With 2015 fast approaching, the May 1 release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is now less than half a year away. In anticipation of the New Year, /Film has posted an interview with writer and director Joss Whedon covering a myriad of topics, such as the inclusion of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye’s expanded role, the blessing of there not being a Hulk solo film, and much more. Though, perhaps one of the most surprising revelations of the interview was that Whedon wasn’t sure he would come back for a second turn at Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
“I didn’t actually want to make the film necessarily. I was ragged from the first one, and so I just turned off my brain,” Whedon told /Film. “I was like, do not think of cool ideas for the next one. Just get through this. But after a few months when they talked about, um… This is now something that makes sense in my life; do I have anything to say?”
Despite Whedon’s initial possible reticence to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he had actually already made plans for a second film back when he was directing “The Avengers” — and they involved Ultron and Vision.
“Before I took the first job, I said, well, I don’t know if I’m right for this or if I want it or you want me, but in the second one, the villain has to be Ultron, and he has to create the Vision, and then, that has to be Bettany,” he said. “It took me three years before I could tell Paul that I’d had that conversation, but after that, I stopped. I was like, that would be cool if you have Ultron, and you have Vision and Paul played him.”
Certainly, fans are looking forward to Whedon’s take on the old familiar faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — especially Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, given that there hasn’t been a solo film featuring the character since 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.” However, Whedon says that it’s actually been an advantage for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” that the jade giant hasn’t had another solo run.
“Well, I wasn’t the one who said don’t make a Hulk film or anything like that,” Whedon said. “It was, Kevin [Feige] said to me, we think right now it’s good to have somebody who could only be in the Avengers. Everybody loves Mark. He’s phenomenal. But the fact that there hasn’t been a Hulk [movie] since that Hulk, it doesn’t suck. My job is hard enough, you know. Cap’s had a movie, Thor’s had a movie. Everyone’s gone through big changes, Iron Man had a movie, and so I have to juggle everybody’s perception of that while still making a movie that you can see having not seen any except the first Avengers, or not even that.”
As a result, the director states in no uncertain terms that “Banner has a significant role,” as well as the Hulk.
“There’s something terrible coming that you’ll love,” he said. “And what just what makes the Hulk so hard to write is that you’re pretending he’s a werewolf when he’s a superhero. You want to — you want it vice versa. You want to see him, Banner doesn’t want to see him, but you don’t want Banner to be that guy who gets in the way of you seeing him. So the question is, how has he progressed? How can we bring changes on what the Hulk does? And that’s not just in the screenplay. That’s moment to moment, because even when they are putting in post mix and temp mix you know, they have a library of two roars. ‘Aaarrgh! Uuurrgh!’ What if he wasn’t roaring? I’m angry, and I’m not roaring. I’m being very polite to a lot of reporters, but I’m filled with rage.”
Another character that fans are excited to see return is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, who was relegated to a more minor, villainous role in “The Avengers,” and hasn’t been seen since. Whedon wasn’t able to give anything away, but did state, “Something’s up with that boy. That’s all I’m gonna say,” and that viewers would have the opportunity to see what he’d been up to since the Battle of New York.
In terms of new characters, there are plenty of running theories as to where Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch got their powers — with the shortest odds on them being Inhumans. However, the source of their powers may not be as simple as that.
“Baron Strucker’s been doing experiments, and he’s got the scepter, and he’s been using alien tech to do them,” Whedon said. “It’s kind of where I landed with that. But look for an exciting ret-con in ‘Avengers 6!'”
Of course, many have already made the comparison of Scarlet Witch to some of Whedon’s other powerful, but damaged characters — like a ultra-powerful Willow in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or fan-favorite “Firefly” character River Tam.
“Well, you know, ‘strong but damaged by power’ describes every person in this movie,” said Whedon. “It may, in fact, describe what the movie is about. You know, the more power that we have, the less human we are. Her damage pre-dates her power, and these kids they’ve had a rough history. Is she in an idiom with which I am comfortable? Why, yes sir, she is.”
As for Quicksilver, many movie-going audiences have already been introduced to the character in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — albeit, a different version. While the “X-Men” version of Quicksilver may have been released first, Whedon said it didn’t influence the “Avengers” take on the character.
“There are some things that we now would probably care to avoid just so that we’re not… But we were never doing the same version,” he said. “Obviously at some point we’ll go into slow mo because that’s what’s fun about a super speedy guy. For me, what’s fun about Quicksilver isn’t necessarily seeing Quicksilver, it’s seeing the Avengers the way he does. And, they really took to the mattresses with that one scene, but he’s just a very different guy in ours and I think we’re just kind of proceeding as planned.”
As for the motivation for the film’s marquee villain, the director said he hoped audiences — while not necessarily agreeing with him — would at least understand where Ultron is coming from.
“You know, for me, there’s always a point where I’m writing where [I go], you know, they’re right! The Avengers sucked! Got to do something about that. We got to take care of these guys. Hopefully, you will come out of this, if not agreeing with him, [at least] getting him, and getting his pain, which leads to a lot of damage, and some humor, and how’s he different,” Whedon said. “I mean, villains are different from each other. The important thing for me is he’s not this external thing. He’s not Independence Day. I’m not criticizing that movie, but I’m saying that it’s not like we spent some time on the alien going, oh, I hate that Will Smith! Punched me right in the face! The first day there! When he’s in his scenes, you want to feel like he will never understand that he’s not the hero.”
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” hits theaters May 1, 2015.
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