Comic-Con 2013: Joss Whedon in Ballroom 20 Live-Blog

07.19.13 4 years ago 6 Comments

John Shearer/AP

Get ready for all-Joss all-the-time!

I already live-blogged the panel for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” in which almost nothing was revealed, but at least we saw the pilot.

And now, the “Buffy,” “Avengers” and “Dr. Horrible” icon will be greeting the Ballroom 20 faithful for a solo panel on Friday (July 19) night and we’ll be live-blogging the heck out of it. Or I will, though you can’t spell “Whedon” without “We” or “Whe.”

Keeping in mind that Joss talks in long, long sentences that almost never end where they seemed to be beginning, I apologize in advance for whatever I’m not able to catch perfectly.

Follow along!

6:18 p.m. ET. The head of Dark Horse is introducing Joss. If I’m honestly, it’s possible that I’m gonna ignore some of the comics stuff if that comes up.  

6:20 p.m. “I’m not exhausted. Why would you even bring that up? That’s just rude,” Joss begins, unprompted. He greets people both upfront and in the back, calling those of us in the back clearly more important.,

6:21 p.m. There’s our first reference to Joss taking too many jobs. That’s the reason for the exhaustion. “I apologize in advance if I become incoherent or just sleep. But it’ll be cute! I’m cute when I sleep.

6:21 p.m. “Much Ado” plug before he tells us that it’s up to us to steer the conversation.

6:22 p.m. The first question is about Joss’ plan for Wesley and Fred and “Angel” if it hadn’t been cancelled. Or something. It sounds like it would have involved a lot of crying. “And then they’ll turn black and white and everything will be better,” he says, again plugging “Much Ado.”

6:23 p.m. Which death scene was his favorite to write? “It was Fred’s. It was my favorite to write and it was my favorite to shoot, because all the pain was there.”

6:23 p.m. A questioner asks about the various things he’s conquered. He replies “Poland.” She then asks if he’s going to conquer Broadway. “Not any time soon, because to do something successfully on Broadway, it takes years and years of work and unfortunately I’m already booked for years and years of work,” he says. But he ends with, “But yeah. I wear the hands of jazz.”

6:25 p.m. Which scene gives him warm-fuzzies? “Honestly, let’s go back to the death of Fred,” he says. It wasn’t the death so much as the group dynamic and that whole day, which he calls “magically exhausting.” The schwarma scene at the end of “The Avengers” is, in fact, based on the meal he and Amy and Alexis had after that day of work.

6:26 p.m. Does he prefer creating his own universes or working in something like the Marvel Universe. “It’s all good. Ultimately, they get away from you even when you create them.” He says that there’s nothing like creating your own universe, but it always gets out of your hand.

6:27 p.m. Why would Giles not have been able to fly in for Xander and Anya’s wedding? “Well, I’m glad we’re finally getting to the heart of things. He doesn’t like them that much. Let’s face it,” Whedon cracks. “You asks the tough questions, you get the tough truths about humanity,” Whedon warns us.

6:29 p.m. How was “Much Ado” different working with a script he didn’t write? “It was very relaxing,” he admits. After he did the adapting, there was nothing he needed to worry about on the script. “All I got to do was play with the actors in terms of their interpretation and why they were saying what they were saying when,” he says.

6:29 p.m. What was the significance of the change of outfit color between white and red at the end of “Dr. Horrible.” It’s because he lost his virginity. Something about “the marriage bed of villainy.”

6:30 p.m. How would he describe “Avengers 2” in one word? “Movie.” He pauses. “Remember how Dr. Horrible used to have a white coat? The one word I’m gonna use for ‘Avengers 2’ is ‘Red.'” See? That’s actually a good answer.

6:31 p.m. Ideal casting for Abigail Brand? “I don’t have anybody particularly in mind. The first person who comes to mind would be Julianne Moore,” he says.

6:32 p.m. Does Whedon plan to do anything else that isn’t action-adventure? “I aspire to do anything at all that is in any genre: Comedy, musical, many things that do not involve punching. We can’t solve all of our problems through punching. Sometimes we have to sing,” he says. “I get stymied by the family drama. I don’t necessarily know how to approach that,” he says.

6:33 p.m. In the future, if he gets a blank check and access to any character, what would he make? “This is turning increasingly into a game show,” he says. After making sure he can do one of his own properties, he says, “If it’s anything, we should probably get the crew of Serenity back together.”

