Friday night’s Dark Horse Comics Whedonverse panel at San Diego Comic Con was essentially a chance for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Joss to pepper the man himself with questions. A lot of those questions covered already well trodden ground. (Yes he’d do more Firefly if he could.)
But the audience also seemed to get a genuine hint out of Whedon about the direction that Avengers 2 will go in. Read on for speculation and some of the other highlights from his Q&A.
The hint came as Whedon was discussing Dr. Horrible, prompted by a question as to why Horrible is wearing a red version of his costume at the end of the musical.
“He’s wearing a white costume, then he’s wearing a red costume, which means he’s lost his virginity. He went dark, bro. I don’t have very complex ideas.”
While that response in itself isn’t exceptional, it became important context when Whedon was asked to describe Avengers 2 in one word.
“Movie. Remember how Dr. Horrible used to have a white coat? The one word I have for Avengers 2 is ‘red.’”
“Red” could mean a few things in this context. Dr. Horrible’s full plunge into darkness doesn’t occur until he kills Penny and you could argue that her death signified to him that the world was truly without innocence. He knows this is his fault so subsequently his self-loathing becomes so extreme that he commits himself to evil deeds in order to avoid feeling any guilt about anything.
Could we be seeing a similar transformation for one of the Avengers? If so, who is the most likely candidate?
Tony Stark seems the least likely unless he’s attempting to implement a larger coordination of superpowered individuals ala Marvel “Civil War” storyline in the early 2000s. Except that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. already seems set up to deal with that aspect of the Marvel Avengers movie universe. Plus, Tony is so capable it doesn’t seem likely that the Avengers could survive if he decided to take them down.
The Hulk is the obvious choice (and there’s already a Red Hulk in the comics universe) but that’s just the problem: it’s the obvious choice. Similarly, the audience would expect a spy character named “Black Widow” to turn on her allies. It would be disappointing as a narrative choice, dismantling all the work done to establish and build up her character in the first movie.
Hawkeye? Oh, he was already evil in the first film.
Thor could possibly become a threat in Avengers 2 as his allegiance to the team is fairly shaky as it is. It’s also easy to imagine him coming after the team if he was, say, under some kind of magical malificence. We got a taste of the team against Thor in the first movie, but you got the sense he was holding back. If he was unleashed he’d make a spectacular threat.
But none of those characters would have the dramatic impact that Captain America turning would have. If Cap lost his faith in the fight and walked away...Tony would be devastated, Thor would mourn the loss of a fine warrior, the team would lose the only person the Hulk took orders from, and Hawkeye and Widow’s own faith in S.H.I.E.L.D. would be shaken. If Captain America doesn’t believe in the concept of the Avengers...then things must really be wrong.
Seem impossible? Marvel is already laying the groundwork in Captain America: Winter Soldier, the final movie that deals with S.H.I.E.L.D. and events on Earth before the arrival of Avengers 2. It’s no secret that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky Barnes, and that Cap and Widow go up against him in his mission to exact revenge on the government that resurrected him as a mindless fighter.
What if, after the events of Winter Soldier, Cap finds evidence of other manufactured superpowered individuals and sets out to right some wrongs? It could very easily look like Cap had gone rogue and needed his superpowered friends to bring him in. And it could very easily lead to the introduction of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. (Maybe even Hank Pym, depending on how one defines the term “manufacturer.”) [Update: I am apparently from the future come to bring you good tidings?]
This is all entirely speculation but, amusingly, Whedon also admitted in the panel that he gets a particular “buzz” when writing dialogue for a character like Captain America.
Whedon had some other fun, non-Avengers, things to admit during the Dark Horse panel, as well as a later Q&A on Saturday. (Which Nathan Fillion popped into by surprise, mostly to occasionally yell, “You are right, sir.” from the side of the room.)
- He’d love to put together a Broadway show, but it’ll have to wait until he’s not making a million movies.
- He also has a ballet that he’d like to create that’s been nagging at him for years.
- Production on Buffy Season 10 has already begun.
- His favorite death to write? Fred in Angel.
- Apparently Whedon killed Wash in Serenity in response to a conflict with Alan Tudyk’s agent? Whedon didn’t elaborate on this eyebrow raiser.
- That all said, Joss Whedon is really sick of people claiming, even jokingly, that he always kills characters. “I’d love to never hear that again.”
- Whedon has no plans to kill anyone on Agents of SHIELD but will if the story demands it.
- If Joss could put one of his own characters on the Avengers, he’d pick Andrew, just to see how he and Thor would play off of each other. He’d also gladly have other Marvel heroes in the movie if they weren’t licensed by other studios.
- He wouldn’t return to his Wonder Woman script if the studio asked him to, saying, “It’s not a total no, but it would be very hard. She’s a tough one to crack. I don’t like to go back to things, so much, and I also feel like there’s plenty of room for a new icon. So let’s look to the future.”
- Whedon had a vague backstory in mind for how Loki got to the emotional state he’s in at the beginning of Avengers. “He basically went on some horrible walkabout.”
- Joss’ one iron-clad insistence for Agents of SHIELD was that Coulson have “Lola,” his cherry-red convertible.
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and gets a buzz when drinking Captain America Beer, the most strait-laced beer in the world.