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Oh, It’s An Exclusive Deal…?

When news first broke that Joss Whedon was going to be writing and directing Marvel’s second Avengers movie and also developing a television series for Marvel, I was – like everyone else – a very happy person indeed. And then I saw the actual press release, and… Well, I might’ve changed my mind a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still very happy that Whedon will come back for Avengers 2 or Avengers: This Time It’s Thanos or whatever the movie ends up being called; the essential Whedon-ness of the this summer’s movie was something that lifted it far above the ranks of the other Marvel movies to date, and gave it the particular flavor that I think catapulted it to the uber-success that it’s enjoyed. I’m also very happy to see Whedon back in television, a medium that he enjoys and is very good at, when given the opportunity; I’m curious to see what he’ll come up with for ABC, and who he’ll bring on beside him to keep it running while he’s off coming up with the follow-up to the third biggest movie of all time. All of that is good.

This, though, is the part that gives me pause:

Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015.

“Exclusive”? So… No non-Marvel projects for three years?

This won’t be entirely the case, of course; his Much Ado About Nothing is, I believe, complete and close to release, so I assume we’ll be seeing that. And Wastelanders, his collaboration with Warren Ellis that predates the first Avengers movie, should also be exempt being a web series. And yet… There’s something weirdly disheartening about the idea that we’re not going to see more original ideas from Whedon for the next three years in terms of TV and movies; no more Cabin In The Woods-esque surprises, and that fantasy of a new Whedon series on cable so that Fox can’t screw with his new ideas on the shelf for awhile (Sadly, I have been thinking of that for quite some time; how much fun would everyone have with a Whedon show that did 13 episodes a year and had less network restrictions?).

I find myself mapping it onto comic book industry logic; at a time when creators are finding time to, and value in, moving from superheroes to ideas, stories and characters they’ve created, Whedon does the opposite in terms of mass media. When viewed like that, it does make me just a little sad.

It’s a minor complaint, perhaps; for all I know, Avengers 2 and the new show would’ve kept him more than busy over the next three years anyway, and certainly it’s a deal that undoubtedly benefits him as much as it does Marvel, even without knowing the specifics. And yet, when faced with the fact that Whedon is contractually bound to Marvel Studios for the next three years – sorry, that he “will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe,” to use the official parlance – I find myself suddenly, unexpectedly, realizing that I would far rather have seen him use his newfound box-office credibility and the power it gave him within the movie industry for something new, instead of more of the same.


  • HED

    Personally, I think Thanos should be the GotG villain and they should do someone else for Avengers 2

  • Rollo Tomassi

    I see your point, but really, if somebody gave me enough money to buy the entire state of Montana in exchange for three years of making them a movie and a TV show, I’d be okay with that.

  • Tristan

    I think this is being made too much of. Even without the exclusive deal, he only managed to co-write Cabin in the Woods and the Much Ado About Nothing movie was done in less than two weeks if I remember correctly. The first Avengers movie was a massive amount of work, and the 2nd one will be even more so. Throw a tv show in with it and he would not have had time to do anything else as well. I don’t know where people are getting all this extra time for him to do his own stuff.

    And while money probably is the largest factor in Whedon coming back, is it so shocking to think that he wants to tell more Marvel stories? The way I see it, the Avengers needs Whedon more than the other way around. He could have set the terms to his contract and he chose to sign exclusive, meaning he wants to be there. That is good enough for me.

  • Runnerx13

    Three years is nothing in the world of movies, and Whedon hasn’t done TV since Doll House. No real problem here.  Better than waiting 3-4 for Whedon to finish other stuff before getting another Avengers movie. 

  • jrau18

    Pretty sure that since Marvel Studios is Disney, he can still do non-Marvel stuff on ABC.

  • Elfap

    I kinda said this in your other post, but Marvel has been very good to him, not just putting their faith in Avengers, but even for his work for Marvel comics. If this is a partnership he enjoys, then I say let the man do whatever he wants, he created the highest grossing film that wasn’t directed by James Cameron. 

    Now they need to re-up Robert Downey Jr…

  • Bill

    Completely disagree. I think this is the best thing that could’ve happened, for Whedon and for viewers.

  • matt

    I agree I’d rather have Ultron, in fact just adapt The Ultron imperative and you essentially have a perfect sequel

  • Richardcasey

    if you think he’s going to have time for anything else, then you know even less about production of film and tv than the article suggests. 2015? That’s three and a half years, two of which will be taken up by Avengers 2. And like you said, Much Ado, plus Wastelanders, not to mention the fact that he’s doing a fucking Marvel TV show, means we’re going to have more Whedon than we have recently.

  • Mark Walley

    Even if this deal means he can’t do anything for film or television outside of Marvel stuff, he’s still probably free to do his own independent things. Doctor Horrible AND Much Ado About Nothing would both fall into the category of things he’s still alight to do. Also, Doctor Horrible 2 has already been teased enough I imagine he’s got an exception to do that.

    So in short, what we’re saying is that until the end of June 2015, Joss Whedon only has creative involvement in:

    1) Avengers 2
    2) An Avengers Movieverse TV Show (can we get it a universe number already like the 616?)
    3) Much Ado About Nothing
    4) Wastelanders
    5) Doctor Horrible 2
    6) Buffy Season 9 (and probably 10), Angel and Faith Season whatever it is, and the various tie-ins.
    7) Some creative say over Thor 2, Cap 2, Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man.

    If he manages to pull all those things off, well, that’d be an impressive three years by anyone’s standards.

  • JC

    This is a REALLY good point.

    It is a shame Whedon’s not using his success as leverage for his own projects. Instead, he’s going to give all that creativity and originality to Marvel – a company that historically doesn’t give a f*ck about what creativity its creators have poured into its characters and books. All Marvel cares about is the money.

  • numberthirty

    “His” work?

    It’s not like the guy is about to make The Magnificent Ambersons.

  • HED

    Ultron would be my choice as well. Could possibly be in Ant-Man, though.