6:34 p.m. Who is his favorite female character to write and to watch? First he talks about “the crazies,” specifically Illyria, Drusilla et all. “It’s the closest I ever get to writing free-form poetry,” he says. But he ends with, “At the end of the day, I pretty much fall back into Buffy. She says the things that need to be said and then she adds a “y” to the end of them.”

6:36 p.m. Is Joss going to take a consulting element to make sure that other Marvel properties get developed properly for when they become part of his Avengers universe? “Nothing’s under my control. I do actually have a consulting deal with Marvel. It’s not for that reason, but it’s part of that. I get involved with all of their movies and a certain TV show,” he says.

6:37 p.m. He’s asked about Fitz and Simmons, the two British scientists in “S.H.I.E.L.D.” and when he’s going to kill them. “I have no intention of killing anybody from the ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ pilot,” he says. Somebody yells “Liar!” “Oh? It’s like that? S***’s gonna get real. I’m gonna kill them because you said that,” he says. “I don’t create characters so I can get rid of them. I create characters so I can love them,” he insists. He reminds us that he killed Wash for contractual reasons. “If I didn’t kill him, the number of people that I seem to kill and then bring back would be totally embarrassing,” he says. “I couldn’t get away with any of that if I hadn’t.” He adds, “I do like to do it to somebody you care about suddenly, because that’s what happened to me and that’s what happens in life. And the fact that you guys give me so much s*** about it means I’m probably doing it right.”

6:41 p.m. A question about developing the Thor/Loki relationship. Whedon credits Drew Goddard for being a sounding board for the Thor/Loki dynamic in “The Avengers.” Whedon says he got to do some work on “Thor 2,” continuing to tweak the brother relationship. “I think there’s some fun stuff coming up between the two of them in the next one,” Whedon says.

6:42 p.m. How would he respond to people saying he can’t be a feminist because he’s a man. “How do you respond to that? I mean, I can’t be a woman, because I’m a man. Or I guess you can…” he says. “I just don’t think that’s a valid comment. I think there’s a perspective I can’t have and I’m fully aware of that.” He says, though, that it’s all about “wishing that one half of the human race could be treated as well as the other half of the human race.”

6:44 p.m. Oh no! Our first person calls him “Josh.” On “Firefly” were they ever worried about being censored for using Chinese cursing? They were told up-front that they couldn’t curse in Chinese, so they… made stuff up? Unclear. 

This is getting really long… Much more on Page 2…

6:45 p.m. A “pastor by trade” tells Joss that he loved “Cabin in the Woods.” He wants to know if “Cabin” is a commentary on “substitutionary atonement.” “I’m gonna have to say ‘No.’ And I’m tell you why: I don’t know what you just said. I will also say: It very well might be,” he says, explaining about the open meaning of things. He closes with, “Maybe, but not deliberately or specifically.”

6:47 p.m. Which of his other characters would he put on The Avengers? “Yup. It’s gonna be Andrew… Just one Andrew-Thor scene and my life is complete,” he says. Heh.

6:48 p.m. He is asked about his journey from writing in college and becoming a God at Comic-Con? He’s happy to have succeeded, it turns out. He is, however, a  little sad. “I can’t walk the floor the same way. I haven’t been able to sign anything, because my resources are tapped out,” he laments. But mostly he isn’t sad. He’s happy to be a writer who people care about. “I didn’t dream about this, because this didn’t exist,” he says.

6:50 p.m. How does he find time? “I don’t,” he says. He refers to the fact that he keeps having to push a “Dr. Horrible” sequel. “I’ve gotta slow down, or you’re gonna notice. ‘Didn’t he write that already?’ And then there’s gonna be a cut-down of me on the Internet repeating myself?

6:51 p.m. He’s always wanted to write and direct an animated feature. He feels, however, that all of the CG-animated films have become the same film. He wants to see a PG-13 “tougher, more adolescent adventure story.” He compares American animation to the more adult animation coming out of Japan. “They’re not afraid to say ‘Grown-ups want to see animation too,'” he says.

