Disney announced its Q3 earnings to investors this afternoon, and in doing so revealed that Joss Whedon will direct The Avengers 2. According to /Film, who was listening in on the conference call, Whedon will both write and direct the sequel to this summer’s mammoth blockbuster success.
The news is great for Marvel movie fans. Many questioned whether even someone as talented as the Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator could pull off a film with that many major characters, yet Whedon did so with relative ease, balancing humor with large-scale action.
Other than Jon Favreau, who directed the first two Iron Man films, Marvel Studios has been uninterested in upping the pay grade for its directors to return for sequels. The studio let Kenneth Branagh walk from Thor 2 as well as Joe Johnston from Captain America: The First Avenger, but an Avengers film is simply too massive an undertaking to bring on someone unprepared for a project of that scale.
The timing of the announcement makes sense, as Disney’s earnings this quarter likely came in large part thanks to The Avengers, and word that the same creative integrity will go into a film a few years down the line guarantees the commercial viability of the Marvel/Disney partnership for a long time to come.
Hopefully it’s the beginning of a long partnership between Whedon and the studios as well. Disney CEO Bob Iger also announced Whedon will help develop the TV series involving Marvel characters/taking place in the Marvel universe that the studio has been developing.
Marvel and Disney have not announced a release date for The Avengers 2, but it’s expected to be released Summer 2015.