Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron is quite the large-scale blockbuster. Not only is the epic ensemble cast somehow even bigger than the one we saw in the feature’s predecessor, but the movie also presents a globe-trotting adventure that sees the titular group of superheroes flying all over the world. As you might imagine, squeezing all of this into a reasonably long feature was quite the challenge, and, in fact, the original cut of the film was evidently nearly three-and-a-half hours long.
With the Avengers: Age of Ultron domestic press day held in Los Angeles this past weekend, Vulture recently got the opportunity to sit down with the movie’s director, and it was during this chat that the actor revealed the length of the sequel’s very first cut. Of course, this behemoth needed to be cut down, and ultimately Joss Whedon had a very specific goal for the film’s runtime. He explained,
There's one or two things that I'm unhappy about not having in there, but they're small. I said to [Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige] before we started, 'My secret fantasy that'll never come true is that the second one is shorter than the first.' And we're shorter by a minute.
I actually had the opportunity to personally chat with Kevin Feige about the very same subject during this weekend’s press event, and while he downplayed the runtime mentioned by Whedon by about 45 minutes, he reiterated the Avengers: Age of Ultron director’s sentiment about the longer cuts not being anything that fans actually want to watch. Said Feige,
Most films you can put an assembly together and it can be two hours and 45 minutes to three hours. I think the longest version of this was two hours and 45 minutes, thereabout. The longest version of Ant-Man was three hours, but nobody wants to see those versions of the movie.
The version of The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be arriving in theaters on May 1st clocks in at a hefty but reasonable two hours and 22 minutes, but I do have to admit that – despite Kevin Feige’s warning – I would like to see what one of these original cuts really looked like. Sure, it probably wouldn’t really work as well plot-wise, and the pacing would probably be very rough, but I would still be fascinated to see what the whole picture would look like with all of the missing minutes put back in. Sadly, this is something we will probably never get to see as a Blu-ray extra, but we’ll at least be able to get a sense of it from the deleted and extended scenes that will eventually come out.