Much is owed to Joss Whedon. He gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he gave us Firefly, and with only his second film as director, he gave us The Avengers. Of course, The Avengers would have been a success without Whedon, but how big of a success would it have been? And would the film have been as good if not for Whedon’s wicked sense of characterization and awesome quips? I doubt it. Whedon held a lot of sway on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from The Avengers through other Phase 2 films, the hiring of James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy, the launch of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and finally last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. But now, Whedon says he’s done. Like, DONE done.
While doing a Q&A at the Oxford Union (via ComicBook.com), Whedon talked candidly, as only he can, about his reasons for not wanting to revisit the MCU, and what it means for his career going forward.
“I’ve gone off the reservation for a while. It was five years that I was working on either Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. That was an enormous gift they gave me; they handed me several hundreds of millions of dollars and said ‘do what you do,’ which is very rare and I was very lucky. At the same time, it’s important for me not just to have my own thing and do something smaller, but also to create a new challenge for myself because I will start to repeat myself. No, you know, I was their sort of consigliere for a while…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 that when it was done, I was just going to stop, so I made a completely clean break.”
It was a terribly kept secret that Whedon did not enjoy his experience making Age of Ultron. In fact, he said shortly after the release of Ultron that making that movie “broke” him. It shouldn’t be that surprising, because in many ways the pressure was more intense on making the sequel a greater success than the original, and at $1.5 billion in worldwide box office, many analysts still consider Ultron a disappointment. Those kinds of expectations are buckling, so why not take the clout you’ve got and roll the dice on something new and interesting? Joss has earned it.
For the rest of his Oxford Union interview, you can watch the full video below.