Yesterday brought the exciting, but not at all unexpected news that Joss Whedon will return to write and direct the sequel to this year's superhero success The Avengers. While that's basically the gist of it, there is a little bit more information coming out about his involvement in not just Avengers 2, but also a live-action Marvel TV series for ABC and further contributions to other Marvel movies. I think this is what happens when you make a bunch of cult shows that get canceled before they should, and then karma repays you generously. Or shawarma. One of those things.
Here is the official statement from Marvel Studios:
"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."
It's probably safe to say that the Avengers thing was a given. But now Whedon will be involved with the other Marvel movies? Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, the sequels to Thor and Captain America? Maybe his contributions will only serve to tie everything together, like the post-credits scenes that led up to The Avengers. Or maybe he'll be in charge of a series of "one shot" short films, like Item 47, which will be on the Blu-ray for The Avengers. Whatever he's doing, it's reassuring news that Whedon is officially on board.
Now, about this live-action TV series. It just so happens that there is already a Marvel TV series in the very early stages of development — Guillermo del Toro's Hulk series. It also just so happens that del Toro was hinting at a very big name writer for this show following a meeting with Marvel:
I had one meeting with Marvel after Avengers and we had a very, very good chat. We have a writer that we want to bring on board, a very, very concrete name. I can't reveal it, but we want to wait for that writer. It's a writer who is otherwise engaged. So right now we are in a holding pattern until that writer becomes free. Then we're going to do a new draft of the script.
Well, that's curious, isn't it? It's pure speculation, so don't take it as any species of fact or truth, but it's certainly interesting. It's also probably more likely that Whedon has been marinating his own ideas for a while now (::coughcough::Black Widow series::coughcough::), and now he has all this Marvel clout (and money) to make it happen.
As of right now, all we know for sure is that Joss Whedon is Marvel's right-hand man until June 2015. And I doubt anyone will be complaining about that.