The Way Joss Whedon Wrote Tony Stark’s Character Isn’t Sitting Well With Some MCU Fans

Once upon a time, in the eyes of many a fanboy and fangirl, Joss Whedon could do no wrong. He had mass appeal hit shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He had a show with a strong cult following called Firefly that was continued in the movie Serenity. And in the biggest get of all, he helmed an early Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure – The Avengers – to sterling success in 2012.  

In more recent years, the press on Whedon has not been as positive. Avengers: Age of Ultron was not received as well as its predecessor, and Whedon was said to be frustrated with Marvel. He took over directing the troubled Justice League movie, and the clash of his style and Zack Snyder’s pleased relatively few people. Now he’s facing even more serious accusations. 

Joss Whedon had the golden touch

Joss Whedon attends the "Avengers: Infinity War" World Premiere
Joss Whedon | Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Joss Whedon first made his name as a script doctor in the ’90s, sometimes with credit (Toy Story), sometimes without (Speed), and the former got him an Oscar nomination. It was one of his solo credited scripts, Buffy the Vampire Slayer that broke him big. He didn’t direct the movie, but the movie turned into the series with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and that became a big hit. That led to the spinoff series Angel.

Firefly didn’t last as long, only running a single season, but it developed an intensely devoted following. The biggest ticket of all came in 2012 with The Avengers. Marvel Studios had seen success before then, particularly with the first Iron Man film, but The Avengers took that success to even higher levels, and many fans and critics praised Whedon for deftly combining so many heroes and themes. 

The result: the first Marvel movie to make more than $1 billion worldwide. It was a given that Whedon would be invited back to helm the sequel, Age of Ultron. And that’s where things started getting sticky. 

The bloom fades from the Joss Whedon rose

Age of Ultron made a great deal of money as all Avengers movies must, but it’s the one Marvel film that fans seem to make the most effort to rehabilitate. It’s generally well-liked but not well-loved, and Whedon himself later admitted the making of the sequel exhausted him. He has not worked for Marvel since. 

His projects post-Ultron have not seen the same kind of success as his pre-Ultron works. Fans started to carp more often, with one fan on Reddit criticizing his handling of Iron Man in particular. That fan said on Reddit  “Just the most edge lord, power fantasy, Deadpool type stuff. We get it, Tony is rich and cool and never wrong.” 

Another fan complained about a moment with Wanda in Ultron saying, “The scene where Wanda rips out Ultron’s heart after her brother dies feels really awkward and kind of cringeworthy …And the scene is made pointless anyway when we find out Ultron survived, so all it really accomplished was getting Wanda in a situation for Vision to save her. It almost feels like Whedon had two different ideas for killing Ultron (one by Wanda and one by Vision), but he couldn’t pick which one to use.”

What are the accusations against him?

RELATED: Joss Whedon’s Abuse Accusations Grow Following ‘Justice League’ Whistleblower

Fan complaints seem like small potatoes compared to the accusations Whedon has faced lately. Whedon was brought in to reshoot DC’s all-heroes movie Justice League after original director Zack Snyder dropped out.  Although Snyder retained sole directing credit, it was not difficult to figure out which scenes Whedon reshot. One of the stars of that movie was Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg. 

Fisher had initially praised Whedon for his work, but according to Variety, he took it back, saying.”Joss [Whedon’s] on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.”

Fisher offered no evidence to corroborate his claims, and Whedon had no comment on the matter. Fisher also accused executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg of enabling the abuse, but Berg said it was “categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behavior.”