Joss Whedon In Final Talks to Direct Avengers

After news early this month that Joss Whedon was on the shortlist of directors to take on Marvel’s Avengers film, Deadline New York is reporting that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator is in final talks to take on the comic book adaptation.

The movie, which would likely begin filming next year, would combine Marvel’s recent pantheon of super hero movie characters into one team — including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.

Don Cheadle is also signed on the appear in the Avengers film, likely bringing along the War Machine armor his character Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes dons in this summer’s Iron Man 2. Likewise, Scarlett Johansson’s deal to play the Black Widow in Iron Man 2 included an option to return for the Avengers film. Tom Hiddleston, who plays the villainous Loki in Thor, also had a similar deal to return for Avengers.

Edward Norton’s Hulk character has also been rumored to be an addition to the film. Recent rumors have also pegged Olivia Munn to be cameoing as a future Avengers character in Iron Man 2, possibly as the Scarlett Witch.

The Buzz: While Whedon may not seem like the obvious choice to direct the Avengers movie, I think it may be a smart one. Not only does he have a history of creating solid ensemble pieces, he has a knack for balancing great set pieces with emotional punches — a strong sign of a quality super hero movie.

Jon Favreau (who will serve as executive producer on the Avengers movie) went into Iron Man without being an obvious choice to direct action yet he showed he had more then what it took to pull off a top-notch film. I think Joss Whedon could similarly surprise a lot of people with not only his biggest budget movie to date — probably one of the bigger-budget super hero films ever.

Now that Whedon seems to be a lock as the director of the Avengers film, let’s talk characters. Besides Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, who else would you like to see appear the movie?

Personally, I’d love to see Jenson Ackles play Hawkeye, the team’s resident sharpshooter and archer. Nathan Fillion and Lucy Liu would make great choices to play Hank Pym and his wife Janet — otherwise known as Ant-Man (or Giant-Man depending on how he’s feeling that day) and the Wasp.

Any other characters from Marvel’s long linage of Avengers members that you would like see assemble on the big screen? How about villains?

For a team consisting of such heavy-hitters as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, an Avengers film needs a sizable threat. One rumor would have the Hulk appearing as a bad guy for the film, with the team tapped to take the green monster down.

Another way to go would be to have all of the villains from the hero’s previous films team-up to form the Masters of Evil. This seems a bit hokey for the grounded nature of Marvel’s recent films, though.

I’d love to see an Avengers film that translated the first two arcs of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates comic book. The series saw the team of heroes join forces to stop the man-eating Chitauri, a Nazi-aiding group of alien invaders.

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