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This current stream of leaked emails between Joe and Anthony Russo and Sony Entertainment Chair Amy Pascal is a gift to comic-book geeks that keeps on giving. The exchange between the creative teams already has revealed possible (and possibly shelved) plans to share Spider-Man with the ever-developing Marvel universe. And now we’re learning that there may be concrete plans in place for the Avengers franchise… which could be bad news for Joss Whedon.
ComicBookMovie cites a translation of emails on the Brazilian site overtice.com that claim that during their conversations with Sony, Captain America: The Winter Soldier co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo confirm that they are, indeed, directing the two-part The Avengers: Infinity War, due in theaters in 2018 and 2019. On paper, this makes all the sense in the world. The brothers will be coming off of Captain America: Civil War, which will trigger a handful of standalone solo Marvel projects directed by other voices. The Russos can circle back around to the MCU in time for Avengers, and even do prep for the Infinity War movies while working on Cap 3.
Except, the Avengers already have a director. Don’t they?
None of this is confirmed, mind you. But Joss Whedon has suggested in interviews that his upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron was going to be his last go in the director’s chair for a Marvel movie. He certainly can rest easy knowing that he helped kick start what many consider to be a Golden Age of superhero blockbusters. And Whedon likely will want to make smaller movies like his Much Ado About Nothing, or possibly make a triumphant return to television. Basically, Whedon will have a virtual blank check to do what he wants once Age of Ultron drops. If the Russos are being groomed by Marvel President Kevin Feige, we can see that there’s a clear path and a solid foundation.
Then again, this is speculating years in advance, and ANYTHING can happen between now and then. Whedon might demand to direct one of those Infinity Wars movies. Would Marvel tell him no? The Russos might tank Civil War. Would the studio consider changing direction if that were to happen? For right now, though, if you do the math, it’s sure sounding like the Russos are lining up to be the next directors of the Avengers saga, and that means Age of Ultron will be Joss Whedon’s last in the saddle.