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. Iron Man!!!

    But mainly so they can cast a younger version when he gets “wished” back to life with the Infinity Gauntlet.

    • Hmmm Downey Jr. did sign on for avengers 2 & 3

  2. Its amazing that a studio would start off building a super successful cross-character cross-movie universe and then consider it a good idea to kill someone off.
    Do they believe it adds to the stakes and that peril and death is not real or visceral enough without it? Look at IM in Avengers. That was a life or death decision to take a nuke into space. Look at Thor put his mortal life on the line with the Destroyer.

    This type of action is good enough. We enjoyed it and knew there was great risk involved. You don’t need to kill someone off.

    • Oh please, there were never any dangerous moments in any Marvel film. Thor fighting the destroyer? Lol lame and corny fight. Same with Iron Man taking out the nuke, so predictable. Everyone knew he was going to live, if you thought otherwise, you are no expert in watching films. But this pleases me that they’re going to kill off an Avenger in part 2, hopefully. Or they may change their minds. Kill of Captain America, the most useless, worthless, pathetic superhero ever to be put on the big screen. Captain America solo film was a snooooooozefest.

      • Captain America was actually the second best Phase 1 film imho. If counting Avengers then Cap was the 3rd best.

        • I count The Avengers as a Phase 1 movie and my order of best to worst is:

          Iron Man
          The Incredible Hulk
          Captain America
          Iron Man 2
          The Avengers

          It could be Tony since RDJ could take some time off and we could maybe see Hawkeye and War Machine set up the West Coast Avengers in a spinoff.

          • Ironman two was easily higher on that list than you just gave it credit for. I really don’t know why people hated that movie so much.

            • Mick didn’t fit. Awkward villain. Too many plot holes. I like the list for the most part.

          • I’m thinking it’ll be Iron Man…and with him being signed on to Avengers 2 he’ll be some sort of Ghost Iron Man. I could see that working, especially with Thor being able to “Summon the Spirit of the Dead”. Plus the Ghost Iron Man (RDJ) could “tutor” someone to take up the mantle of Iron Man. Hint Hint Black Panter!

            • Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!!


      • Lol I agree 100% with your comment Cap is so lame it’s sad and I want new Avengers the movie was good but was super predictable and it didn’t seem like a challenge for them to overcome

      • Wrong-o, Monkeyer…I actually think Cap should continue to be developed as everything a hero should be. Room for development, yes, but no to a zap for Cap!

    • it isn’t suspenseful at all when you know no one is going to die. Kill off a character every now and then to keep people guessing.

  3. In the end, whether you talk about comics, cartoons, animated films or movies. It always comes to the same characters; Hulk, Cap, Thor, IM, Pym. They are the ones who carry the weight in the Avengers. Then you have the rest of the characters such as Panther, Scarlett Witch, Vision, Wasp, etc…

    Why would anyone (Wheedon) want to mess with that?

  4. I hope Hawkeye doesn’t die. :(

    I would guess Nick Fury for sure though.

    • +1 I love Hawkeye, and want to see more!

  5. Is there no Open Discussion today, or is there something wrong with my browser? ;)

  6. Personally I do not see why you have to kill off anyone. You do not have to put to much thought into why a character may not be around for a future installment. The comics do it all the time. Death doesn’t have to be the only answer for why a hero isn’t in the movie. All of us are more creative than that I think.

    But this is a Joss Whedon film so I vote for the Death of the guy in the red suit. You know…the new guy in the film we just met.

  7. Who cares the 1st avengers was lame and over hyped

    • You do. You don’t read and comment on articles you don’t care about.

  8. They should kill off Tony since those movies are done and Downey doesn’t want to come back for more films after Avengers 2. Bring in Scott Pym as the resident genius for Avengers 3 or something.

    • Do you maybe mean HANK Pym?

    • Keep Tony Stark alive a long long time, and as Iron Man. Why would you kill off your biggest cash draw and arguably the best of the Avengers?

    • Robert Downey has signed up for Avengers #3 as well.

  9. Killing one of the Avengers might actually be shocking if Whedon hadn’t already brought back the one character he killed in the first Avengers movie.

  10. I could see them killing of either…

    Hawkeye–Not that popular, will build him more than take him out.

    Captain America–Shocking move, unexpected. One of the faces of Marvel, bravery, and honor getting killed could be a great/shocking move.

    Iron Man–So someone else takes up the mantle.

  11. Iron Man. All the way. RDJ isn’t going to stick around much longer…might as well let him leave in a dignified death.

  12. Black Widow. Will make room for Scarlet Witch and Wasp.

  13. How bout killing off Black Widow. I am thinking the death will happen early in the movie and Black Widow has an important part in CA2:TWS. What if whoever is the “TRUE” baddie (which is who is behind the Winter Soldier to begin with)behind the political thriller captures Black Widow has her captured at the start of A2 and introduces Ultron as their threat to man kind. And yes I am speculating that the villian will be a male but have a criminal syndicate backing him.

  14. Knowing how comic book movies usually dont like women as leads. I will say black widow will die.

  15. Should have put all the Avengers on the poll because i think Iron Man should be killed off. He is only signed on for 2 more films.
    So kill him off now becuase it would cost too much to keep him on. And the next film could be him in like a flashback

  16. Just saying, but Chris Hemsworth is so far the only avenger actor not listed to play anybody in Avengers 2. According to wikipedia anyway, hardly the most trustworthy source.

  17. Don’t know why it has to be an avenger … if you want death kill off Fury … Face it SLJ isnt getting younger and Hill > Fury .

  18. It should be Nick Fury. Now that the team is assembled he can go out. Then, Maria Hill could take over and go on blackmailing people.

  19. i dont want to see anyone being killed off, but if i had to pick, sorry
    black widow but adios. both chris evans and scarlett johanssen are the weak links acting and character developement wise anyway. but cap can’t
    be killed, he needs a better actor to take over when evans is done. if cap done right he is the heart of team when it comes to doing the right
    thing for the team. sadly however we have yet to see the real mature
    cap onscreen.

  20. Hawkeye is totally going to die. He didn’t play a huge role in the first film, he was kind of seem as a dark horse by the fans, is portrayed by a popular actor and is supposed to be getting a larger role in Avengers 2. Also, aside from a cameo in Thor, he hasn’t appeared in any other Marvel film series, so it wouldn’t be the case of a franchise dying with him. Black Widow is meant to get a big role in Captain America 2 and appeared in Iron Man 2, so her death would impact other Marvel properties.

  21. Hawkeye seems logical as the actor behind him has been unhappy with the role and would like to leave anyway

  22. I don’t think anyone has to die. But let’s suppose hypothetically we have to pick someone, well then the ones I can’t live without as written in the movies are (not necessarily in order):
    Captain America, Iron Man, Thor
    The ones I would sacrifice if I absolutely had to are (again not in order):
    Hulk, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Agent Coulson, Maria Hill, War Machine (yes, I realize some are not exactly Avengers per se)
    The ones I want to see stay alive additionally (new characters) are:
    Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch
    The ones I want to see added and stay alive are:
    Goliath (Hank Pym), Wasp

  23. Why all the “there goes Tony Stark, let’s rough him up and kill him!” hate? Everyone wanted an Iron Man movie, you got some, they were not that bad per se (#1 was great), and now all of a sudden you never-satisfied people are trying to wreck a good thing. You are like the ones who screamed you wanted a Green Lantern movie, we got one that was not that bad (yes, I know, a little room for improvement, but….), and then everyone jumped on the hate train and wrecked the chances for a Green Lantern #2 as well as possibly at least delaying or cancelling a Flash movie (that might be changing re: Flash slowly). You people who hate and gripe with your big flapping lips make me so sick I could hork up my lungs and wear them for big flapping earmuffs this winter! Tell ya what, the toe of my boot wants to meet you all behind the barn and give you a heapin’ helpin’ of my hospitrality! That would teach you ungrateful people to appreciate super-hero movies!

  24. I picked “nobody” in the poles. Maybe they could kill off Winter Soldier?

  25. I’m just glad they aren’t killing off Sean Connery’s role as Darkmoon because that is by far the best character in the Avengers. I wish they could combine that with Connery’s Snake Plissken…so bitchin! Snake Darkmoon has a nice ring to it. Maybe in 2015!!!

    • Wrong, “Right”.

  26. He kills of Stark and I will never Watch\Purchase\Rent Marvel ANYTHING ever again. Period. There isn’t a script that could be made that is good enough to justify loosing RDJ’s snark.

    • Damn right.

  27. The Captain needs to go, he belongs with The Invaders (in his own time period). Have Pym create The Vision to slide in and take charge of the Avengers—that’s the way it was always meant to be.

  28. If Connery doesnt make the cut I’ll eat my dog.

  29. Kill off Fury! Time for Hill to be in charge, he’s done his job to get the heroes.

    Also, no no. Hawkeye & Black-Widow & Iron-Man should stay alive. Are you crazy?? Killing them off would be a huge mistake.