Marvel Has Joss Whedon On Contract Through 2015

Yesterday's big news was that Marvel Studios finally announced Joss Whedon as the writer and director for The Avengers 2, a movie that the studio had discussed only in circumspect terms even after the first film turned into one of the most successful films ever released.

As it happens, Marvel has Whedon set up to do more than just write and direct another Avengers movie. He's going to help out with the planned TV series set in the Avengers universe — we learned that yesterday, too. But Marvel has Whedon on exclusive contract for the next three years, through the end of 2015, and the official statement from Marvel gives us some good info about what to expect from his upcoming work with the studio.

Here's what Marvel has to say:

Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel's The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live-action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel's cinematic universe.

That last line, about contributing creatively to the next phase of the Marvel cinematic universe, is a big deal. That's what puts him in line to work on the TV series in some capacity. It also means he could end up going a pass on the scripts for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (as he did with the first Cap film) and Guardians of the Galaxy. Could he contribute to Thor: The Dark World, which is nearly ready to shoot? Possible.

Finally, that 2015 date gives us a good idea of the release plan for the Avengers sequel. Presumably, the film will anchor Marvel's summer with either a Friday May 1 2015 release to kick off the summer movie season, or on Friday May 22, to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.