Joss Whedon Reveals His Reasons for Leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Monday, 04 January 2016 - 9:55AM
Marvel
Avengers
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Monday, 04 January 2016 - 9:55AM
Joss Whedon Reveals His Reasons for Leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Joss Whedon is done with the Marvel universe, which is either great news or terrible news, depending on how you felt about Age of Ultron and his other work. Now, at a Q&A at the Oxford Union, Whedon confirms that he and Marvel made a "clean break," but didn't necessarily have any sort of break-up:

Opening quote
"…I was their sort of consigliere for a while… We do not discuss our thing… [audience laughter] But, I sort of had my finger in all of the films in the second phase, but then I just had to concentrate only on Ultron, and sort of know when it was done I was just going to stop. So I made a completely clean break – not because we had a falling out – just because I was like, 'I can't…' If I was still there going, 'Well, here are my thoughts on this film,' I'd be there every day. I wouldn't do anything else because there are a lot of films, and it is a lot of fun. It's very seductive. When you can put your little fairy dust on things and just improve them slightly, and they actually listen to you… I was a script doctor for a long time, and the part where they listen to you was very rare; so it was very important for my own self to go 'we can still be friends,' but…"
Closing quote

It doesn't seem like there's any bad blood, just that Whedon couldn't find time to do his own original work while involved with the Marvel machine, which is to be expected. If anything, it sounds like he had a little bit of a lovers' quarrel with the fans, who were extremely harsh about Age of Ultron at times:

Opening quote
"Ultron has been the most complicated response I've gotten, and the way I deal with it is becoming fetal for about eight months [audience laughter]. I fucking have no spine or self-identity or anything, and it's horrifying. It sucks… But I'll be okay… Later…"
Closing quote

In my opinion, Age of Ultron wasn't necessarily a terrible movie, as it had good scenes and good ideas here and there. But the combination of a disappointing villain, too many plotlines and characters to juggle, and an ill-advised romantic subplot made it a very frustrating movie that didn't live up to the potential of the first (and I say that as someone who didn't even like Avengers that much). He doesn't blame Marvel, but it does sound like there was a difference of vision between director and studio:

Opening quote
"When people [were asking], 'What little art movie are you secretly holding in your heart?' when I was making Ultron, I'm like, 'Trust me when I say, when you see this, you'll see, I was trying to make a little art movie.' Which is actually, a pretty shitty thing to do to a studio that gives you a lot of money."
Closing quote

You can see in Age of Ultron that Whedon was trying to make a more ambitious film, especially in that great last scene between Ultron and Vision. But the fans have strict requirements for a movie like this, and when you need to include nearly a dozen superheroes and villains and mandated sequences like the Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene, there isn't too much time to make a cohesive art film. As a huge Whedon fan, I'm glad that he'll have the opportunity to make his original ideas come to fruition (hopefully in the form of another TV show). 

Finally, Whedon discussed his comments about regretting bringing Coulson back to life:

Opening quote
"You know who loved hearing that was Clark Gregg [audience laughter]. He was super thrilled. I do think that there is an element for somebody who consumes all the Marvel product that it might take the punch out, but generally I feel like the SHIELD audience and The Avengers audiences are not actually the same group, necessarily. No, I don't regret bringing back Phil Coulson because he's Clark Gregg, and he's so bad ass."
Closing quote


You can watch the full interview here:

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