We’re only a few weeks away from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and not only is the movie projected to break box office records, but early buzz from press screenings is largely positive towards the film. As is the case with blockbusters, this film is the culmination of years of hard work both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes. However, as far as the film’s plot goes, much of what we’ll see in the superhero blockbuster originated from one long email director Joss Whedon wrote years ago.

Marvel producer Jeremy Latcham told IGN that when discussions first began on what to do for an Avengers sequel, Whedon already had most of Avengers: Age of Ultron’s best moments already planned. As Latcham notes:
I recently went back and reread the first email that Joss sent me, when we first started saying we were going to make the movie -- the 'Let's do it; let's make Avengers 2' -- a lot of the big milestone moments that made me excited to read that first email are in the movie. So that's gratifying, when you go back and read it and go, 'Oh, yeah, that moment's in. Yeah, that moment's in.' Because sometimes good stuff gets lost in development, because you'll have a great moment or a great image or a great line. Then there's a thousand reasons why, 'Oh, well, that doesn't really fit into other plans,' or this or that. And then you get done, and you go, 'Wait a minute, I feel compromised. What happened to the good ideas?' You have to go back and dig 'em up. [But] Joss has done a good job this time of keeping those cool ideas right in the center of the movie.

So while the more intricate details were likely ironed out during pre-production and filming, it sounds like almost all of what Whedon included in that email made it into the finished product, like perhaps Ultron's mission of genocide, the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s inclusion, etc. Given how important Whedon is to the MCU, it wouldn’t be surprising if his ideas for Avengers: Age of Ultron also laid out the groundwork for what Marvel has planned in Phase 3, such as the plot for Captain America: Civil War.

Oddly enough, Whedon’s planning for Avengers: Age of Ultron began years earlier. Before he accepted the job of directing The Avengers, Whedon told Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige that if a sequel was ordered, Ultron needed to be the villain, and he would have to create the Paul Bettany-portrayed Vision. So even before filming the team’s origin story, he knew what he wanted Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to deal with when they returned. It was also recently revealed that he requested Hawkeye and Hulk to be left out of the Phase 2 movies (excluding Mark Ruffalo’s Iron Man 3 cameo) because he had big plans for them in the sequel.

We’ll see what Whedon’s brainchild looks like when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1.

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