Although The Avengers doesn't open for another two months, director Joss Whedon is already thinking ahead to the potential sequel -- specifically, how to top the first film, which sees Earth's Mightiest Heroes assemble to battle an unexpected threat to global security.
The solution? "By not trying to. By being smaller. More personal, more painful," he tells SFX (via DigitalSpy). "By being the next thing that should happen to these characters, and not just a rehash of what seemed to work the first time. By having a theme that is completely fresh and organic to itself."
More specifically, now that iconic characters like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are together on the big screen, Whedon wants to examine what motivates them.
"I want to know what makes them tick, what makes them flawed, what makes them fight -- and ultimately, what makes them awesome," he says. "I go to these movies for those moments when the heroes define themselves, either through action or deliciously overwritten speeches."
Opening May 4, The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig.