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Tuesday 11 January 2011, by Webmaster
What To Expect When Expecting Joss Whedon’s Avengers
The Avengers assembling will dominate 2011. Be prepared!
It is 2011. The fateful hour approaches. The Avengers will assemble, Joss Whedon will call action, and geekdom will prepare for the cataclysm. They will either be torn asunder or united forever in conjugal bliss. Geekdom could, in fact, cease to exist because the Whedon magic will extend and encompass so many people that fans of The Avengers will just be "people who liked The Avengers movie" and not simply dismissed as comic fanboys and fangirls.
It’s going to be the biggest thing since we first learned a man could fly. It’s sort of terrifying, actually. You already can’t get into Hall H in any given Comic-Con. Comic books may still not be selling very briskly, but people are all about the villain in the next Batman movie. With The Avengers, that frenzy and obsession may be quadrupled. The Internet may explode when the first official still comes out. They may start camping out for the 2013 Comic-Con as the 2012 one kicks off. The Internet will break down over Skrull rumors or images of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
While I don’t want to engage in hyperbole, I’m fairly sure the world of cinema will never be the same. There’s probably a reason 2013 is currently void of release dates. We’re all scared. What will happen? Will The Avengers be so awful it collapses cinema and ushers in a gritty ’70s renaissance? Or will it elevate genre movies to the ethereal popcorn point that no one can ever top? It seems destined to be a genre killer, good or bad.
I don’t know. I’m eager to find out. But until we have some concrete clues (you know, paparazzi shots of costumes that will shatter expectations, script leaks, the teaser), here’s what to expect when we’re expecting Joss Whedon’s Avengers.
1. The Avengers will tear geekdom apart.
Only one man can truly unify comic book geeks, and that man is Christopher Nolan. Everyone else walks on very thin ice, and a mere mention of a name (Sam Raimi or Jon Favreau, for example) will bring on the defenders and detractors in equal measure. Joss Whedon is no exception. While it seems as though he enjoys a universal love among nerds, a scan at any comments field across our Internet finds a mixture of breathy praise and bitter criticism. He may even be more divisive because of his fervent cult following, who tend to turn off moderates and conservatives with their "shiny!" and "gorram!" and Buffy gifs. The debate as to whether Whedon will ruin The Avengers has already started. It will only grow worse, and unless The Avengers is as good as (or better than) The Dark Knight, there’s never going to be a geek consensus. A vocal faction of "real Avengers fans" will spring up, and no forum or comment field will be free of them.
2. Whedon fans will love it. They already do.
Whedon has an incredibly passionate following, and it’s safe to say the "Whedonites" don’t really criticize him. They’ve loved everything he’s ever done, and mourn its loss bitterly. They plot endlessly for the return of Dr. Horrible or Mal Reynolds. (At least they have good reason to, unlike fans of other franchises who beg for it to be put down. I’ll let you fill in the blank.) They already love The Avengers, and nothing beyond Whedon being booted off the project will change their mind. If that outlandish scenario happened, then Whedon’s Avengers will join his Wonder Woman script as the greatest thing that might have been. (Before you flame me for being anti-Whedonite might this be a good time to mention I knit Jayne hats while wearing a Browncoat hoodie ...?)
3. Feminist blogs will be debating it from the time the final cast list is posted until dust settles on its DVD case.
Whedon has a devoted female following because he writes strong, competent heroines. He is an outspoken feminist, and supports Equality Now. He’s already promised that Black Widow won’t be the only tough lady in The Avengers cast, so there will be fodder for feminist discussion. And oh, how there will be discussion. Now, I love the feminist corner of the Internet (I read all the blogs I have eyeballs for), but they can be predictable. For every post praising Whedon’s Avengers script, there will be another exposing his feminist characters as sexist tropes. Both sides will be picked up and run into the ground, with a healthy number of sideline commenters insisting he only speaks about feminism to seem liberal, intelligent, and appealing. I’m exhausted just thinking about the blogosphere frenzy.
4. The Avengers team will speak in cute and quirky dialogue.
Enough about fandom. What will the movie itself be like? I imagine it will be pocked with Whedon’s odd slang and pop culture references. This is one very divisive point (see No. 1), and it’s hard to believe he’ll really dial back what fans generally love him for. One can only assume his trademark style was why Marvel hired him in the first place. So expect Tony Stark to start ending a lot of his words in a "y," and say things like "Captain Logic isn’t steering this tugboat" when he finds out about Thor, Asgard, and the world of the mystical.
5. There will be a horrific and gut-churning death in Act 3.
Whedon is legendary (and rightfully stereotyped) for his pulled-the-rug-out character deaths. He’s especially notorious for killing people just as they’ve consummated their love. As he said in his own blog post about a theoretical new Firefly: "People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don’t like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy." Expect Pepper Potts or Jane Foster (mere love interests) to be murdered quite gruesomely.
6. There will be at least one (if not more) actor or actress from a past Whedon universe.
Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, James Marsters, Eliza Dushku ... clear your schedule and stay by your phone. You too, Felicia Day. And you, Neil Patrick Harris. Heck, there’s probably a part for you too, Adam Baldwin. This is a big movie, and it’s going to need a lot of supporting characters. It’s also going to need key cameos to set up further Marvel universe adventures. Who is to say the future Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, or Luke Cage is not within the Whedon stable?
7. The villain the Avengers fight will be something huge, destructive, and vicious. But the real villain will be ....
Whedon loves shadowy cabals. Though he enjoys pitting his heroes and heroines against all number of nasties — Reavers, demons, vampires, mercenaries — the real villain is usually something much larger, creepier, and weird. It’s the Alliance, it’s the Senior Partners, it’s the First Evil ... and who knows who it will be in The Avengers. The Avengers will probably have to fight something smallish, such as the Hulk, but the real threat will be something massive and shapeshifting. Something like a Skrull invasion.