Updated – 4:28 PM PST – Marvel has provided HitFix with the following statement regarding Whedon’s “Avengers” status.
“Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel”s The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel”s cinematic universe.”
The “help develop” portion of the statement clarifies that Whedon may not take full reins of a future ABC series, but assist in overall efforts. ABC has been developing a new “Incredible Hulk” series with Guillermo del Toro and Marvel. Additionally, “Twilight” and “Dexter” scribe Melissa Rosenberg has spoken at length publicly about a “Jewel/Jennifer Jones” pilot script she worked on in 2011.
Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger told analysts during an earnings conference call today that Joss Whedon has been signed to direct and write “Avengers 2” and that the veteran TV talent will create a Marvel based series for ABC.
HitFix has reached out to both Marvel Studios and ABC for confirmation.
Whedon told a “Firefly” panel at Comic-Con 2012 last month in San Diego that he hadn’t committed yet to a sequel, but it was expected Disney would make it worth his while after the critical acclaim and box office success of the superhero team movie.
“The Avengers” has grossed an astonishing $1.4 billion worldwide including $616 million in the U.S. There is no official release date for the second installment of the series, but it’s believed the earliest it could hit theaters is summer 2015. Currently, Marvel has “iron Man 3” in production for a May, 3, 2013 release. “Thor: The Dark World” just began shooting and is scheduled to open on Nov. 8, 2013. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is set for April 4, 2014. At Comic-Con, Marvel announced that the relatively unknown “Guardians of the Galaxy” will debut on Aug. 1, 2014.
Best known for creating the iconic TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Whedon most recent TV endeavor was the FOX series “Dollhouse. The Eliza Dushku drama ran for 27 episodes in 2009 and 2010. He has not been linked to any other television pilots since, though Whedon’s webseries “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will have its TV premiere this October on The CW. Whedon told Comic-Con fans that a second “Dr. Horrible” project is in development, albeit with no timetable.