Why ‘The Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon Once ‘Welled up’ Thinking About His Failed ‘Batman’ Reboot

Before Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Warner Bros flirted with the idea of bringing Joss Whedon on board to direct a Batman film. Whedon was so excited that he even had an idea how the film would look like before writing a script. However, his Batman was going to be vastly different from Christopher Nolan’s. So much so there was one scene in his movie he’d tear up just thinking about.

Fans had a negative reaction to Joss Whedon’s ‘Wonder Woman’ script

Joss Whedon posing while wearing a blue shirt.
Joss Whedon | Brian Ach/Getty Images

Before Joss Whedon was recruited for Marvel’s The Avengers, the Buffy creator was tapped to direct several other superhero projects. For instance, Whedon was discussed as a potential director for an Iron Man film as far back as 2001 according to IGN. Apart from that, a thread from Reddit unearthed an old Iron Man script allegedly written by the filmmaker. As most know, however, Whedon also wrote a script for Wonder Woman. But Variety noted that this script was met with much controversy, being deemed as sexist.

Whedon addressed these remarks with Variety at the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War.

“I don’t know which parts people didn’t like, but I went and reread the script after I heard there was backlash,” Whedon said. “I think it’s great.”

Whedon also put the blame on the critics for not being able to truly understand the story the way Whedon intended.

“People say that it’s not woke enough,” he continued. “I think they’re not looking at the big picture. It’s easy to take one phrase out of context.”

Still, Whedon felt that his Wonder Woman maintained the spirit of the character.

“But I was in there swinging,” he added. “The movie has integrity and the characters have integrity and I stand by it.”

Why Joss Whedon once ‘welled up’ thinking about his ‘Batman’ reboot

Joss Whedon was also considered to direct a Batman film somewhere between the late 90s and the 2000s. This was after Joel Schumacher’s era, and before Christopher Nolan had his turn with the character. In a resurfaced interview with GQ, Whedon had a somewhat unconventional take on Wayne’s origins. When thinking about one scene in particular, GQ noted an emotional Whedon would well up. The scene in question had Bruce Wayne protecting a young girl from being bullied in an alleyway. It was the same alley where Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered.

“And he’s like this tiny 12-year old who’s about to get the s*** kicked out of him,” Whedon began, describing the scene. “And then it cuts to Wayne Manor, and Alfred is running like something terrible has happened, and he finds Bruce. He’s back from the fight, and he’s completely fine. Bruce is like, ‘I stopped them. I can stop them.’ That was the moment for me. When he goes ‘Oh, wait a minute; I can actually do something about this.’”

Because of this, the tragedy of his parents’ murder wouldn’t hit Batman the way it might have for other films. Whedon considered that saving the girl was the moment Batman “gets that purpose, instead of just sort of being overwhelmed by the grief of his parents’ death.”

How executives reacted to Joss Whedon’s pitch

Unfortunately for Whedon, others didn’t care much for his interpretation of the character. Despite his passion, the people in charge simply didn’t understand where the Justice League director was coming from.

“And the executive was looking at me like I was Agent Smith made of numbers,” Whedon explained. “He wasn’t seeing me at all. And I was driving back to work, and I was like, ‘Why did I do that? Why did I get so invested in that Batman story? How much more evidence do I need that the machine doesn’t care about my vision?”

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