Joss Whedon isn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself. Not only did he recently chastise Jurassic World because of a clip that he believed to be sexist, but he’s also made it known that he wanted Daredevil to be a film rather than a TV series, and admitted that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man script was the best superhero screenplay he’d ever read. So it’s no surprise to hear Whedon reveal that that there were several disagreements between himself and Marvel during the Avengers: Age Of Ultron editing process. In fact, he revealed that they wanted an awful lot of the blockbuster to be cut out of from the final film.
Whedon made this admission while sitting in as a guest on the Empire Film Podcast, and he made it clear that Marvel was never big fans on the Age Of Ultron dream sequences that were caused by Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. I should probably make it known right here and now that there are slight SPOILERS ahead. Nothing too major, but you probably shouldn’t read head if you still haven’t seen Age Of Ultron yet.
Whedon explained that Marvel’s main issue was with Thor’s subplot involving Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), which involved the pair trying to get to the bottom of his dark, apocalyptic dream. The studio evidently also wasn’t big on the farmhouse scene, which saw the gang reconvene at Clint Barton’s home with his secret wife and children. As he put it,
With the cave [sequence], it really turned into: they pointed a gun to the farm’s head. They said, ‘give us the cave or we’ll take out the farm.’
Whedon admitted that Selvig and Thor’s sequence was severely edited down and because of that it’s now incredibly convoluted, which is something he is obviously not happy about. "I do feel they threw out the baby with the pond water," he explained. Evidently there was a point where Thor’s absence wasn’t shown at all, and was merely explained with dialogue – but this likely would have been an extremely lazy and expositional way to have solved their problem.
However, rather than being overly critical about this process, Whedon admitted that this was just part and parcel of how things work, and even though he noted that there were moments where things "got really unpleasant," he still insisted that it was all done in a "civilized way" fashion.
While one can understand why Marvel might have had a problem with Avengers: Age Of Ultron’s dream sequences - because they did slow down proceedings and probed into the superheroes in an intimate and beguiling fashion – that is actually why they were a superb addition to the film, as they added a different dimension to the blockbuster that in the process helped to set it apart from its peers. And while Whedon had enough clout to partly get what he wanted, it’s worrying to think that Marvel might now start sacrificing interesting characterization for bombastic action scenes.