While shooting The Avengers, director Joss Whedon came up with an idea for a sequel, one that would involve the villainous robot Ultron. After The Avengers released to record-breaking success, Whedon wasn't entirely sure about whether or not he'd do a followup but when he did sign to return, he took on a much bigger role than fans may have expected. In addition to helming the next team-up event, Whedon is helping oversee all of the Phase Two movies leading up to it and crafting a live-action TV series (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), all of which are building up to The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
By design, Whedon's therefore also laying the groundwork for Phase Three and beyond which begins with new superhero franchise Ant-Man in 2015 - but will he be involved with the lead-up to The Avengers 3?
At the press junket for Thor: The Dark World, our own Kofi Outlaw asked Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige about the future of the franchise when it comes to Joss Whedon's involvement beyond writing and directing The Avengers sequel.
"It’s still being determined. All of his efforts right now are in what he’s doing for us primarily, obviously, writing and prepping Age of Ultron but also in reading the drafts of the films in phase 2, watching early cuts and a) to inform him where the characters are going to end up in the beginning of Age of Ultron and also to get his input and his wisdom into all of these. But right now it’s all about leading up to Age of Ultron."
It's as simple as Whedon not being signed for more. The official announcement by Marvel Studios and parent company Disney last August specifically pointed out that Whedon signed through the "end of June 2015" meaning The Avengers 2 is where his deal ends and that he's not involved with Edgar Wright's Ant-Man which debuts that July (moved up from November), kicking off Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel’s The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.
That doesn't mean he's not involved with Phase Three since a lot of what he's doing in Phase Two must build towards it and open certain doors. He's fully in the know with Feige and the creative team at Marvel Studios in planning, but The Avengers: Age of Ultron is his baby. Beyond that, we'll have to wait and see when it releases in May 2015.
As it currently stands, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Whedon's life until mid-2015 and he may want to use his success to work on other projects. And with the third biggest box office success of all-time under his belt, he'll be able to do anything in Hollywood. Then again, Whedon's DNA is intricate to where the movies are going for the next few years that even if he doesn't write/direct another Avengers, he could still be involved as a producer/consultant/writer for the series in some capacity.
Do you want Whedon to stick around for the long-term or is it a wait and see based on Age of Ultron?
Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 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!
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