whedon may not want to keep left open for Avengers followups if she’s too powerful.

We can’t talk about character deaths without mentioning Captain America. At the end of the Marvel Civil War comic book event in the comics, Steve Rogers was assassinated, leading to his old pal Bucky (The Winter Soldier) picking up his shield and taking over the role of Captain America (until Rogers eventually returned from the dead, of course). While we don’t know if a Civil War story is possible in the film universe due to the rights of many key characters having been spread among other studios, the idea of Steve Rogers dying is one Marvel might be crazy to ignore, especially with Chris Evans negotiating his initial offer down from nine features to just six, and the fact that The Winter Soldier is going to be introduced in the Captain America sequel next spring (played by Sebastian Stan who also has a six-picture deal).

After bringing back Agent Coulson, would the next “death” need to be for good or does such a concept not exist in Marvel comic book films, much like it doesn’t in Marvel Comics?

 [poll id="667"]

Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: EW (via

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  1. the only one that makes sense to be killed off is tony… but he is the biggest draw for the avengers and marvel movies. i think they will wait and see how thor and captain america does before committing to a character death because all the avengers are needed (the super powered ones). in the end its all about the money and if thor and cap dont make 800m marvel might not like that.

    i just dont see them killing captain america though. a character named after a country that is part of one of the most popular movie franchises.

    • I thought the same about Tony Stark too, reason why I picked nobody. I can’t see Thor or the siblings dying. Maybe Captain America but I wouldn’t really be a fan of that decision.

      • With the reintroduction to Bucky, killing off Steve Rodgers might work if Bucky is popular enough after ‘The Winter Soldier’, Samuel L. Jackson is also a possibility, if RDJ isnt gonna be doing more Iron Man movies they might have him as Director of SHIELD in Avengers 3, which im totally up for :D

        • I think the one to go is Nick Fury which could solidify “The Avengers” as a Team independently of S.H.I.E.L.D.

          I think its too soon for Hawkeye, Black Widow, Cap or either of the newbies to be knocked off. SLJ as Fury has had a long enough run. Avengers 3 should be the bloodbath that completely re-organizes the Team lineup.

    • RDJ signed for The Avengers 3.

      • *cough*SCARLETT WITCH*cough*

        • You like her, too, huh? Yeah, she takes my breath away looking at her in the comics, anyways (hee-hee!).

    • Kill off Hawkeye. Give him a ton of screen time in Avengers 2, make him sacrifice himself for the greater good and then move on.

      Works for me.

    • If they killed Iron Man, the Avengers franchise will implode. They are nothing without him. The movies would suck that much more. They suck already, but it will just be so much worse.

  2. The most dramatic death would be Iron Man’s….

    • I think it’ll be the most obvious.

      • Since RDJ signed on for Avengers 3, I’d say no, it isn’t the most obvious.

        • Ummm, read all the comments. Everyone wants to see Iron Man to be killed off. Seeing that everyone wants it, it’ll the most obvious now.

          During the movie, those people would be saying in the back of their head’s, “Iron Man dies here?” “This is the part where he dies?” over and over again. Then when it happens, what they suspected will be fulfilled. Thus making his death obvious.

          You gotta kill off someone that no one will see coming.

          • I say Nick Fury dying would be out of the bloom. Don’t know if that would work well for future installments, but I guess that’s the point, deaths are there to make it harder.

            • I was thinking Nick Fury. Captain America can replace him.

          • And by “everyone” do you mean the few comments on this thread? Or do you mean the millions of people who keep going to see these movies because of Iron Man?

            There’s a difference between the word “obvious”, and a group of people with a collective desire for something unrealistic to happen.

          • @ Guardian Outlaw

            Right, because the comments section dictates the reality of the movie.

            • This isn’t the only online movie news site. They’re hundreds of others. In each, you’ll find that fraction talking about killing off Iron Man. Then you got people who read comments and don’t post. Then you got the news spreading word of mouth. This is new info now but by 2015, the thought will vastly multiple.

              • You’re still missing the major point. RDJ signed on for Avengers 3…AVENGERS 3! If he was to be killed off in 2, he wouldn’t have signed for 3. Iron Man is the face of the MCU, and we all know that. Forums don’t dictate what happens in a movie. Movie makers avoid forums anyways. All of them do to avoid reading what fans come up with, and inadvertently copying their ideas. That’s what social networks are for, (twitter, fb, etc.). There is no chance of RDJ taking a dive in Age of Ultron. If its anyone, it’ll be one of the outer characters who aren’t necessary for the plot development of the future movies, i.e. no one from the central cast. So my vote is either Hawkeye or Black widow, considering that in upcoming movies, both of them have very important roles to play according to the producers of Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron.

