Joss Whedon Officially Quits the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Joss Whedon Officially Quits the Marvel Cinematic Universe

joss whedon iron man

"I f*cking have no spine or self-identity or anything, and it's horrifying. It sucks... But I'll be okay... Later..."

Joss Whedon's falling out (or whatever you'd call it) with Marvel has been one of the most publicly documented yet thinly-veiled breakups in recent memory. In the time since Avengers: Age of Ultron was released, Whedon has lamented the loss of Edgar Wright's Ant-Man script and criticized both the decision to turn Daredevil into Netflix series rather than another movie and the general state of Marvel among other grievances.

But Whedon's issues seem to extend far beyond just sour grapes -- he was, after all, the man behind two of Marvel's greatest successes, even if the reaction to Age of Ultron was slightly less than thrilling. Gifted storytellers of his type often achieve the best results when left to do their own thing, which is next to impossible when attempting to please the many masters involved in a Marvel production.

His decision to step away from the MCU was one of the many topics Whedon recently spoke about during a Q&A interview with the Oxford Union. When asked if he could ever be swayed to direct another Marvel film, Whedon was understandably blunt.

"No. You know I was their sort of consigliere for a while... We do not discuss our thing... 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," said the Age of Ultron director while speaking on his future with the company.

"So I made a completely clean break - not because we had a falling out - just because I was like, 'I can't...' (cinematic universes) cinematic universes that it "takes the soul out of a film if it's in service of so many other things ... and it doesn't feel like I'm watching a film, it feels like I'm watching an agenda."

Truthfully, it's hard to disagree with Whedon's notions when looking at the litany of characters being crammed-packed into each successive Marvel entry. Captain America: Civil War will feature some 16 superheroes in the main cast alone, bring a whole new meaning to the term "lip service" (you know, like the lip service that many felt weighed down Age of Ultron).

Speaking of which, Whedon also commented on the criticism he received for Age of Ultron, which is enough to make any aspiring director reconsider the glorious life of directing multi-million dollar comic book films.

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

Honestly, I can't imagine that it would be easy for any director to achieve their vision when dealing with as many cooks as a Marvel product must entail, especially when knowing that the film's failures will be placed solely on your shoulders alone when all is said and one. And while you'd like to think that Whedon would have moved on to better endeavors by now, the fact that he reportedly made more money from his self-produced Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long blog than he did to direct The Avengers won't exactly help him heal his wounds.

Check out Whedon's full interview with the Oxford Union below.

Source: Esquire

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disappointed in joss whedon.

understandable in not wanting to do any more marvel films, given the mass number of projects going on and the interference of marvel on projects.

but, he is coming off as a real whiner. his response to any form of criticism, constructive or legitimate or otherwise, has been to lash out with insults and then cowering.

so is this going to be like a Jack Kirby thing? is he going to go to Warner Bros. and help make their DC movies awesome and get them back on track.

Gotta give him credit for sticking to his guns then some people not named Michael "I'm done with Transformers for good," Bay. I enjoyed the Avengers 1 and 2, although 2 was less stellar I agree, maybe Whedon can focus on bringing back Buffy? Just a thought :P

valium:
disappointed in joss whedon.

understandable in not wanting to do any more marvel films, given the mass number of projects going on and the interference of marvel on projects.

but, he is coming off as a real whiner. his response to any form of criticism, constructive or legitimate or otherwise, has been to lash out with insults and then cowering.

I wonder if he wasn't insulated before the rise of Social Media against the kind of criticism that is coming his way now. I know people have always been critical of his work - after rewatching a few Buffy episodes, including Once More With Feeling (an episode I liked so much at the time I bought the CD) I'm astonished at just how much of a fanboy I actually was, and how blind I was to the flaws in his work when I thought I was just a casual fan at the time - but it's starting to seem like somehow he had managed to keep away from the raging, frothing hate that people had for his work.

