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Joss Whedon Teases 'Avengers: Age of Ultron's' Bond-esque Opening and 'Godfather' Connections

By Cindy Davis | Industry | February 25, 2015 |

By Cindy Davis | Industry | February 25, 2015 |

Yesterday brought a new Age of Ultron poster, and today brings intriguing details straight from the man himself — Joss Whedon. In previously unreleased excerpts from an earlier interview, the director teased the latest Avengers’ film’s surprise opening, and talked about its connections to other franchises.

*Warning: Parts of this interview could be considered Spoiler-ish (especially Ultron’s origin changes). If you’re trying to avoid, you may want to back on out.

Empire: “So you’re starting with the Avengers already assembled?”

Joss Whedon: “My instinct was, ‘Let’s just come out of the gate saying there is an Avengers.’ So we can have more time to pick at them and tear them apart and hurt them and ultimately destroy them. I’ve been working on a lot of Ultron scenes, so I’m very anti-Avengers right now.”

E: “What are your models for this movie?”

JW: “I know I reference Godfather Part II a lot. ‘Don’t reference the greatest movie ever made because that’s Icarus, you moron!’ But at the same time it is a huge touchstone for me because you get everything you got from the first Godfather movie in a very different movie, in a movie that structurally couldn’t be more different, and thematically and in intent and in mood, and yet nobody ever goes, ‘It wasn’t Godfathery enough.’ I need to give people an exciting ride about heroic people, and that’s certainly part of why I signed on, but at the same time a richer, deeper, darker movie is not a bad thing.

But it’s not Godfather Part II in its structure. No flashbacks.
We see the early days, young Nick Fury in Sicily… I don’t know what the hell he’s doing in Sicily. ‘I can’t wait to see this 3D technology, all these amazing bifocals, and the things I can do with both of my eyes…’ It’s very poignant, actually.”

E: “But you’re starting with a pre-credits sequence, which is very James Bond.”

JW: “There is a pre-credit Bondian blow-out. The James Bond theme has come up more than a few times, mainly because the locations are so beautiful and in particular the opening location is really stunning. There was a moment where there were soldiers and different kinds of people fighting them, and these guys in winter camo come up on a castle in one of those mountain resort elevators that goes side-to-side and looks like a gumball machine, and I was looking at the Italian Alps and the mist and the castle, and this weird thing rises up, full of soldiers in winter camo, and everybody was like… [sings the Bond theme].”

E: “You’ve retconned Ultron’s origin. In the comics, Hank Pym - Ant-Man - creates Ultron. Here, it’s Tony and, to a lesser extent, Bruce.”

JW: “Of all the heat I’ve ever taken, not having Hank Pym was one of the bigger things. But the fact of the matter was, Edgar had him first and by virtue of what Edgar was doing, there was no way for me to use him in this. I also thought it was a bridge too far. Ultron needs to be the brainchild of the Avengers, and in the world of the Avengers and the MCU, Tony Stark is that guy. Banner has elements of that guy - we don’t really think of him as being as irresponsible as Tony Stark, but the motherfucker tested gamma radiation on himself, with really terrible, way-worse-than-Tony-Stark results.

It didn’t make sense to introduce a third scientist, a third sciencetician, to do that. It was hard for me, because I grew up on the comics, to dump that, but at the end of the day, it’s a more interesting relationship between Tony and Ultron if Tony was once like, ‘You know what would be a really great idea?’ They’re doing what they always do - which is jump in headfirst, and then go, ‘Sorry, world!’ But you have to make it their responsibility without just making it their fault.”

I’m practically giddy over the idea of a Bond-style opener, and hope he’s not kidding about Nick Fury in Sicily (Hopefully, there’s a Sophia joke in there somewhere.)

Read more about Whedon’s writing process, Ultron, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1st.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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