UPDATED: Whedon Negotiating to Direct ‘The Avengers’, and the Internet Seems Skeptical


UPDATED: As Matt points out in the comments below, Variety‘s report says “Whedon will also rework Zak Penn’s script.” That’s a good move if you ask me. Original article follows…

There’s an interesting bit of chatter around the film blogosphere where many of my fellow writers know much more about superheroes than I do, which is to say I’ve never read a comic book in my life and they have read many. Strangely enough, despite what is a large group of people on the Internet that love Joss Whedon, the reports saying he’s in final negotiations to direct Marvel’s The Avengers seems to have raised a few eyebrows.

First off, The Avengers will bring together a large group of the Marvel comics properties that have already been made into films or will be made into films over the coming years, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and potentially The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton). I wrote at length about the possibilities of the film after last year’s Comic Con at which time Marvel executive Kevin Feige believed Hulk would make it in and also told Collider we should expect Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Nick Fury as well as Black Widow, which is being played by Scarlett Johannson in the upcoming Iron Man 2.

As far as I understand, at the moment Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk, X2 and Elektra) is the only name attached to pen the screenplay, and perhaps this is where the divide occurs when it comes to Whedon.

So far, Whedon’s lone feature output as a director is Serenity, and while I enjoyed it, as did many others, it was a box-office bust. He then tried his hand at Wonder Woman at Warner Bros. and that was scrapped. He’s best known for his TV shows, which have recently drawn large niche fanbases before they end up being canceled such as “Firefly” and most recently “Dollhouse.” Had today’s news reporting Whedon as the director in fact been reporting him as the screenwriter I think the masses would be much more excited, especially considering he’s penned comics for Marvel before such as “Astonishing X-Men” and “Runaways,” which was recently announced as getting its own feature adaptation to be directed by Pete Sollett.

Whedon’s feature film screenwriting resume includes a co-writer credit on Toy Story along with about six others, Alien:Resurrection and of course, 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer which he soon turned into the long-running television series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Is he the right name for the job?

Who would’ve though Jon Favreau would have impressed so many with Iron Man (even if Iron Man 2 sort of looks like a messy rehash of the first film)? Did you ever think Marvel would have tapped Kenneth Branagh of all people to direct Thor? The Joe Johnston attachment to The First Avenger: Captain America has drawn some scrutiny as of late, but looking at that trio of names, if you were to ask me if I would have started with one of them or Joss Whedon back before Favreau was announced as the director of Iron Man I would have said Joss for certain. Only time will tell which of these fellas truly ends up with the best product.

The Avengers is already slotted for a May 4, 2012 release.

What are your thoughts on the attachment? Good? Bad? Indifferent?