Now when it's so easy to put something up on YouTube, or Twitter, or Facebook, or any of the other social media sites, and with the changing attitudes towards gender representation in media on both sides of the camera, maybe he's getting more criticism now than he can deal with. Add to that the predictable hispter-ish backlash against the MCU (which is annoying because when I'm critical, I just look like a hipster douche criticizing the MCU just to look cool) and the fact those hipsters are too young to be Buffy/Angel/Firefly fans (maybe Firefly, as it's possible to watch the entire series in a single day AND it's not dependent on understanding the pop culture of the time, like Angel and particularly Buffy are) so he's not getting the same defense from his former demographic either?

I dunno. Seems like a bad situation for him to be in, and he seems to be handling it in a less-than-stellar way, which is compounding the issue. (see: quitting Twitter because people were bitching about the Black Widow stuff in AoU)

valium:
disappointed in joss whedon.

understandable in not wanting to do any more marvel films, given the mass number of projects going on and the interference of marvel on projects.

but, he is coming off as a real whiner. his response to any form of criticism, constructive or legitimate or otherwise, has been to lash out with insults and then cowering.

This is the guy who pissed off broadcast networks enough by making Firefly widescreen instead of 4:3 and so the network intentionally tanked his show, and then went and yelled about it.

First Lucas and now Whedon. It's almost like Disney is a Soul sucking Corporation gobbling up pop culture properties as fast as they can. I wouldn't be surprised to find them trying to get a hold of Harry Potter.

How long until they have JJ reboot the Marvel Universe and One-More-Day the comics?

I wonder if there is any implication that he was tired of political correctness or just tired of source material changing over the years. He has every right to complain about whatever he had to deal with. It doesn't make in any less awkward when people decide to complain about his complaining.

So I'm assuming this will mean he has no further involvement in Agents of Shield as well?

Ukomba:
First Lucas and now Whedon. It's almost like Disney is a Soul sucking Corporation gobbling up pop culture properties as fast as they can.

Don't compare Whedon to Lucas. Whedon is a director/producer who was hired to do some films and tv, did them, and now wants a sea change.

Lucas is a narcissistic moron who sold out for billions and then had a sook because they didn't want to listen to him.

I can understand why Whedon wants to leave though. I just don't think the guy is cut out for bigger projects. He clearly has some massive insecurities about his work and that would be crippling when trying to do stuff on the scale he has been.

I hope the Russo Brothers get given the torch from here on out. Winter Soldier was easily the best film released out of the marvel universe in my opinion and Civil War is looking even better potentially.

(Edit: Oh never mind, looks like they already have been)

The manipulative editing in this article is off the charts. Taking quotes out of context to make them say the exact opposite of what they're saying, or to imply something that isn't there. I read the link that said Joss criticized Daredevil; he actually praises it. The only negative thing he says is that he fought for it to be a movie instead of a show, because he didn't think TV could do the tone justice, but admits that he was wrong. This entire article is full of misleading information set up to be a thin criticism of the MCU by misconstruing a man who has been very honest and amicable in his words.

If you're gonna take jabs at the MCU, fine, but do it openly and honestly. Jesus.

Does this mean we can get an Avengers team up movie with actual dialog not consisting entirely on witty quips? I mean, I love the guy. But while he's great in small doses his big work kind of falls apart when it needs to be something more than just casually entertaining.

He's directed two movies out of the twelve currently out, let's not pretend he's some cornerstone of the franchise. With Civil War basically being a small-scale Avenger's movie, let's see how a non-Whedon director/writer handles the inter-character dialog and relationships.

it doesn't feel like I'm watching a film, it feels like I'm watching an agenda

Way ahead of you, Joss.

Well that's what happens when you have foaming at the mouth fans. I remember when Ultron came out and all his "fans" called his a sexist fuck who hates women and babies and kicks puppies and doesn't like Hunger Games and doesn't Netflix and chill with bae and has never done anything pro-women in his life.

