With Avenges: Age of Ultron behind him, Joss Whedon has been surprisingly open about the filmmaking process for one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. But it was no easy process to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes back to the big screen, as Whedon revealed in a new interview.
Spoilers from Avengers: Age of Ultron follow.
Whedon spoke on the Empire Film Podcast about what did—and didn’t—make it into the film. As much time as Age of Ultron spends on its action spectacle and tie-ins to the rest of the cinematic universe, Whedon also clearly wanted the film to explore the pathos of its heroes, which came in the form of dream sequences each character has at the hands of Scarlet Witch.
But those dreams, and the extended visit to Hawkeye’s farmhouse hideaway, were a struggle to keep in the film.
“The dreams, the farmhouse, these were not the things [the executives liked]… these are things I fought to keep,” Whedon said, later explaining that he only had a day to shoot each dream sequence.
Whedon described how others who had input on the film wanted Thor’s excursion into a cave in search of answers to take up a bigger chunk of the film. The scene didn’t test well with audiences, but the belief was that this sequence, which hints at the overarching plot concerning the Infinity Stones, was necessary.
“With the cave it really turned into, they pointed a gun at the farm’s head and said, ‘Give us the cave or we’ll take out the farm’—you know, in a civilized way,” said Whedon, who also liked a version of the cave scene. “And I respect these guys, they’re artists, but that’s when it got really, really unpleasant.”
The cave appears in the film, albeit in a much shorter version than originally planned, and Whedon at one point even contemplated taking it out. His editors convinced him something had to be shown of the plot, rather than have Thor just explain what happened. “I was so beaten down at that point I was like, ‘Sure, okay. What movie is this?'” Whedon explained.
Whedon also addressed the ending, in which a new Avengers lineup—Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and The Vision led by Black Widow and Captain America—appears. And while the director wanted all of those characters there, he would have been happy with a few more.
“I said, ‘It would be great if we could just add a few more, if you guys could… have a Captain Marvel that you made a deal for,'” Whedon explained. “And they talked about it… and I was like, ‘And Spider-Man, would you do that too?’ So I would have put both of them in, but neither of the deals were made.”
And in regard to that final scene, which cuts Captain America off after he says the word “Avengers…,” leaving a presumed “assemble” never to be said. It turns out, Chris Evans never said that word.
“I made sure we never shot him saying it, because I was positive some executive was going to go ‘Uh, you forgot to put in the last word,'” Whedon said.