6:52 p.m. Which one of his projects and which one of anything does he geek out about? “I don’t really geek out about my own projects. I think that would be even more narcissistic than I usually am,” he says. He says that he geeked out at the Saturns with Jonathan Banks and he geeked out the first time he met Bernadette Peters. “In general, I’m incredibly calm. Mostly. Sorry. I should geek out about more things. That would be a better answer,” he says.

6:54 p.m. What established property that he hasn’t been involved with would he like to be? “I don’t have a huge answer to that,” he says. He acknowledges the irony of saying it after he did Shakespeare and as he’s doing more  Marvel, but he says, “I do feel like we are in desperate need of new content. I feel like pop culture is eating itself at a rate that is soon going to become very dangerous,” he says. He thinks it’s important to create new icons and new messages “so that 10 years from now we can reboot those.”

6:56 p.m. At the end of “Buffy” were Xander and Anya back together? “They weren’t definitely anything. They had reach some kind of accord,” he says. But he says that their story is never really over. 

6:58 p.m. Would Joss consider going back to Wonder Woman? “No. Uh… It’s not a total no, but it would be very hard… For one thing, I told a story. I never actually told it the way I wanted,” he says. He had an outline where he liked the structure and it was rejected. “She’s a tough nut to crack. I don’t like to go back to things so much and I also feel like, again, there’s plenty of room for a new iconic female heroine.”

6:59 p.m. “We don’t have that plan. We can’t afford her. But we do hope to see her again,” Whedon says of Cobie Smulders’ future on “S.H.I.E.L.D.”

7:00 p.m. Would he ever adapt another Dark Horse property? “No. Again, there’s a way into any story and those stories have a lot of juice. But is the world ready for a ‘Hellboy’ movie? I don’t think so,” he jokes. “I’m not looking at anybody else’s properties,” he says, noting that “Global Frequency” was the last outside property he wanted to put his spin on. 

7:02 p.m. If he didn’t have legal issues, which one of the New Avengers might he like to work with? “I’d take them all. Spider-Man. Wolverine. Luke Cage,” he says. “Then I would shoot myself, because I’d have 20 characters to write…I just want to write a movie about ONE character,” he says.

7:03 p.m. Is he thinking of expanding on the “Firefly” universe with a new TV show or comic series? “Yes. I’ve thought about it. We’ve done some comics. Gonna do some more. And I’ve thought about other TV series that could have been spun off from that,” he says. Again, he says that the problem is time.

7:03 p.m. Questioner’s favorite “Buffy” episode is “Normal Again.” She wants to know where it came from. For years they’d wanted to do a mental institution episode. He enjoyed actually doing it, because it became about the creative process. 

7:06 p.m. How does he go from the big ideas to the smaller moments? “A lot of the overall vision comes from the minute, comes from the moments,” he says. “For me, I’m really starting small. I’m somebody in that world and I want to know what they’re going through, so I actually build from the inside-out.”

7:07 p.m. How did he manager to put all of the “Avengers” cast into one film and make it work? “I think the appeal of The Avengers is that it doesn’t work,” he says. “You’re sorta inoculated against the absurdity by the fact that the people in that world recognize that absurdity.” People thought “The Avengers” wasn’t supposed to work, but through his whole childhood he grew up on stories that didn’t seem to go together, but worked. He references the “Howard the Duck” comic as a world that was about how collided worlds didn’t work. He never had to be talked into believe this made sense. He doesn’t have to create sense for himself. He just needs to make other people believe it. He says he loves Martin Campbell, but that “Green Lantern” wasn’t his thing and it shows.

7:10 p.m. Does he have any timetable at all on “Dr. Horrible 2”? “It was supposed to happen this year, but then I made ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.'” and while everybody wants to do it, nobody has time. He doesn’t have a plan for after May 2015. He says that he’s “desperate to do another ‘Dr. Horrible,’ but not as desperate as I am to do something that I’ve never done before.”

7:11 p.m. If he could do any other Shakespeare work and why? “‘Hamlet’ and do I really have to explain that?” he says. I’d watch Joss Whedon’s “Hamlet.”

7:13 p.m. “I do think it might have been a little bit out of character, but that was the point. She was doing something that was out of character,” Joss says of Buffy’s lesbian romance in the comics.

7:14 p.m. It’s time for the panel to end. “You know what matters most… and it’s me. If you knew what I actually think of myself. But I do know this: As always, I’m always so grateful to you for coming out and listening to me blather,” he says.

That’s all, folks….

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