                • What you’re saying has nothing to do what I’m talking about. I’m saying “if” they were to kill Iron Man, it wouldn’t be a surprise “if” they were.

                  However the case is, he won’t die.

          • Yes it will be Iron Man. but when A3 comes it will turn out he’s only in a coma and wakes up to save the day like in “The Seige”.

            • Iron man can be killed off in avengers 2 n still be in three in flashbacks n dreams.. Just cuz he signed doesn’tmean it will be a major role

          • How about killing off all the people who want to kill off Tony Stark? I got the “Flying Fists Of Fury” all loaded up and ready to go to protect Stark! I got your back, Iron Man!!

            • LOL. Exactly. Nobody wants Stark killed (except a few)

  3. Why can’t I vote to kill of Iron Man? No matter how unrealistic, it should still be an option inthe poll… It’s about gauging the readers isn’t it?

    • Right on.

      You beat me to the punch.

      According to Mr Keyes, Tony Stark/Iron Man isn’t even an option.

      Why is that? There is NOTHING in this post – that is siphoned off of remarks from Joss Whedon himself – that protects Iron Man from potentially being killed off.

      One wonders where Mr Keyes thought process was during the writing of this piece.

      • Maybe his “thought process” was aimed at the fact that Marvel and RDJ went through a lengthy negotiations period and reached a (unassumingly costly) deal to have him appear in Avengers 2 and 3. Not to mention the fact that he is the face of the franchise and brings in most of the money.

        IMO those that think he’d get killed off are the ones with no “thought process” ;)

        • *assumingly

        • The whole IDEA of this post is the potentiality of ONE of the Avengers being killed off.

          It’s a speculative piece. SPECULATION. That’s the whole point.

          The fact that RDJ and Marvel have a multi picture agreement should not preclude his character from dying.

          It’s ALSO a fact that Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth have multi picture deals, too! And you KNOW that, Avenger.

          Yet there characters are up for debate as to whether that “might” die or not.

          Not only that, but deals and agreements in the film business change when the parties agree that it may result in the best outcome.

          But back to the point. RDJ has a multi picture deal for future projects, but so do Hemsworth and Evans.

          None of these matters should figure into a speculative post.

          Mr Keyes either “forgot” to list Iron Man as a potential character that CAN POSSIBLY be killed off (as a -hero-) OR he selectively decided not to list him as a candidate.

          Which was it?

          Aslo, note how many in this thread are indeed thinking that Iron Man could be killed off.

          • Putting aside you getting all bent out if shape over IM’s omission, IM should be added because of the way the question is phrased. Once again, SR needs an edit button.

            • Good point. They could also just rephrase the question though…

            • Not bent out of shape. Merely making a point.

              • Ha, you seem angry.

          • “But back to the point. RDJ has a multi picture deal for future projects, but so do Hemsworth and Evans.”
            Ah, but Hemsworth and Evans’ contracts differ from that of RDJ’s most recent signing in that Marvel probably had to jump through a lot of hoops and fork up an insane amount of money to get RDJ to sign. Why would they throw that money away?
            Hemsworth and Evens get paid considerably less and I don’t think I’m wrong in assuming they get paid a set amount of money ($500 000 per picture or something).

            “Aslo, note how many in this thread are indeed thinking that Iron Man could be killed off.”
            Sorry, I don’t notice that. I do, however, notice how many are thinking that Iron Man SHOULD get killed off – like I said, there’s a difference between something that could happen, and a bunch of people who think it should happen/wants it to happen.

            • As an example, Derrick Luke, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, etc. all signed multi picture deals, but I doubt Marvel will make full use of their contracts.
              They could appear in future movies, yeah, but the chances of Derrick Luke popping up in 4 or 5 more Marvel movies is pretty slim.

            • “Who should die in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’?”

              That’s the Question.

              • Then they might as well have added Aquaman to the list because it’s about just as likely that Aquaman would die in Avengers 2, as it would be that Iron Man dies.

