Between The Avengers returning to theaters today for a limited engagement and ABC greenlighting a S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, it's shaped up to be a big week for Marvel and for Joss Whedon, who's already teased that the television series will be "autonomous" from the blockbuster movie franchise. But while details so far are sparse, the writer/director did have a little more to say about the project, promising, "It's going to work very well for people who either love the Marvel universe or for people who've never dipped a toe in the Marvel universe."
Part of Whedon’s new three-year exclusive deal with Marvel Studios, the pilot centers on the global espionage and law-enforcement agency that’s helped to provide the connective tissue between the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whedon will co-write the pilot with his brother Jed Whedon and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen, who will serve as executive producers/showrunners along with Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias).
"The important thing to me is that we know what the show is," Whedon told Vulture. "We love what it is. It came together very organically, so when we went in to pitch [to Marvel], it wasn't like, We're trying to find this because you want a TV show, it was, Check this out. And that's a good way to walk in a room. Good support is wonderful, but it's not a hill of beans, because they may give us all this support and then decide, 'Eh. Yeah, it's Friday.' They might give us all the support and then not do that, but then audiences might go, 'Yeahhh … no.' You just can't be sure. What I do know is that it's the show it should be, and we've got some really dope notions."
Talking to EW.com, he added, "“The S.H.I.E.L.D. show kind of dropped in my lap, and I love working in TV. “I get to really build a show with people I really trust and love. What we’re building is entirely autonomous from The Avengers. It’s gotta be a show that works for people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies. It will please Marvel fans, I think.”
Many of those same fans have been entertained by the torrent of deleted scenes from The Avengers that have appeared online ahead of the Sept. 25 Blu-ray release, yet still left wondering why some of them didn't make it into the final cut. Take, for instance, the dark "wraparound sequence" featuring Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill.
"Two factors," Whedon explained to Vulture. "One: The movie was three hours long. Two: Audiences didn't respond to it as well in the movie as I think they would as a DVD extra. Most of them didn't know who this character was or what the context was, and they were like, Uhhh, I don't know why I'm supposed to be personally involved in this character I don't know. The rollout to the Avengers getting to Loki was so gradual that people were getting restless. I thought Cobie nailed it, and the reason I thought it was necessary is because I was trying to make a war movie and I wanted to give context that something bad had happened in the past. In a war movie, you don't know who's going to live or die, but you do know that this war happened and that [the characters] are going to be in a dire circumstance, and I wanted to create that atmosphere."