In Hollywood, it seems as though everyone is talking, all the time. Inevitably, a lot of it is just noise and carries little meaning, but once in a while, if you really pay attention, someone seems to let something slip that is very important indeed. This week, it looks like that someone is writer/director Drew Pearce, and that something is Joss Whedon’s involvement with The Avengers 3.
If Marvel were a big city law firm, Drew Pearce would be a talented, up-and-coming associate, while Joss Whedon would be a full partner with an enormous corner office. As Whedon delivered the unprecedented behemoth that was 2012’s The Avengers, Pearce wrote the screenplay for 2013’s Iron Man 3 with the director of that film, Shane Black. He has also written and directed his first ‘Marvel One Shot’ – short films that exist within the Marvel narrative – All Hail The King.
It was during the promotion of this short film that Pearce made some very enlightening comments as he was interviewed by Movies.com. Asked if his short film will tie in anywhere else in the cinematic universe at some point in the future, Pearce explained:
“Honestly, it’s a question above my pay grade. One of the things when you’re a writer or director in the Marvel universe is you come in, you leave some tasty morsels dangling at the end, and maybe you’re the one who comes in and picks them up again next time, or maybe it’s someone else, or maybe they just hang there awhile and that’s fine too. Despite any cliffhanger-ness to the short, I also don’t feel like it’s unsatisfying. That’s all you can really hope to do. Unless you’re Joss [Whedon] and you’re making Avengers 2 and 3, and then you have a pretty good idea if you’re making the next one or not.”
Though Joss Whedon has not been officially confirmed for The Avengers 3 yet, this comment has all the resonance of a fact well-known within the Marvel camp, and it is important for two reasons. Firstly, Whedon’s involvement in a third Avengers instalment makes it a relatively safe bet, which is reassuring to audiences and business people alike. While some might suggest that it is no surprise that Whedon would remain on-board the juggernaut he set rolling in the first place, let’s not forget that it was a fresh writing and directing team that delivered Iron Man 3 after Jon Favreau’s first two instalments. One director kickstarting a wildly successful franchise at Marvel does not guarantee the same face will be at the helm throughout. Secondly, if Whedon is already locked in for Avengers 3, his approach to Avengers: Age Of Ultron may be more inclusive of a third instalment than perhaps it otherwise would be. While those cliffhangers would dangle regardless – as Pearce states – Whedon may well play them differently if he already knows he is coming back.
These are all exciting long-term prospects for fans of the Marvel films, although there is still over a year to wait for Avengers: Age Of Ultron to hit the big screen (May 2015). While we wait, there is All Hail The King to enjoy – Pearce’s short film spin-off from Iron Man 3, featuring Sir Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery (aka ‘The Mandarin’) being interviewed by a documentary filmmaker while in jail. The 14 minute-short recently enjoyed a special fan premiere at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinema, along with a sneak preview of ten minutes of footage from Captain America: the Winter Soldier.
Both were well-received and, although Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not released until March 28 in the UK (April 4 in the US), fans can grab All Hail The King for their very own, as part of the special features included with the newly released Blu-ray of Thor: The Dark World.
Now, looking ahead, and with the shadow of Avengers 3 on the distant horizon, what are the implications for the ever-growing release slate competition between Marvel and DC? With Avengers: Age Of Ultron arriving in 2015, and the release of the provisionally titled Batman Vs Superman now pushed to 2016, will 2017 be a cinematic duel between Avengers 3 and Justice League?