Shortly after the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, director Joss Whedon revealed in several interviews that the process of making a sequel to one of the biggest movies of all time “broke him.” He hinted numerous times that he had clashed with Marvel about certain aspects of the movie. Earlier this week during a Tribeca Film Festival panel with Mark Ruffalo, the filmmaker shed some new light on a scene that didn’t make it into the movie, which involved Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). While he wouldn’t say exactly what happened in this scene, he did tease that it would have wrapped up the potential romance between these characters.
“The word came down to cut out the ending. Which I understood. They were like, ‘Don’t resolve this, leave it in the air, and then we’ll solve it later.’ And I understood it, and agree with what they wanted. But I also underestimated, a) the ripple effect, and b) just the fact that it was really wonderful. It plays better if it finishes, it plays better within the movie. There are things later on where [Scarlett Johansson] was playing the kind of fatalistic cool that actually didn’t make sense without the resolve having already happened.”
At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk steals a Quinjet and takes off for parts unknown, although we learn later on that the ship has landed near Fiji. Avengers: Age of Ultron is still a critical and commercial hit, taking in $459 million domestically and $1.4 billion worldwide, with a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score, although 2012’s The Avengers bested the sequel in all of those areas. Director Joss Whedon revealed at the film festival that the movie didn’t necessarily meet his own high expectations, while adding that he shouldn’t have spoke out against Marvel while doing press for the movie.
“There are things that did not meet my expectations of myself, and I was so beaten down by the process. Some of that was conflicting with Marvel, which is inevitable, but a lot of it was about my own work. And I was also exhausted, and then we went right away and did publicity, and I sort of created the narrative, wherein I’m not quite accomplished, and people just ran with that: ‘Well, it’s okay, it could be better, but it’s not Joss’ fault.’ And I think that did a disservice to the movie and to the studio and to myself. Ultimately, it was not the right way to be, because I am very proud of it.”
After Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters, the director claimed that the movie was a failure, despite critical acclaim and huge numbers at the box office. Nearly a year after the movie was released, the filmmaker has a different perspective, and thinks he was “bonkers” for calling the movie a failure, while expressing his gratitude to Marvel for letting him make these movies. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say, admitting that the things that are wrong with the movie still “frustrate” him.
“The things about it that are wrong frustrate me enormously, and I probably had more of those than I had on other movies I made. But I also got to make, for the second time, an absurdly personal movie where I got to talk about how I felt about humanity and what it means in very esoteric and bizarre ways for hundreds of millions of dollars. The fact that Marvel gave me that opportunity twice is so bonkers and so beautiful, and the fact that I come off of it feeling like a miserable failure is also bonkers, but not in a cute way.”
Mark Ruffalo also admitted during the panel that he “begged” Joss Whedon to direct the next two Avengers movies, along with Thor: Ragnarok, but the director said “I’ll never do it again.” The director did tease that he finished writing a new script, which he says is “super good” and a “departure” from the kind of storytelling he has done in the past. He wouldn’t reveal anything else about the story at this time, but hopefully we’ll find out more about this mystery project soon.