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On April Fool’s Day, IESB had the bad timing to report that Joss Whedon was on the shortlist to direct The Avengers for Marvel. Really bad timing for that scoop — while Whedon is the sort of guy a lot of fans would like to see on this film, there was too much reason to be skeptical when it ran on April 1. The LA Times confirmed that shortlist a few days later, but even then it was tough to tell if the studio¬† was serious, or just spitballing in the same way it seemed to do with the Captain America casting.

Either way, things are evidently serious now, as there’s a report that Whedon is in final talks to direct the film.

Deadline has a piece on the deal, but doesn’t offer any more info.

Whedon is a ballsy choice, but will the identity of the director really matter from the perspective of the mainstream? Probably not. A great many people won’t think ‘this movie is from the guy behind Buffy and Firefly and that movie Serenity.’ They’ll hopefully think, ‘holy shit, this movie has Iron Man and Thor and Captain America? I’m so in!’ Making the film look like a good prospect has a lot more to do with the success of Thor and Captain America than it does the choice of director.

Making it a good movie — that’s a different story. While Whedon has his shortcomings, there will be serious editorial oversight from Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau and others at Marvel. Furthermore, I think Whedon managed Serenity really well. That film was made on a relatively small budget, had many characters and a couple solid setpieces, and, in general, it worked. I came into it not having seen moment one of Firefly and the film turned me on to the series. I can see him going to town with The Avengers.

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