It would be easy to pin the success of Marvel on its iconic characters or the family-friendly tone of the films, but what many overlook is the vital contribution each director has made to the construction of the MCU. Of all the filmmakers involved with Marvel, Joss Whedon has arguably been the most important, directing the two movies that tied all of the preceding films together, Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The news that Whedon officially left Marvel Studios following the lukewarm response to Age of Ultron was a blow for many fans, although his return to the comics themselves alleviated this disappointment somewhat.
Since then, things have been somewhat quiet on the Whedon front, until recently, when the fan-favorite filmmaker announced a welcome return to directing, revealing to The Wrap that he's begun work on a personal project about —
“...a girl who goes through some unbelievable shit.”
While this synopsis is vague to say the least, any news that the man who created Buffy is working on a female-led project will always be welcome. However, in the same interview, Whedon also dropped some even more exciting news regarding his current relationship with Marvel Studios.
When asked if he'd be interesting in directing a female-driven Avengers franchise, Whedon said:
“Yeah, of course. Although I tend more towards the Jessica Jones-ey kind of stories than the delightful Supergirl stories that my daughter wants.”
Those who assume that Whedon may be referring to some secret involvement in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie will be disheartened to learn that he's officially denied these rumors, although he gives full credit to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who —
"...fought a mighty fight to get her on the schedule...It’s a start. You could say that should be a middle, but it’s a start.”
How Can Marvel Lure Whedon Back?
Assuming that Whedon would genuinely return to Marvel if the conditions were right, there are a number of potential projects that would follow the guidelines that he's set.
The most obvious choice would be a solo Black Widow movie. Whedon has directed Scarlett Johansson twice in the role already and with Feige's public commitment to making this film a reality, the creator of TV's Buffy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a perfect fit for everyone's favorite ex-KGB assassin.
Alternatively, Marvel would be foolish to discount Whedon if they ever decide to create a Scarlet Witch spin-off film. Whedon made a name for himself writing dark female characters who struggle to contain their destructive power — think Firefly's River or Buffy's Willow — and comic book fans know that Wanda Maximoff's potential for destruction extends far beyond the tragic opening scenes of Captain America: Civil War.
Other potential candidates include the Wasp or even a solo Gamora film, but what we would really love to see is a cinematic adaptation of A-Force, Marvel's new comic that stars an entirely female ensemble of superheroes, including the likes of She-Hulk and Medusa.
Will Whedon Actually Return To The MCU?
The chance of an A-Force movie actually happening in the near future is unlikely, the comic isn't well-established yet, but Whedon has proved time and time again that he would be one of the best directors out there for the project if it's ever green-lit. Furthermore, DC has now confirmed development of a female-led Harley Quinn spin-off, which could prompt Marvel to contend with their own super-heroine ensemble.
For now though, Whedon is happy with working on his own original content, but his long-standing relationship with Marvel both on and off screen still gives fans hope that he could bring his own unique vision to "the Jessica Jones-ey kind of stories" that we would all love to see him develop.
While we patiently wait for Whedon to blow us away with a new super-heroine movie from Marvel, reminisce with this Black Widow from the first Avengers movie, which encapsulates exactly why we need Whedon's return to comic book movies asap.