The Avengers: Age of Ultron is still almost a year away, but it looks like that hasn't stopped the one rumor we've all been dreading making its way to our ears, screens and increasingly aching hearts...
Joss Whedon might not be directing The Avengers 3.
Now, as things stand, this one is still very much just a rumor - even the journalist reporting it, BadAssDigest's Devin Faraci, is only reporting "rumblings from behind-the-scenes that he's pretty much finished with the Marvel stuff". That being said, Faraci is usually a pretty reliable source for this sort of thing, and his basic logic - that no director has ever worked with Marvel more than twice - is sound, and beginning to look like a distinct trend.
The most interesting part of Faraci's report, though? Who he believes is set to replace Whedon.
A certain Mr James Gunn.
Interviewing Gunn recently, Faraci noticed that the director corrected himself after stating that he was signed on for a further Guardians of the Galaxy movie, revealing instead that:
"Actually my contract just says another Marvel film, it doesn't specify."
Faraci, clearly sensing a story in there somewhere, followed up with:
"How far along are you in negotiations with Kevin Feige to direct Avengers 3?"
His description of Gunn's response is...intriguing:
"I have seen James Gunn in social settings and in press settings, and at this moment I saw James Gunn in one way I had never before seen him: speechless. He kind of sat there gobsmacked for a second. And then he said, "It was great seeing you!" as our interview time was up."
Which, as Faraci is the first to admit, is a long way from a confirmation - especially as Kevin Feige, when asked if Gunn will direct Avengers 3, was quick to pointedly deny it.
That said, though - Feige has never been especially averse to misleading us all in order to protect a secret, or to withhold information until it suits Marvel Studios to release it.
Which means Faraci's line of thinking might not be as out there as it seems.
Which got us thinking - if Whedon were to leave, who could replace him?
Let's start with the Guardians director - and presumed favorite for the role should it become vacant:
The Insider: James Gunn
Pros: Marvel know him, Marvel love him - and he'd most likely be Whedon's nomination for a successor. Plus, seeing as the Guardians of the Galaxy are likely to show up in Avengers 3 anyway, it's not as though he wouldn't already be prepared.
Cons: He's probably already halfway into pre-production for Guardians 2 - and that film aside, hasn't proven himself on the epic scale that Avengers 3 arguably requires. Then again, neither had Whedon when he took the job...
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: Nathan Fillion is going to be in Guardians of the Galaxy. Which means he'd probably end up in a major role in Avengers 3.
The Maestro: Guillermo Del Toro
Pros: Pacific. Rim. Also just imagine all those years of sci-fi/horror awesomeness, added to the arrival of Thanos.
Cons: He's likely too much of a maverick to be able to navigate the Marvel Studios system - and his visual style could be a little too out there for Kevin Feige... Now, Dr Strange...that would have been a good fit...
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: The Hulk...versus a Kaiju. Yes please.
The Prodigy: J.J. Abrams
Pros: There's probably no-one around with more experience of modern sci-fi action blockbuster directing - or being a team player within a bigger studio-led picture. Plus, it looks like his time with the Star Wars universe might be briefer than we were all expecting...
Cons: Would Abrams really jump on board another major franchise so soon after Episode VII? Answers on a postcard...
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: The potential for a Kirk/Han/Stark crossover short. Crossing the streams wouldn't even cover it...
The New Kid on the Block: Matt Reeves
Pros: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is doing good business - and shows he's capable of stepping into a franchise and continuing its success. Plus, Mo-Cap experience is never a bad thing when working with The Hulk.
Cons: He's not a name, and could be seen as lacking the experience of directing the big name movie stars - and the ego issues that go with them - that the Avengers franchise is full of.
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: Andy Serkis as everything.
The Old Hand: Ridley Scott
Pros: He's got more experience than almost anyone directing today - and does epic better than anyone. If you want a safe pair of hands, you could hardly do better (short of Spielberg, perhaps...)
Cons: He'd be unlikely to actually do it, for one. For another, he's not exactly set the box office on fire of late.
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: Russell Crowe as the occasional Avenger Hercules would be the greatest (and silliest) thing to ever happen on screen:
The Wildcard: Edgar Wright
Pros: He's awesome, has geek cred to burn, and has already been working with Marvel for years...
Cons: Those years didn't, uh, end so well...
The Tony Stark/RDJ X Factor of Marvel Awesomeness: We'd finally get to see Ant-Man in the Avengers...
Or, y'know, they could just keep Whedon on, and not make enemies of pretty much every Avengers fan in the world.
[The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) is set for release May 1, 2015, directed by Joss Whedon. After that? Who knows...
What do you guys think? Who should direct The Avengers 3?
via Bad Ass Digest