Him. Whedon. Mr. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Had never done anything pro-woman.

And it wasn't a small thing. Reddit and Twitter exploded.

And I can imagine the disgusting vitriol of that bi-polar fanbase really hit him hard. Do one thing they perceive to be wrong and boom, all your years of work and all your accomplishments no longer matter.

Ukomba:
First Lucas and now Whedon. It's almost like Disney is a Soul sucking Corporation gobbling up pop culture properties as fast as they can. I wouldn't be surprised to find them trying to get a hold of Harry Potter.

How long until they have JJ reboot the Marvel Universe and One-More-Day the comics?

I'm confused..... Whedon didn't own the rights of making Marvel films. Why would they have JJ reboot the film universe when it's already under their control? Why do you think they're obsessed with JJ, he's not even directing the next two Star Wars films.

Also, people seem to forget, Lucas didn't even direct the two best Star Wars films. He directed all of the prequels and A New Hope. Personally, I feel that Awakens was about on par with A New Hope, but JJ loses points because they're almost the same movie. I'm much happier with Star Wars being in Disney's hands than with Lucas.

I agree that Disney does seem to eat up a lot of properties as big corporations tend to do, but I don't think they've made particularly negative impacts on either of the universes you mentioned. Their films are very safe, but at least for Star Wars, that's kind of how it's always been. Straightforward plots, good versus evil, tonally lighthearted, and the good guys win the day.

Edit:

undeadsuitor:
With Civil War basically being a small-scale Avenger's movie, let's see how a non-Whedon director/writer handles the inter-character dialog and relationships.

We already did with Guardians of the Galaxy. IMO, it's better than both of the Avengers movies and they didn't have the several movies of development for their characters.

ron1n:
So I'm assuming this will mean he has no further involvement in Agents of Shield as well?

Ukomba:
First Lucas and now Whedon. It's almost like Disney is a Soul sucking Corporation gobbling up pop culture properties as fast as they can.

Don't compare Whedon to Lucas. Whedon is a director/producer who was hired to do some films and tv, did them, and now wants a sea change.

Lucas is a narcissistic moron who sold out for billions and then had a sook because they didn't want to listen to him.

I can understand why Whedon wants to leave though. I just don't think the guy is cut out for bigger projects. He clearly has some massive insecurities about his work and that would be crippling when trying to do stuff on the scale he has been.

I hope the Russo Brothers get given the torch from here on out. Winter Soldier was easily the best film released out of the marvel universe in my opinion and Civil War is looking even better potentially.

(Edit: Oh never mind, looks like they already have been)

Lucas was ATTEMPTING to pass on his creation to a company who would properly care for it. It wasn't like he was hurting for money. On top of that, he sold it to Disney for far less than the IP was worth (about 1/10th). Clearly, what ever he thought, or was told they were going to do with it and the direction they went weren't the same.

You might as well call Robert Jordan a narcissistic moron for selling out to Red Eagle Entertainment and then being unhappy when they completely mismanage the property. Just pray you don't ever create a beloved IP and then make a mistake on who to entrust with it.

Blasted double post.

Drago-Morph:
The manipulative editing in this article is off the charts. Taking quotes out of context to make them say the exact opposite of what they're saying, or to imply something that isn't there. I read the link that said Joss criticized Daredevil; he actually praises it. The only negative thing he says is that he fought for it to be a movie instead of a show, because he didn't think TV could do the tone justice, but admits that he was wrong. This entire article is full of misleading information set up to be a thin criticism of the MCU by misconstruing a man who has been very honest and amicable in his words.

If you're gonna take jabs at the MCU, fine, but do it openly and honestly. Jesus.

Absolutely, it's a pretty shitty, skewed, misrepresentative piece. But par for the course for Jared. Clickbait? Or just bad writing/form? Who knows. I seem to take the bait, though, so more fool me...

