It wasn’t that long ago that Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of two Avengers movies that will earn more than $3 billion, had his show canceled by Fox the same day ABC said no more to Hank. His career wasn’t exactly at a crossroads in 2009, but after Buffy and its spin-off Angel lasted seven and five seasons, respectively, it was a disappointment that Firefly and Dollhouse only ran for three combined. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, released in 2008 during the writers strike, was a fantastic distraction, but it wasn’t a huge financial success.
According to Whedon, “with the movie and the soundtrack and everything we’ve been able to do with it,” he and the Dr. Horrible team, including brothers Zack and Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen, only made “over $3 million.” That’s not a bad haul, and surprisingly, he recently told the Wall Street Journal that he made more money on Dr. Horrible than he did directing The Avengers. But he’s set to earn a ton from Age of Ultron and an overall deal from Disney.
Whedon refuted Nikki Finke’s report that he’s making $100 million for Ultron, writing, “I’m not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2. If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh. I’m not making Downey money.” But he added that he’s making “A LOT,” and as Forbes pointed out, “Deadline didn’t actually say that Whedon would make $100 million for the next Avengers movie… Finke is saying that Whedon is getting an overall deal from Disney worth $100 million.” Whatever the case, Joss Whedon isn’t worried about money.
But he might be about the future. All we know about what Whedon has planned post-Avengers 2 is that he isn’t making another Marvel movie. The reigns to the Avengers: Infinity War saga have been passed to Anthony and Joe Russo, because ensemble movies are a “a young man’s game.” He may or may not be sick of Marvel’s “obnoxious marketing presentation” (he may), but right now, he wants to “make a movie about just one person. And not all the people.”
So, what’s next for Whedon? According to an interview with USA Today, he has no idea.
So what’s next for you?
I have absolutely no idea.
See. But I asked some fans of his what they think he’ll do.
I think he goes back with all his Avengers clout and finally gets Goners made. It’s smaller in scale. It has a female lead. It’s a mystery/fantasy/horror — so not a superhero movie — and it’s not a “franchise” project. He’ll get a modest budget, final cut, and he’ll be able to do whatever the hell he wants with it now without any studio interference, because he’s Joss F*cking Whedon.
If I had heard of Goners, I would have made Dustin’s prediction. I feel like he’ll direct an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after he decompresses from Marvel for a bit, and then he’ll write something himself. I get the sense that he does great stuff with other properties, but he might want to come up with something that will cure his frustrations and maybe with his newfound clout, he’ll make the Firefly he didn’t have the chance to make previously. Not a Firefly reboot, of course, but a series. I’d love to see him go edgier and darker and do something for Netflix or cable, but he won’t do a long-running series unless he can change it up like American Horror Story. And then peace out after three seasons.
I would also not be surprised if he disappeared for five years because he spends that time writing something he thinks isn’t good enough to make until he leaks parts of it on the internet and people beg him to make it. And he’ll make it under the radar, it’ll be moderately successful for Whedon devotees, and then he’ll probably get back into franchises again because he likes being financially comfortable like any rational human being. I would not mind seeing him make a Ghostbusters movie.
But I would follow Joss Whedon into hell because he’d be a great navigator with funny jokes and he would never lie to me.
Joss Whedon will direct one of two (or maybe both because, f*ck it, he has clout) projects that people have long believed will never happen. He could direct the long-rumored sequel to The Last Starfighter. Yes, screenwriter and selfish human being Jonathan Betuel said that neither a sequel nor a remake will happen, and that has left the rumored sequel Starfighter in limbo (during which time you’d think a better name was selected). However, along comes Whedon and his Avengers muscles and suddenly we’re all heading back to a bold, beautiful and new version of Rylos to battle the Ko-Dan once more.
Or, Whedon just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, “Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.” Joss Whedon for the next adventures of Jack Burton, please. (With John Carpenter attached as producer and writer, obviously.)
He goes off and does his own thing, which flops, and then we’ll see him on another blockbuster. My guess is he’ll get a Ghostbusters.
The one thing every answer has in common is that Joss Whedon is the Ron Swanson of Hollywood right now. If he wants to make another Buffy movie with Kristy Swanson, except this time, the budget is $150 million, desperate executives would be lining up to ask, “Do you want Rutger Hauer, too?” But outside of a Marvel flick, the only thing he likely won’t do is create another TV show; that’s a multi-year commitment, although a six-episode, standalone Netflix series would be ideal. Whedon has recently said, “I just wanna make a small, small movie,” which is why I think his next project will be the long-awaited Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog 2. We know it’s going to happen eventually, and these are his characters and he has total control.
“I would never rule anything out, because I like working here. By the same token, the biggest thing for me is that I need to do something that I create myself. It’s been way too long since I created a universe. The last thing I did before The Avengers was [directing an episode of] Glee, and in between I did Much Ado About Nothing. So I haven’t created my own universe for over five years. That feels wrong.” (Via)
That’s Whedon speaking to BuzzFeed, when asked about directing a Captain Marvel movie. Dr. Horrible 2 isn’t creating a universe — it was already built in the original — but it would allow him to work out his frustrations about the massive studio system on a smaller scale. A few people might be interested in supervillain Neil Patrick Harris making meta references to Marvel through song.
It’s a brand new day for Whedon, and the possibilities are endless. I just hope one of them is Dr. Horrible.