Here's What Marvel and Joss Whedon Battled Over During AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Marvel Studios is insanely successful, but not every project the studio has produced has been smooth sailing. Patty Jenkins was kicked off of Thor: The Dark World due to creative differences, and Edgar Wright famously left Ant-Man shortly before production began on that film because he was unhappy with what the studio did to his script. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron experienced its share of bumps along the road to theaters. Writer/director Joss Whedon has been pretty open about the disagreements he had working with the studio, but now that everyone has had the chance to see his film, Empire sat down with him for a full-on spoiler discussion (via The Playlist) and he revealed a ton of information about what he wanted in the movie, what might show up on the eventual home video release, what he fought with the studio about, and more.
There's one aspect of Quicksilver we didn't get to see in the final movie: according to Whedon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson's version of the speedster is "an incredible pussy hound."
“It’s disingenuous to make, as I refer to it, a war movie and say there is no price. In this movie we’re saying, ‘prove to me that you guys are heroes.' And [Quicksilver] is the guy who is the least… the most arrogant, the most annoying — if you watch the DVD extras, an incredible pussy hound — and Hawkeye genuinely hates him and that’s the guy who saves him. I knew that it would be resonant and it would make everything work and matter more.”
Sounds like we'll see Quicksilver mackin' on some ladies in the eventual home video release. Whedon also mentioned he shot an alternate ending in which the hero survived, but that was always intended as a backup in case the Disney execs decided at the last minute that they wanted him to live. The death was planned from the beginning, and Whedon intended to keep him dead after bringing back Coulson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after seemingly killing him off in The Avengers.
Moving on, Whedon also wanted Captain Marvel and Spider-Man to appear in the final lineup of the New Avengers at the end of the film, but that obviously didn't end up happening:
“I wanted all those people, but I said, ‘It would be great if we could add a few more [characters], if we could have a Captain Marvel there, now that you’ve made a deal,’ and they talked about it...And I was like, ‘And Spider-Man, we could do that too, cause Sony had approached us during the first movie about a little integration. So I would have put both of [those characters] in, but neither of the deals were made.
[Later the studio told me] ‘We’re making a Captain Marvel movie and we’ve got ‘Spider-Man’ as a property,’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve already locked my film you fuckers! Thanks for nothing.”
Sounds like there was a communication breakdown, or at the very least just some really bad timing on that one. Fans would have gone crazy if Spider-Man and Captain Marvel showed up in this film, and it's sort of sad to think that Whedon would have made it happen if only a few pieces of paper were signed a little earlier. Oh well.
And finally, one of the biggest things the filmmaker clashed with the studio about were the Hawkeye farmhouse sequences and the dream sequences that Scarlet Witch creates for the heroes.
“The dreams were not an executive favorite either. The dreams, the farmhouse, these were the things I fought to keep...With the cave [sequence with Thor and Erik Selvig], it really turned into: they pointed a gun to the farm’s head. They said, ‘give us the cave or we’ll take out the farm.’”
It's surprising to hear this level of honesty about behind-the-scenes creative battles with a movie still in theaters, because normally information like this wouldn't come out until months after a big studio release had made all of its money at the box office. But it's obvious that Whedon doesn't really give a crap about working with Marvel again, so he's telling it like it is right from the start, which is admirable. I'm a little bit shocked that the studio (presumably Kevin Feige, as the President of Marvel Studios) wouldn't want to include the Hawkeye farmhouse sequence, since I thought those were some of the best moments of the entire movie. It humanized Hawkeye, gave our heroes a chance to rest and come up with a new plan, and also provided a nice spot for Iron Man and Captain America to churn up some disagreements that will likely come to a head in Civil War.
Check out more by listening to the full interview with Empire at the link above. Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters right now.