I'm a huge Whedon and MCU fan, and as far as I can tell there's never been any real falling out or break-up. Creative disagreements? Sure, but that's normal in any creative industry. I'd love for Joss to do more Marvel content (perhaps on the page, though, as Astonishing X-Men was arguably better than The Avengers film), but I absolutely get why Ultron would've wiped him out, and why he'd be something close to desperate to get back to his own projects. Or, hell, just different big projects.

Well, Ultron was really underwhelming. The first Avengers was great though, so I wonder if he just lost passion for MCU.

Tono Makt:

I wonder if he wasn't insulated before the rise of Social Media against the kind of criticism that is coming his way now. I know people have always been critical of his work - after rewatching a few Buffy episodes, including Once More With Feeling (an episode I liked so much at the time I bought the CD) I'm astonished at just how much of a fanboy I actually was, and how blind I was to the flaws in his work when I thought I was just a casual fan at the time - but it's starting to seem like somehow he had managed to keep away from the raging, frothing hate that people had for his work.

Now when it's so easy to put something up on YouTube, or Twitter, or Facebook, or any of the other social media sites, and with the changing attitudes towards gender representation in media on both sides of the camera, maybe he's getting more criticism now than he can deal with. Add to that the predictable hispter-ish backlash against the MCU (which is annoying because when I'm critical, I just look like a hipster douche criticizing the MCU just to look cool) and the fact those hipsters are too young to be Buffy/Angel/Firefly fans (maybe Firefly, as it's possible to watch the entire series in a single day AND it's not dependent on understanding the pop culture of the time, like Angel and particularly Buffy are) so he's not getting the same defense from his former demographic either?

I dunno. Seems like a bad situation for him to be in, and he seems to be handling it in a less-than-stellar way, which is compounding the issue. (see: quitting Twitter because people were bitching about the Black Widow stuff in AoU)

I think it's less to do with social media and more to do with the fact that Whedon was used to having a small but voluble following but discovered that mobs are fickle and tear down their former hero. One of the other false impressions that Whedon has is that he is a great auteur whose works are great art to millions. When the reality is that his works are entertaining to millions and are considered to be important by a much smaller number of people. I doubt if more than 20% of the audience of his avenger films could name him as director. In short Whedon thinks his name is worth the same as Spielberg or Scorsese when it isnt. There is nothing wrong with producing great entertainment but that doesn't give the same sort of negotiating power as Spielberg.

JaredJones:
I was their sort of conciliatory for a while... We do not discuss our thing.

Consigliere. You know, like the Godfather.

I just hope they don't get Zack Snyder to replace him.

P>S; Dr Horrible's Sing A Long Blog was awesome.

So is this gonna be like him quitting the Buffy universe again and then coming back with Angel? Or what about quitting Firefly and then coming back for Serenity when he was given a blank check? Or is he actually going to stick to what he's saying this time around?

Not to discredit the guy, but he sorta has the emotional range of a five-year old in these situations.

valium:
disappointed in joss whedon.

understandable in not wanting to do any more marvel films, given the mass number of projects going on and the interference of marvel on projects.

but, he is coming off as a real whiner. his response to any form of criticism, constructive or legitimate or otherwise, has been to lash out with insults and then cowering.

Why? Marvel is a soul sucking company to work for. There's no artistic freedom whatsoever, and they routinely fire people who don't adhere to their very narrow vision. Multiple directors have said that they sit you down and tell you what the film is about, and what scenes they want in the movie. All of their films are films by committee, made to hit as wide an audience as possible. They're fun movies, sometimes, but if you have any kind of artistic integrity whatsoever, or have any kind of real ambition, then Marvel is possibly the worst company to work for. I don't blame Whedon for leaving. I'm just surprised he stayed so long.

Does this mean he might go back to working at Pixar? Because for all the amazing things they've done, I'd always felt like the original Toy Story had a certain quality that they'd never been able to recreate (this is especially apparent in Toy Story 2, which even at the time felt kind of shallow and "sequel-y").

