Based on the track record of Joss Whedon in the world of television, film and other things that are visual and entertaining, it is likely that any project to which he becomes attached is going to go down in flames. It’s not a quality thing — Whedon’s work has deservedly brought geeks together, pickets in hands and passion on sleeves. It’s more of a luck thing. Whedon — in a way that is only rivaled by the streak of Arrested Development‘s Mitch Hurwitz — seems doomed to have everything he does canceled before it reaches its prime.
Examples of this are too easy to name — Firefly and Dollhouse are the most beloved properties to get the axe before reaching the pinnacle of their runs. And just as he managed to churn through the wake of Firefly to get enough momentum to make Serenity (a very underrated flick), he appears to have moved from the untimely failure of Dollhouse and the success of his web-only venture Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog to get to the top of Marvel Studios’ list to direct The Avengers, due out in 2012. This according to a report from Deadline today, which states that Whedon is in final negotiations to direct. This confirms previous rumors that he was high on the studio’s list.
The Avengers will be one of the most ambitious comic book adaptations in history, pulling together characters from various franchises — including the well-established Iron Man series and the upcoming Captain America and Thor movies — and doing it with the intent of being continuous. It’s a plan that Marvel has been working on since their studio’s inception, and it will culminate with the geek nirvana of seeing Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark share the screen with other major characters from the Marvel universe.
Concurrently, Whedon is an ambitious choice to direct. With the help of producers Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau, Whedon is certainly a director who understands how to get the most out of beloved characters. Take the transition from Firefly to Serenity, which was relatively seamless. He’s certainly a capable storyteller and with the aesthetic already established by Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, he’s in the driver seat of an already-tuned vehicle. The variables that exists — at least at this point — are completely outside of his control. How will Captain America and Thor turn out? How will they be received? And most importantly — if they don’t go over well, will The Avengers even be a movie that we’ll want to see by 2012? And if that’s the case, will Joss Whedon once again be cut short before he’s able to do something genuinely special?
Time will tell. For now, it is good to know that Marvel hasn’t lost it’s edge. Captain America had us worried for a while.
What do you think of Joss Whedon directing The Avengers, now that it seems like a very real possibility?