                Rob listed the most probably characters. Should he have made a poll with EVERY SINGLE character from the movie? (I can’t speak for him, but if it were me, I’d assume people would have the initiative to involve some logic in their decision)

                • Avenger, the way that the question is phrased, IM should be added. Including Aquaman makes no sense at all since he’s not going to be on the movie. Obviously, IM WON’T die in av2. But, the question is which character SHOULD not is most likely to die. End of story.

          • Why speculate on something that we know for fact isn’t true? And don’t say the facts aren’t there, because they clearly are. Adding Iron Man to the list and speculating on if he will die in Avengers 2 is pointless because Marvel forked over a ton of cash to keep their poster boy of the franchise. Adding him to the poll is redundant in and of itself.

            • Rob should have phrased the question differently. Alas, IM wouldn’t be my choice anyway.

        • Hm yeah kinda forgot RDJ specifically is contracted for IM3…

          I don’t think killing off anyone lesser known then the big four will have the impact necessary to actually gain story-wise from said death. Yes fans of the specific character would be really distraught, but most moviegoers would probably only truly be shocked by a death if it’s Cap, Thor or IM. (I think even the Hulk would make less of an impact, partly because Banner in his Hulk form seems near-unkillable and it’s hard to make that character feel humane and thus relatable.)

          Knowing Whedon, he’ll want to only use a death when it actually hits hard, when it hits either a lead or a fan favourite. For this reason I don’t see BW or Hawkeye dying (unless it’s both of them or one of them and another character).

          This is just my expectation.

        • What? Don’t let facts get in the way! ;)

      • RDJ signed up for Avengers 2 AND 3. So, it’s highly unlikely that Iron Man would be killed in Avengers 2.

      • The thought process is that RDJ makes million dollar movies BILLION dollar movies!
        RDJ is contracted to come back for A2 and A3 so Im with Rob on this one, If Iron Man is to be killed off it will not happen until A3!
        Marvel wants these to both be BILLION dollar movies and with RDJ in them there is a better chance they break a billion dollars.

        • Obv, IM isn’t going to be killed in av2. But, the question is about who SHOULD be killed. It seems that some people on here think that IM should be killed in av2. So, since IM is going to be in AV 2, he should be on the list.

          • It really isn’t that hard, right?

            I appreciate your logic and common sense.

            • No, it isn’t hard at all for me. It seems to be hard for some other people posting on this thread.

              Thanks, Kryptonic.

      • I’d like to beat everyone with a punch who want to vote for killing off Iron Man. He is about my favorite, and the Avengers need his power and distinct personality!

        • Damn right!

  4. Unless Whedon can promise a box office take of over 3 billion, there’s no way Marvel will let him kill of Iron Man. At least not for a few Avengers movies. If the franchise makes it to the fourth or fifth movie I can imagine them killing off Cap or Iron Man, since their superhero identities are replaceable (someone else takes on the suit/persona). So killing them off when RDJ and Chris Evans decide to leave would make sense. It’d be harder to kill off Thor because you can’t replace Thor – but then it’s not like Hemsworth will stick around forever.

    For my money, between the smaller, less spin off-able characters, Hulk would be one option. He’s got a higher profile than Hawkeye/Black Widow so his death would have more of an impact – yet he’s proven harder to sustain in his own franchise, so Marvel wouldn’t lose much if they killed him off. Plus, the Hulk is also somewhat replaceable – just give someone else the gamma treatment.

    • It can’t be Hulk though. I just recently re-watched The Avengers and there was one line from Banner that stuck (I’m paraphrasing here): “I already tried that [i.e. killing himself]. I ate a bullet and the other guy just spit it out.”

      So apart from some cheap cop-out like a lunar eclipse (cheesiest and most trivially cliched worst-case scenario ever, of course) taking away his ability to hulk out and thereby making him vulnerable to ordinary weapons, I don’t see it.

      Or is there any other way of killing him off you/anyone on here could come up with?

      • Blow him up into a billion little pieces.

        • Because the Gamma Bomb explosion wouldnt have done that…..

          • Then how about 1 billion gamma bombs, smart guy?

            • If you want to take the rest of the planet with him, then sure. I am no Hulk fan at all. I think the character has very little depth and is quite boring, but the guy is basically immortal. He can’t simply be “killed off” by bombs, blades, bullets. Only way to have him die is to reverse his gamma radiation “infection” and then kill Banner.

