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What Next For Joss Whedon, Marvel & Hollywood After The Mammoth Success Of 'The Avengers'?

by Oliver Lyttelton
May 7, 2012 2:02 PM
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There are lessons to be learned from "The Avengers" -- principally, giving a talented writer-director like Joss Whedon who loves and knows the characters is probably a good idea. We don't expect that to be the lesson that Hollywood to take away, unfortunately. Hell, even Marvel don't seem to be paying attention, with little-known TV helmer Alan Taylor in charge of "Thor 2," and the Russo Brothers and George Nolfi in the running for "Captain America 2" (maybe they're big fans, but we suspect they're principally guns for hire).

What we do expect to become a new trend in Hollywood are team-up movies. The logic goes that clearly audiences will come in droves to see more than one hero together, so expect to see more and more development following Marvel's long-form plans. Warner Bros in particular are almost certain to start chasing "Justice League" or "World's Finest" pictures (both nearly became a reality in the last decade, with George Miller and Wolfgang Petersen directing respectively). With Christopher Nolan, who's been resistent to team-up ideas, soon to wrap up his Bat-trilogy, the next reboot of the character will almost certainly be moving towards an 'Avengers'-style end-game (though it should be noted, Zack Snyder has already said his Supes will be sepearate from any of WB's plans for "Justice League"). But as Marvel did with The Hulk, it means that the studio can reboot failed properties like "Green Lantern" with a fresh start, and help as-yet-untouched characters like The Flash and Wonder Woman boot-up.

Could we see the trend expand beyond that? With Fox planning reboots of "Fantastic Four" and "Daredevil," it's possible that some of those characters will crop up in "The Wolverine" or others such X-Men movies. Might they even join forces with Sony and create a rival Marvel team-up movie featuring Spider-Man? Studio politics makes it unlikely, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. And comic books aren't the only limitations here: with "Snow White And The Huntsman" planned as a trilogy, could Universal start greenlighting other revisionist fairy-tale movies, with a kick-ass Rapunzel joining up with Kristen Stewart eventually? Could Disney see "Maleficent" cross paths with "Oz The Great and Powerful"? Might their "Magic Kingdom" movie see Jack Sparrow and Buzz Lightyear side-by-side? We hope not, but we're sure some development executive is already preparing a pitch...

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More: The Avengers, Joss Whedon, Marvel, Features

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  • rodie | May 8, 2012 5:11 PMReply

    The Avengers is a big success, no question. But the downside of that success is that Iron Man 2, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 will not see a bump because of the Avengers. If anything, the "solo" films will start seeing diminishing returns as everyone waits for the Avengers to get back together on screen. It's like with the Beatles. Once you get them all together, having them separate only reminds audiences of what is missing and what could be.

  • Berk | May 7, 2012 5:48 PMReply

    Is John McTiernan out of jail yet? His style would be a good fit for Captain America 2.

  • uh | May 7, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    Alan Taylor is a brilliant hire. The aesthetic of GAME OF THRONES season two is all him.

  • Kob | May 7, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    "virtually every major franchise with a directorial vacancy will be chasing him" - I don't think so, for a few reasons. 1) As good as Whedon's direction/writing for the film was the main attractions were the characters, not him. 2) Comparing him to Nolan seems a little...redundant. Nolan has been at the same studio for all of his career (well, bar Memento and Following) and they wanted to keep him there: essentially Nolan had a relationship with WB. Who has the same kind of relationship with Whedon that they'll be willing to fund any of his projects.

    This is the first hugely succesful project that he's been directly involved in, other directors have a had a few before they were given the keys to do what they liked (Snyder, Stanton, Aronofsky, Greengrass etc)

  • Mike | May 7, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    Does it matter that Alan Taylor is unknown, or the Russo Brothers for that matter? Look at their television work and tell me they're not more visually talented than Favreau, Letterier, etc., and if you know NBC's Community, you know the Russo Brothers are geeks through and through that would certainly do justice to the Captain America sequel. Kenneth Branagh was the only famous-name director behind any of the 5 setup movies, so it's not like that's the precedent they're following and these sequels would deviate. Shane Black isn't known by Joe & Jane public, but he's certainly the best choice for Iron Man, and likely should have been all along.

  • john | May 7, 2012 2:44 PMReply

    great article!

  • buntu | May 7, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    I'll bet they're already revising their plans for Superman. It'd seem daft to go to the effort to reboot that franchise, only to then keep him in a separate universe to the rest of the potential JLA teammates. Nolan's Batman will be finished by then, so they can use Man of Steel as the Iron Man of the JLA - the first one to establish the leader of the team.

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