Ukomba:
First Lucas and now Whedon. It's almost like Disney is a Soul sucking Corporation gobbling up pop culture properties as fast as they can. I wouldn't be surprised to find them trying to get a hold of Harry Potter.

Uh, Warner Bros. already owns that. It's not like Disney is some unstoppable juggernaut that's big enough to swallow up all other media; Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Jim Henson Productions were basically the last three big-name creator-driven studios that were, for lack of a better word, "indie". Pretty much everyone else was and is already owned by one of the other five media giants - Time Warner, Viacom/CBS, Sony, Fox, and Universal.

Ukomba:
Lucas was ATTEMPTING to pass on his creation to a company who would properly care for it.

Well see that was his first mistake, assuming there are any companies left that care about anything but money.

Redryhno:
So is this gonna be like him quitting the Buffy universe again and then coming back with Angel? Or what about quitting Firefly and then coming back for Serenity when he was given a blank check? Or is he actually going to stick to what he's saying this time around?

Wait. He didn't "quit" Firefly; Fox canceled it and then greedily hung onto the rights rather than sell it off to another network, but Whedon was able to make his movie because of some legal loophole.

...Right? That's the story I'd always heard, unless the entire Internet lied to me.

Well, if he's free from MAHVEL I imagine he can go on to do other things.

I'm not entirely sure what to say about this; he spouts a lot of what we already know about the Marvel movies. But I just... I'm not really a fan of his stuff. Granted, I haven't seen Buffy and Dr. Horrible was pretty good, but I couldn't bring myself to finish Firefly and Avengers was very... middle of the road.

His scripts have too much... 'snark'? I do need to get around to watching Cabin in the Woods though.

Steve the Pocket:

Redryhno:
So is this gonna be like him quitting the Buffy universe again and then coming back with Angel? Or what about quitting Firefly and then coming back for Serenity when he was given a blank check? Or is he actually going to stick to what he's saying this time around?

Wait. He didn't "quit" Firefly; Fox canceled it and then greedily hung onto the rights rather than sell it off to another network, but Whedon was able to make his movie because of some legal loophole.

...Right? That's the story I'd always heard, unless the entire Internet lied to me.

Most of it, yeah. Difference is that he didn't even try to replicate alot of what made it good until way later. Space Westerns are one of those niches that people will sit down and watch(at least in the nerd-ish community). I fully understand Fox dicking around with him(even if he somewhat dicked around with them as well so I consider it a mutual dicking of sorts to a point) and that making him reluctant to work with them again, but as creative as people talk him up to be, you'd think he'd be known for more than a campy vampire series(don't get me wrong, I like it), failed space western, and Marvel.

I dunno, I just don't like when people make these kinds of declarations when they have a history of not holding themselves to it is all.

The Editing Bias is strong with this one.

That aside... I know Whedon did and said some bad things, but I pity him a little more than I pity Lucas. Lucas made a choice to, in his own words, Sell his Children. He knew what he was getting into, and got 4 Billion, was it, for his troubles? I don't think he would have had too much difficulty starting Star Wars 7 himself if he so wanted to; the name alone probably accounted for 1/4th of the movie's glory at the moment.

Whedon... I think anyone would kill for the chance to be able to say "Yo, I helped lead the freaking Avengers", but it sounds like a hard process to be part off, and while I wouldn't condone certain comments, he didn't have nearly the same level of control throughout the process and definitely came out the worse for it.

I applaud him sticking to his morals on this one. My only complaint is that they basically fired all the guys who made his life miserable when doing AoU and it sounded like Kevin F was trying to make amends with him and Disney, but when its not enough its not enough.

Being mouthy about it might make him some enemies, but I prefer the honestly.