      • Try the bullet with a little Accent Tenderizer….

      • Magic? If Scarlet Witch’s powers really will be magic-based then that’s one possibility. Otherwise, who knows what Ultron will be capable of – Hulk’s really tough to kill, but it’s not impossible. And the fact that he’s a tough one will make his death all the more impactful.

        But there’s one thing I’m not sure of – is Ruffalo signed for many more films? They’d be less likely to kill him off if they’ve signed him for, say, 4 more films.

  5. As crazy as it would be to kill off Captain America. Iron Man seems like the possible choice.

    However if they kill off Captain America, we won’t need to have a Captain America 3 movie. That’ll open up a slot for something else for Phase 3.

  6. 2021

    Marvel vs DC part 1


    Marvel vs DC part 2

    This is my hope.

  7. Downy’s Iron Man is a box office draw for Avengers
    and signed to do two more of the films and it
    would not be smart business to kill him.

    • exactly… with the key word being BUISNESS!

  8. I can’t see Captain America dying just yet. But I’m betting Tony Stark gets killed off in Avengers 3. Thanos comes down to earth, Iron Man is the last Avenger standing and goes toe to toe with Thanos and gets killed. Then that forces the remaining Avengers to rise up and defeat Thanos. Or something along the lines of that.

  9. I desperately hope they don’t kill off Cap. He’s by far my favorite character. And Bucky as Cap isn’t the real Cap. If they want to kill him in Avengers 3 when his contract is up, fine – but not now.

  10. Cap’s death could be played out to have a lot of impact – as it did in the Civil War arc – which also opens up the possibility of Bucky/Winter Soldier becoming the edgier Cap.
    I don’t see that happening till Cap 3/Avengers 3 though.

    If anyone dies in A:AOU, it’ll probably be someone from SHIELD (Fury, Hawkeye, Widow, etc.)

  11. Although, Thor could die in Avengers 2. It’s happened so many times in the comics. he gets killed by Ultron or Scarlet Witch or something, and then gets resurrected in THOR 3 (a story which could and should revolve around Surtur)

  12. Cap won’t get killed off.

    he had/has a NINE picture deal? christ..

    • Just six now, so by the time Avengers 2 comes out, only two more.

      • Huh? IM 1-3, A1, A2, isn’t that only 1 left? Which is probably A3? Or am I being stupid here?

        • Oh s***, I was, got confused here, uh sorry bout that.

          • Silly Silrian…count your toes….

      • Say Rob, I have the sense Chris has a feeling of resignation
        about signing on for six and if he had his druthers he would
        like to move on now but of course he is locked in and can’t.

        Not that he won’t give the the role his all or that he regrets
        signing on since it helped his career but that all things
        considered he wishes he was done playing the part.

  13. It really doesn’t sound like Whedon has anything written down right now to kill anyone off. Maybe Hawkeye, as the article suggested, but I doubt they’re gonna go so far as to kill off a character. If there were a movie to do it in though, this would be it.

  14. Of course, there are characters one would like to kill off.
    I’d start with Nick Fury only to get rid of Samuel L. Jackson.

  15. Uh, with Scarlett Witch around you can kill Tony Stark 100 times if you wanted to…

    • or any character… for that matter.

      • True. I think though that after Agent Coulson
        The Avengers is done with resurrections.

  16. They need to kill someone off, probably hawkeye since Renner hated his role in the avengers. I believe someone needs to die in a way that will evoke serious emotion. Colsons die didnt do that due to the laugh of the “so thats what that does joke” hopefully Thor 2 will kill jane in a serious way

    • This.

      Which is probably why Joss said Hawkeye will get a bigger slice of the movie in Avengers 2… all to make us care about him right before he (gasp) DIES!

      Muahahaha… *cough*… sorry.

  17. because we all know that once your killed in the comics you stay dead right………..PHIL COULSON!!!

  18. I appear to have been projected into an alternate dimension where The Ultimates vol. 3 can legitimately be implied to be a book upon which a fully sane filmmaker would base one of his movies. Please tell me where I can find these fine books that were clearly not written by Jeph Loeb, and then help me return to my homeworld.

  19. Black Widow may die, but I think “death” is relative. Ultron could kill everyone, then Scarlett Witch could reverse the whole thing easily, like it never happened.

