I am an unabashed Joss Whedon fan. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is iconic not just in the world at large but also in my heart, and I will throw down in most conversations that question his place as one of the 21st century's greatest creators. So when I say I don't want Joss Whedon to direct any more Avengers movies after Age Of Ultron, know I'm saying it with a heavy heart. And know that Whedon feels the same way. It's time to let him step out of that Marvel-emblazoned director's chair.
I stand firmly in my belief that Whedon's direction of the first Avengers film was the best move not only for his career but for Marvel, as well, and it will surely mean even more creative freedom for Whedon now that he's a cult director with blockbuster cred. Whedon in the director's chair also established Marvel as a place where creative energy was actually valued in the blockbuster-making process. I suspect that will also be Avengers: Age Of Ultron's legacy.
But there's a certain danger of exhaustion in a threepeat, and I'm not just talking about the exhaustion Whedon's already definitely feeling. As he told Empire magazine (transcribed by Comic Book Movie):
I couldn’t imagine doing this again… It’s enormously hard, and it’d be, by then, a good five years since I created anything that was completely my own. So it’s very doubtful that I would take on the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life. I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy. This year has been more like running three shows than any year of my life. It is bonkers.
Now, I don't take this as a guarantee that Whedon won't sign on for the next Avengers film; as The Mary Sue pointed out, Whedon also had doubts about signing on for Age Of Ultron. But something makes me suspect Whedon will take his chance to step out of the director's seat while he can — Infinity War is a two-parter, after all, so he'd be signing on for not one but two more mega-blockbusters. That's a lot of sacrificed time and energy. And if there's one thing I know about Whedon it's that he has a history of not doing too well under creative restriction. He's been a rebel indie spirit from the beginning, and so it's felt at times as if he's just been moonlighting as the biggest blockbuster director in the world.
This is a man who wound down from directing the first Avengers movie by ditching a vacation in Venice to instead fund his own production of Much Ado About Nothing starring some of his best friends and shooting it at his own house in under two weeks. He made Buffy a TV show after he felt like The Man had screwed it up the first time around so he should just direct it himself. He made an eff-you webseries in the form of Dr. Horrible during the WGA Writer's Strike. He devoted his life to passion projects on television for years, often showrunning two series at once. He's an incredibly productive whirling dervish of a creative mind, and he's been bottled up focusing largely on someone else's baby for multiple years. He hasn't been creating his own work with his own vision, he's been spinning out the vision of a major studio.
Much as I adore the contributions Whedon's made to the Marvel Universe in his years there, I for one am ready to see what he does with some more time to devote to his own projects. I'm still waiting on that ever-promised Dr. Horrible sequel, after all. I'd love to see him return to television now that any network would have him and would be way more wary about canceling his shows. And as far as the MCU's concerned, I'd love to see what Joe and Anthony Russo could do with an Avengers movie after Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Besides, a Whedon not in the director's chair doesn't necessarily mean a Whedon completely divorced from Marvel. I'd still love to see him executive produce the next Avengers offerings. But it's past time to give this guy more room to show us what's on his mind.