Joss Whedon, the writer and director of The Avengers, took part in a post-screening Q&A at Hollywood's Director’s Guild of America recently, during which he revealed some fascinating details on how his script for the superhero mash-up came to be.
Perhaps the most interesting revelations was that Marvel character the Wasp - real name: Janet Van Dyne, a woman blessed with the power, like Ant-Man, to shrink in size (as well as fly with tiny wings and fire 'stings') - was in one of Whedon's early drafts, only to be removed when Black Widow was given a bigger role.
“There was a little bit of time where we thought we might not actually get Scarlett [Johansson]. There was a very Waspy draft that I wrote. But it was way too Waspy. I was like, 'She's adorable! I'm just going to watch her!'”
Whedon also said that he didn't originally just want one villain in the mix, but he's not going to name who else he had in mind in case he, she or it is used again in a future project.
“I'm not going to tell you [who it is] because that [villain] might crop up another time. But I definitely felt like, 'I've got Earth's mightiest heroes. I've got four of the biggest, baddest, toughest guys out there and I've got one effete British character actor.'"
"[The producers] believed very strongly that they didn't want to add any more mythology, I think was the thing. But it took me a long time to accept that because I was like, ‘They need someone to hit!'”
“The ace in the hole is Tom Hiddleston because he’s so compelling and commanding and gracious about it that it became, ‘Oh it’s about how he gets in their heads – it’s going to be fine. But it took me a long time to accept that because they need someone to hit!”
Whedon also mentioned that Iron Man had a much longer introduction which was cut, as did Captain America (a section of which you can see as a deleted scene on the Avengers DVD and Blu-ray), and said that he wrote a 15-page version of the New York fight, complete with “five acts, with a prologue" that ended up being pretty close to the final finished product.
Other stuff that's already out there but is still intriguing: the first draft was too full of "dry wit" from all the characters; Agent Coulson’s death was encouraged by Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige early on (and Clark Gregg approved); Whedon (like many others) has “no clue how the Tesseract got to Earth.”
Whedon also took the time to compare The Avengers 2 to The Empire Strikes Back:
“I still believe that even though The Empire Strikes Back is better in innumerable ways than Star Wars, Star Wars wins because you can’t end a movie with Han frozen in carbonite. That’s not a movie, it’s an episode.”
Plenty of stuff to think about. Will the Wasp be a part of Avengers 2? How will Edgar Wright's take on Ant-Man fit into proceedings? Speak your brains in the comment box below and remember that Avengers 2 will hit cinemas on May 1, 2015.