* Warning: Article contains mild spoilers for some of Joss Whedon's previous output *
Marvel Studios has been guarding the secrets of Avengers Assemble so closely that even after several trailers we still barely even know what it’s going to be about. But given writer/director Joss Whedon’s past form, we can make some educated guesses about what we can expect from his approach...
Iron Man/Tony Stark
We can expect Whedon to give him the brains of Dollhouse’s Topher teamed with the mouth of Captain Mal Reynolds. A fearsome (and surefire comedy gold) combination.
Captain America/Steve Rogers
Please don’t make him all bland patriotic army-guy like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ill-advised Riley. Please. It’s more likely (hopefully) that Whedon will make him more like Angel during one of his good ol’ days reveries, with the clear morals of early-Buffy Willow and the polite fuddy-duddyness of Firefly’s Simon Tam.
Whedon’s done a god before in the shape of Buffy villain Glory, but I doubt Thor would look so good in strappy red heels. He might have the same spoilt sense of entitlement though. However, his angsty relationship with the film’s bad guy might make Thor this film’s Buffy Summers.
The Hulk/Bruce Banner
With Bruce Banner we basically have Buffy’s Oz – a good-natured, laconic, smart guy hiding a rampaging monster inside him. Whedon even did an episode in which a particularly furious Oz spontaneously transformed into a werewolf outside of a full moon, so he has form with rage monsters.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
In Whedon’s hands I’m hoping she’ll be less of the leather-clad blow-up doll she was in Iron Man 2 and instead be something between rogue Slayer Faith and Wolfram and Hart’s cunning Lilah Morgan. A woman working for the man but loyal only to herself, seducing everyone she passes and kicking ass with her eyes closed. ‘Want, take, have’ indeed.
We really don’t know anything about him. He could be a Jayne-style loose canon, a Zoe-style soldier or a Xander-style smart-mouth. Either way, anyone else getting a sneaking suspicion that he could end up stealing the show?
He’s the big boss man, trying to keep some very big personalities in check but showing a wee soft spot for some of his favourite heroes. So he’s Dollhouse’s Adelle DeWitt, basically.
Whedon knows his way round a good villain, and Loki looks like he could be in the mold of Dark Willow – a once-good figure, now corrupted and vengeful but still with the chance that he could turn good for the final reel. Or, he could be Angelus to Thor’s Buffy (in an entirely platonic sense, of course).
Whedon is the king of finales which pit our small band of heroes against impossible hordes. Just think of Buffy and her gang entering the Hellmouth in the series seven finale, or Angel and co ‘going to work’ on the amassed monsters of Wolfram and Hart, and the Serenity crew taking on the Reavers.
The Whedon death
Our Joss loves a good shock death, so can we expect one of our heroes to bite the dust before the credits role? Hawkeye died (briefly) in the comics and he doesn’t have a follow-up film announced yet, unlike Iron Man, Cap and Thor, so might he cop it? Basically, if half way through the film one of the supporting characters is looking particularly awesome, start preparing yourself for their cruel and untimely death.
Whedon has done big organisations before, but they tend to not be very nice. Angel’s Wolfram and Hart and Dollhouse’s Rossum Corporation were excellent examples of smooth, corporate pure evil. Buffy’s The Initiative had good intentions but were fatally flawed. Judging from this, can we expect this film to show the Avengers uncovering corruption at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. and setting themselves up as the independent organisation they are in the comics? Would that make Nick Fury a bit of a Boyd?
The fact that he never won an Emmy for his shows is an outrage – everyone knows the man can write. He also has a propensity for casting actors with a strong history in comedy (he cast How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill), so we can expect Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans to work especially well with him. And let’s face it, he won’t be able to resist the urge to put some killer one-liners in Samuel L Jackson’s mouth.
Whedon is never far from his trusty acolytes, so might we see Nathan Fillion or Amy Acker popping up somewhere? There’s also room for him to squeeze in some surprise Marvel character cameos, or set up characters for bigger roles down the line. Maybe he’ll combine the two and we’ll get Alan Tudyk or Fran Kranz as Henry Pym or Sarah Michelle Gellar as Sharon Carter?
Self-confessed feminist Whedon is known for his iconic, nuanced and ass-kicking female characters. All he has to work with in The Avengers is Black Widow (who we can expect to be much cooler than she was in Iron Man 2) and Maria Hill (who he could do a lot with). Given the film’s rumoured focus on Steve Rogers and the S.H.I.E.L.D. setting, Sharon Carter is one of the more likely new characters to be introduced. Miss Marvel would also be right up Whedon’s alley and if they go the Ultimates route, she has strong S.H.I.E.L.D. links too. But what I really, really want to see is Whedon getting his hands on Jessica Jones. Oh well, there’s always the sequel.
‘Marvel Avengers Assemble’ will be at cinemas from Thursday 26th April 2012. For more info go to http://www.facebook.com/AvengersUK
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