    And if Stark did die in A:AofU, his image could be used as a jarvis-style program in A3, but rdj wouldn’t go for that, he’d need more screen time.

    • I’m pretty sure SW won’t be able to do that in the film. There’s only one arc in the comics where she was ever able to rewrite reality, House of M, and it turned out later she was using someone else’s powers. Of course House of M was a big seller and has kind of defined the character for a generation, but Whedon grew up in the ’70s when she just had the power to make improbable things happen.

  20. You would not want to turn the Avengers into the “who gets killed off this time” franchise.

    But if you do, Pepper would be the only person that makes sense. It would have both an impact in this movie and possibly the next IM movie on both Tony as well as the team in shock over the personal nature of the death. Plus it would set up IM to have another love interest and a new direction. You would not really want to kill off any heros anyway, as you like in the comics the swapping out of actors/creative teams should be as easy as the comicis/James Bond giving you new storyline diretions/arcs.

    And if the concern is swapping out Avengers that is easy enough to do like in the comics ( Thor is stuck fighting frost giants this month but the Black Panther is in town on an ambassadorial trip ).

    • I thought Iron Man 3 was a good time for Pepper to die.

      • IM3 was a good time for Shane Black to die but I digress :)

        • With ya there (Mandarin debacle).

      • I have quite enough of that annoying Ms Pepper.
        I imagine she is done and we shant be seeing her.

  21. I doubt it’ll be Scarlet Witch, because they have almost no women characters to draw on for the sequels. Same with Black Widow. There just aren’t enough female Avengers that they can go around killing them off.

    Also, the movie can easily set limits on Scarlet Witch’s powers, whatever they are. In the comics, she was never all-powerful except for two terrible (if best-selling) arcs, which have since been explained away as her absorbing a magical power much greater than her own. The movie can just have her cause stuff to break and shatter and malfunction like she did in the comics for years.

    Quicksilver seems like he’d be more expendable, since his sister has been in many more Avengers comics than he. But Nick Fury probably would be the easiest to get rid of.

  22. Assuming that hero will be resurrected somehow… I don’t know if it matters who you kill off.

  23. Why would anyone want an Avenger to die? Why would they have to? I’d rather have Ultron wipe out an entire city with the heroes helpless to save them. That would make more sense.

    Besides, I still think all the actors will be part of Phase 2 and 3. Once those phases are completed, there will come the time to recast almost everyone.

  24. It could be possible with the introduction of magic with Scarlet Witch that they might make it so that someone dies in Avengers 2 but comes back from the dead like in the comics

    • Not sure we need magic for this. LOL

      Tony has had 3 near death experiences so far.
      Pepper has had 2 near death and 1 actual death experience so far.
      Thor had 1 death experience so far.
      Captain America had 1 near/actual death frozen experience so far.
      Bucky is soon to have a resurrection experience.
      Agent Coulson had an actual death experience.
      Hulk apparently had an actual/near death gun shot to the mouth experience so far.

      Off the top of my head :)

      • Darned near killed me when I heard of the Mandarin debacle!

  25. There’s going to be hero die in every Avenger film if Joss Whedons the director.

  26. If JARVIS becomes Ultron, him killing Tony would show just how evil he’s become, since they do have a family (sorta) relationship.

  27. Renner had too big a role in the first film and didn’t entirely justify his existence in Thor.. As a secondary character he’s the best bet for some pathos for the others… Either that or specifically introduce new characters to be killed off. Mind you Colsen didn’t actually die after being “killed off” by Whedon do I don’t actually think he has the guts to kill off any characters in the end… Lets hope Avengers 2 actually is worth seeing after all the endless debating Whedon has been doing about it…

  28. I wish I could have voted for Coulson. I think they should turn him into the Kenny of the Avengers franchise: kill him off in novel fashion every movie and then find some way to bring him back before the next one.

  29. My vote is for Black Widow. That would make sense. She has had a large enough role in the MCU for it to feel like a real loss (especially after The Winter Soldier comes out), but she’s also not exactly a tent-pole for the franchise. And that would work well into the notion of Hawkeye taking on a key role since he would be affected by that loss more than any other. That would give Renner a chance to explore a darker, more vengeful side of his character while adding the depth to Hawkeye that was missing in the first movie.

    • I have to say, I did chuckle when I read this was about Black Widow and you used the phrase “tent pole”. OK, I have the thoughts of a child sometimes, what can I say?

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