Joss Whedon Called the Avengers ‘The Very Definition of Family’: ‘It’s a Film About Lonely People’

Joss Whedon is a filmmaker, composer, and writer, who has had a big impact on the world of comic book movies. Whedon’s early work includes shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, with film credits such as Alien Resurrection, Serenity, and The Cabin in the Woods. However, Whedon is probably best known for his Marvel movies, including the blockbuster action epic The Avengers.

In the years since the film was released, Whedon has worked with Marvel on several more occasions—and although the allegations against the director have made waves in the film community, Whedon has always remained open about his love for the world he helped create in The Avengers.  

Joss Whedon’s work with Marvel has earned critical and fan acclaim

By the time Whedon started working with Marvel for The Avengers, he was already a major presence in the movie business. However, The Avengers helped to solidify him as a force to be reckoned with in the world of comic book films. The Avengers features a huge ensemble cast of characters and tells the story of Earth’s mightiest heroes as they band together to stop Thor’s brother Loki from taking over the planet. 

Not only was the film a huge success, but Whedon himself received praise for the way he gave equal footing to all the Avengers, including lesser-known characters like Hawkeye. In fact, many have claimed that The Avengers is one of the greatest ensemble films ever made – and certainly, it remains one of the most popular Marvel movies. Whedon returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2015 to direct the follow-up film, The Avengers: Age of Ultron

What did Joss Whedon say about ‘The Avengers’ being about ‘lonely people’?

'Justice League' filmmaker Joss Whedon standing in front of step and repeat
Joss Whedon | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Although Whedon hasn’t returned to the MCU since The Avengers: Age of Ultron, he’s consistently kept his hand in at superhero movies, co-writing the 2017 DC Extended Universe movie Justice League. Still, he’s seemingly retained his affection for the MCU—and the Avengers in particular. In an excerpt from his biography, written by Amy Pascale, Whedon’s thoughts on the “family” of the Avengers are explored: “In Joss’s hands, The Avengers, too, became a tale of restored hope and chosen family. The film’s superhero team, he said, are people who ‘should not even be in the same room, let alone on the same team. And that, to me, is the very definition of family.'”

At another point in the book, Pascale quotes Whedon as saying The Avengers is “a film about lonely people, because I’m making it, and my pony only does one trick.”

What are the allegations against Joss Whedon?

Unfortunately, Whedon’s legacy is a complicated one. In 2020, several of the stars of the film Justice League came forward to accuse Whedon of “inappropriate language” and abuse on the set of the superhero film. Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot both slammed Whedon, with Gadot claiming that she didn’t appreciate the way Whedon spoke to her. Gadot noted, “Would he tell me what he told me had I been a man? I don’t know. We’ll never know — I was shocked by the way that he spoke to me. But whatever, it’s done. Water under the bridge.”

Whedon himself has spoken out about the allegations, categorically denying that he threatens people or treats any actors inappropriately. Still, many fans are disturbed by the allegations, and for that reason, Whedon’s work in the MCU tends to be viewed with mixed emotions. Through it all, viewers continue to enjoy the world, and the characters, depicted in The Avengers

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