What was your process, when you sat down and said ‘I’ve got to write this’?
Well, the first part of it is just extraordinary fun, which is “What would these characters say to each other? how would they define themselves?” And I got to spend a few weeks just floating in that o-zone, “what if we did this?” and “ooh!”
Most of that stuff never sees the light of day, but it does sock you into it. Once you get into the practical stuff, like “How does this guy...”, it’s a nightmare. And it’s a recurring nightmare, because it was so much like Serenity in that way. So I really sort of went “Oh, God, I’ve done it again!” Because Serenity was pulling teeth to figure out the structure. And the same was true of The Avengers. And because we had a release date, we had to start production, it was a fairly terrifying experience at that point. But once it started to fall into place, I got back to the fun part.
How did you coalesce the many character backgrounds into one movie?
Well, you don’t try to make anybody else’s movie. Jon Favreau’s going to do a thing, Ken’s going to do a thing. I’m going to do something else. And obviously Iron Man’s very grounded in the real world, and that was the trademark, Captain America was a period piece, and Thor, obviously, was not grounded entirely in the real world. You have all of these disparate elements, you just have to create an atmosphere, and a look, where they all seem to feel natural.
And it’s not actually that difficult, because the people who are just finding out what’s going on, people like Tony Stark - him finding out there’s an Asgardian god hanging around... The science is there. A great scientist is more open to a new idea than almost anybody. And so, there is no impossible paradigm. No one clutches their head and goes “No! It can’t be!” They’re all so extraordinary that it doesn’t really faze them that there’s somebody else extraordinary about.
And then, are you in the conversation when Marvel Studios talk about future sequels and further films?
Yes, the other reason I cite comics is that there’s also a larger universe going on that you have to respect. I’m not going to do something that’s going to make Captain America 2 impossible, I’m not going to take something that should be in Thor 2 and put it in my film. I am trying to tee them up as much as I’m recovering from whatever they gave me. But, again, it just makes it an interesting puzzle, and although I’m not a genius of plot, I do enjoy a puzzle.
There is a little bit of “Right, how can I progress the characters, without solving all their problems?”. I like things where you feel the resolve is “we’ve made a step forward”, not “we’ve completed the journey”. That’s something with Buffy that we were very strict about, it wasn’t “well we’ve certainly cured that guy’s ills forever!”, it was like “okay, we’ve saved him from the thing, and eventually maybe he’ll be able to deal with the trauma”. It’s always a process.
Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”--the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, & directed by Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble on May 4, 2012. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013!; and “Thor 2” on November 15, 2013.