ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, Joss Whedon may have some slightly out there ideas about what is and isn't a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he's also the guy who made half the world's favorite superhero movie, The Avengers, so he's pretty much earned a lifetime of free passes at this point. What's more, he's remained gloriously tough to pin down when it comes to his future plans regarding the MCU, having both confirmed that he's entirely done with working with Marvel Studios... and then promptly expressing interest in making a female-hero-led Avengers movie, seemingly just to keep us all on our toes.

In other words, not only is Whedon fairly over-burdened with geek credibility, but he seems distinctly unsure as to whether or not he'd like to jump back in to the MCU to earn some more. The big question that raises, though?

Should Joss Whedon Just Go Ahead And Leave The MCU Behind Forever?

The Avengers/Marvel Studios
The Avengers/Marvel Studios

After all, there's some truth to the old adage that "you can't go home again", with nostalgic returns just as often leading to disappointment as to triumph. In the light of Whedon's apparently mixed feelings on his potential return to the MCU, then, is there perhaps an argument to be made that he'd be better off leaving the MCU well enough alone?

And boy, are Whedon's feelings mixed. Check out the articles below for more:

First up, though?

The Pro Column: Joss Whedon Made The Avengers, For Crying Out Loud

The Avengers/Marvel Studios
The Avengers/Marvel Studios

Or, in other words, he's arguably earned enough superhero credit with that one widely beloved movie to make whatever Marvel movies he damn well feels like. Sure, Avengers: Age of Ultron was seen by many as a mild misstep (though a wildly entertaining one), but much of the blame for that seems to have been collectively blamed on the need to set up Marvel's Phase Three, with Whedon's growing frustration with the big-budget movie-making process seen as a lesser influence.

What's more, there's relatively little reason to believe that - after two decades of consistently fan-pleasing work - Whedon is suddenly unable to make a great Marvel movie. Given content that he was genuinely passionate about - a female hero-led Avengers movie, say - then it's entirely possible that we could see a return to 'peak Joss'. Which, seeing as that tends to result in obscenely large box office grosses, would surely be a tempting prospect for Marvel Studios, too.

On the flip side, though...

The Con Column: Joss Whedon (And The MCU) Would Be Better Off If He Went Solo

Avengers: Age of Ultron/Marvel Studios
Avengers: Age of Ultron/Marvel Studios

So, here's the thing. For all that pretty much everyone loved The Avengers, there's a pretty strong argument that much of the best work in the MCU has come from projects where non-Whedon creative voices were dominant. The magnificent weirdness of Guardians of the Galaxy, for instance, is all James Gunn, much as the sleek professionalism of both Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War practically oozes the influence of the Russo Brothers. In other words, the MCU may not be best served by having Joss Whedon working within it (which is to say nothing of the growing criticism of Whedon's approach to women within his movies).

What's more, that same logic suggests that Whedon himself may not be best served by working within the MCU, either. He very obviously - and vocally - struggled to work within Marvel Studios' strict 'studio system', which may well have contributed to Avengers: Age of Ultron's muted reception from fans and critics alike. If, then, Whedon is simply no longer (or perhaps never was) inclined to work within the tight strictures of Marvel Studios' working process, then it's perhaps for the best that he makes a clean break now, with his reputation in tact.

Has Joss Whedon Actually Left The MCU For Good, Then?

Avengers: Age of Ultron/Marvel Studios
Avengers: Age of Ultron/Marvel Studios

Well, perhaps. It's inevitably difficult to know what Whedon is actually thinking - especially since he has expressed such wildly different opinions on the matter over the past year or so - and even more so to know whether Marvel Studios (and Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige) would actually be inclined to bring him back.

What's more, the main logic for avoiding a return - the possibility of diminishing creative returns - is unlikely to be a concern for a man as lightly burdened with self-doubt as Whedon, making any continued absence from the MCU more likely to arise from his own lack of interest. Should he suddenly find himself enthused by a project, then, it seems entirely possible that we could see Whedon return to the MCU (though not before 2020 or so at the earliest).

If the X-Men (a team Whedon has written for Marvel Comics to substantial critical acclaim, and is clearly fond of) were to return to the cinematic fold, for instance, it's easy to imagine Whedon being tempted back along with them.

He's most likely still got a few more superhero landings in him, after all...

What do you reckon, though? Would you like to see Whedon return to the MCU - and if so, what would you like to see him direct? Let us know below!


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