Here's Why Joss Whedon Says He's Not Directing Avengers: Infinity War

It’s no surprise that Joss Whedon isn’t returning to his place at the helm for Marvel’s impending two-part Avengers: Infinity War. That’s been confirmed, and reconfirmed since it’s become officially official that Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) will direct, but Whedon has now divulged the reason for his decision.

Talking to EW about Avengers: Age of Ultron, it simply sounds like the franchise has become too big and unwieldy for Whedon, and he’s tired of dealing with it. He says:

Every movie I have ever made has been an ensemble piece of increasingly enormous proportions. That many balls in the air, it’s only going to get bigger with 'Infinity War.' I’m not going to be able to give it what I would need to.

He goes on to add, in a rickety old voice, "It’s a young man’s game."

The first wave of Ultron screenings have hit, and with reactions rolling in, many have praised Whedon for deftly juggling an ever-growing number of characters and storylines while still managing to give each their due. (A few have said this is a bad thing, that there is too much going on, but they’re in the minority and are probably going to get made fun of.)

Even if that’s true (I can’t comment on that, not having not seen the movie yet), even if he pulls it off like we know he can, it does sound exhausting. So it’s easy to imagine not wanting to go through that ordeal again, especially two more times. And with one billion-dollar movie under his belt, and another that will almost certainly hit that mark as well set for release in less than a month, you might as well go out on top.

At this point he can do just about anything he damn well pleases, and the consensus around these parts is that we’re just fine with him making smaller, more personal movies. And because it’s Whedon, who the hell knows what he’ll do next? After all, this is a guy who just got together with his friends and made a movie at his own house. Granted, all of his friends are famous, talented actors, and the result was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, but still, the prospects are enticing.

But don’t expect everyone to be entirely psyched on Whedon’s departure. Marvel President Kevin Feige, doing his best Al Pacino impersonation, said, "Just when you think you’re out, you get pulled back in." Whedon reportedly responded by pointing his finger and saying, "That’s the other reason I’m not making a third one." It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who has made you that many good movies, and that much money.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, and if it lives up to even a fraction of the hype it’s getting, we’re in for a damn good time.

Brent McKnight