Marvel’s great Avengers experiment is about to begin. Joss Whedon wrote in to Whedonesque today to announce that The Avengers begins shooting tomorrow. Specifically he said (in part): “Tomorrow we start shooting (I THINK I’m legally permitted to say that). Day one. That’s right. We’ll be shooting the pivotal death/betrayal/product placement/setting up the sequel/coming out scene, at the following address:” at which point the email goes a bit off the rails, but I think you get the point.

As we’ve known since last summer, The Avengers features Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk; Chris Evans as Captain America; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye; Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill; Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson; Tom Hiddleston as Loki; and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig. The Avengers will be released just over a year from now, on May 4, 2012.

After the break, Shane Black will reportedly co-write Iron Man 3 after all.

So when Marvel hired Shane Black for Iron Man 3 (he being the screenwriter who rose to fame with Lethal Weapon and made a great directorial debut with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) the assumption was that he would write as well as direct. But some hopes were quickly squashed when Drew Pearce was announced as the writer of Iron Man 3.

At the time, we knew that he’d be working closely with Shane Black on the script. Now CinemaBlend has “heard from multiple, completely trustworthy sources” that Shane Black will in fact co-write the film.

The site has conflicting info on why Drew Pearce was brought in at all, with one argument saying Disney is nervous about Black’s R-rated history and wants another more family-friendly voice. Or is it just that this is only Black’s second directorial effort, and a much more complicated proposition than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, so he has a pretty full plate to begin with?

Regardless, Shane Black would in all likelihood have had significant input to the script no matter what the credit roll reads on the final film, but if he is in fact officially co-writing the movie, that’s a great thing. He and Robert Downey Jr. have a proven record working together on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Shane Black has been a reliably good creative voice for smart action films.

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