For anyone confused this doesn't have much to do with the complaints linked. Basically there was a community made up of a bunch of marvel and disney VPs and editors. They slashed his AoU run time, budget and cut into his script and character choices. Much of the complaints about this film lacking its own soul and spending too much time hyping the next phase is a big part of it. The committee was split up after his falling out and Kevin F was put in charge of the MMCU with essentially only reporting directly to Robert A. Iger.

http://screenrant.com/marvel-studios-creative-committee/

I hope he'll give Marvel another chance I think he's just really tired and emotional. He mentioned working nonstop on the AoU project and it really burnt him out.

valium:
disappointed in joss whedon.

understandable in not wanting to do any more marvel films, given the mass number of projects going on and the interference of marvel on projects.

but, he is coming off as a real whiner. his response to any form of criticism, constructive or legitimate or otherwise, has been to lash out with insults and then cowering.

I don't really know why... it seems like it was a tremendous amount of pressure to produce those films considering the fan base and I don't think being open about how he felt is the same as whining... As far as lashing out, I don't recall any particularly big melt downs or fights, a best just sarcastically dismissing things. But even so, Age of Ultron must have been a hugely stressful film to work on given that he essentially had to push around a bunch of smaller projects in order to make sure everything arrived on point for his movie to take place. In a way that kind of forces him to boss around other directors and do the very things that he in turn hates being done to him, all the while receiving not just little to no sympathy from fans, but disdain and nitpicks for every little problem there after? I'm amazed it was only 8 months in the fetal position. Besides, I'm looking forward to seeing some other directors take a crack at the big avengers team ups.

I had to look up the plot of Age of Ultron to remember whether or not I'd seen it (turns out I did), but I can remember pretty much most of Ant Man, which I enjoyed quite a lot. Maybe because it wasn't overhyped or of epic proportions.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really give a shit about what Joss Whedon says or does, unless he's going back to making shows.

So, er, who's surprised by this? Forget where I read it, but I think the phrase (paraphrased) sums it up; that MCU films are where the vision of the producer takes place over the vision of the director. I'm not that enamored of Joss Whedon, but I can imagine how it might feel to be constantly stifled when making a movie, or commencing any kind of artistic endeavor. Yes, these things happen, there's usually some level of studio interferance, but as stated, Marvel is where studio interferance is the de facto state of affairs.

Since Lucas has been brought into this, these are different scenarios, but it TFA is almost certainly another case of where the producer's vision takes place over the director's (though I don't think I could call JJ "visionary" - competent, certainly, but not "visionary"); we know that he sold Star Wars off willingly, and know that Disney didn't use his ideas. What I don't know is whether those ideas were pitched before selling it, and whether a gentlemen's agreement existed beforehand. Because while I rank TFA above Clone and Phantom, I also rank it below Sith and Hope. The lack of George Lucas in Star Wars is hardly an inherent positive in my eyes (though isn't necessarily an inherent negative either).

But I can certainly sympathize with him, especially if a gentlemen's agreement was ever made.

So he's free for Serenity 2? I follow half the actors on Twitter and given their affection for the series they sound like they'd all come back (even Alan, somehow).

Silentpony:

Him. Whedon. Mr. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Had never done anything pro-woman.

When do you start offering up examples of Mr. Nuffy offering up something pro-woman?

I really wonder when people will get used to social media "hate". It's always been there. It's always been pretty open, too. Just, and the dictionary says this is the correct translation, called "Bitching about someone". It just was behind their back.

Now, it's just easier to write it down and have the feeling of talking bad behind somebody's back. But criticism? Often confused with internet-hate?

Get a grip. It's been there since the dawn of mankind. Thanks to the internet, the only difference now is that you might know about it.

Some decades ago, critics being lucky drawing enough attention to getting published on paper were the only place you'd really hear about your works. Now, you simply have a better chance to listen to real opinions.

He's an Abrams-esque hack who can't make anything new or innovative, but can easily make something functional/solid.
Unlike Abrams though, his direction isn't quite as solid, but his fanbase is far more rabid.
He shouldn't have been put in charge in the first place, but now that he's leaving halfway in it's going to be problematic.

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