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Joss Whedon didn’t have to do The Avengers 2. In fact, his first stab at an Avengers movie meant Whedon had to financial and creative control to do virtually anything he wanted. So he did, pouring his energies into a lower-budget take on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with an ensemble of friends. But the Avengers sequel stayed in the back of his mind, and Whedon recently revealed what drove him to return.

Speaking to FastCoCreate at the Toronto International Film Festival – where his Much Ado made its world premiere – Whedon called his Shakespeare shoot a “vacation,” and a sigh of relief compared to the real job that was Marvel’s massive franchise. But when it came time to decide if he wanted to tell another chapter in the ongoing novel that is The Avengers, Whedon said his decision all came down to storytelling. Here’s Whedon:
“There’s a business aspect to it and I would be disingenuous not to say that, but the question for me is, ‘Do I have another story to tell about these people?’ So we worked on the business side of it and I didn’t think it was going to happen -- I was like, 'I’m never going to do this again.' But once they worked on the business aspect of it, I thought that seems fair and cool, so, the question was, ‘Do I have another thing to say?’ I was in London, and I went to a pub and had some fish and chips and a pint and started writing in my notebook. I’m writing if I was going to do this what would I say and 40 minutes later I filled the notebook. So I text my agent and said to make the deal. I’m so in love with that universe and the characters and they way they were played and I have so much more I want to do with them. I know I can’t match the success of the first one but I can try to make a better film and that’s what I’m excited about, that’s the new room of fear I’m entering now.”

You can be sure Whedon still had plenty to say about this franchise. As has been reported, he even parlayed his post-Avengers deal to include a return to television for a weekly S.H.I.EL.D. series, so Whedon’s more than invested in this world. Now I think it’s equally important that the actors – from Chris Evans to Robert Downey Jr. – be allowed to recharge their creative batteries inbetween superhero gigs to keep their portrayals of these iconic characters fresh.

Like we said, Whedon didn’t have to return for The Avengers 2. But we’re thrilled that he did.