Joss Whedon hosted his annual Q&A session at Comic-Con today. Nominally a panel for Dark Horse Comics – which currently publishes Whedon’s Buffy comics – the hour is basically an unstructured opportunity for Whedon fans to ask him pretty much everything, with answers that range from evasive to encyclopedic to silly to downright existential. (Dr. Horrible update: he still wants to make Dr. Horrible and probably won’t for a few years. This concludes your biannual Dr. Horrible update.) Forthwith, the ten most interesting things Whedon said this year.
On whether, post-Much Ado, he would ever work outside of the action-adventure genre: “I aspire to do anything at all that is in any genre: Comedy, musical, many things that do not involve punching. We can’t solve all our problems through punching. I love all genres. The only thing I get stymied by is the Family Drama. I don’t necessarily know how to approach that. But I like many things that do not involve explosions. Yes, I’m a Renaissance Man.”
On how he responds to people who say a man can’t be a feminist: “How can you answer it. I can’t be a woman, because I’m a man. Or I guess you can! ‘In my day, we had to walk four miles through the snow to get gransgender surgery.’ I Just don’t think that’s a valid comment. That’s a perspective I can never have. Whether or not you’re a feminist has nothing to do with that perspective. It has to do only with wishing that one half of the human race and be treated as well as the other half of the human race.
In response to the question “Is Cabin in the Woods a commentary on the evangelical concept of substitionary atonement?”: “Gonna have to say no. I’ll tell you why: I don’t know what you just said. I will also say: It may very well be.”
On whether he would ever direct an animated movie: “All my life, I’ve wanted to do that. But I feel a bit like all the CGI animated films are the same film. The rhythms, the sidekicks, the parent issues: I would love to see one of these movies made [as a] PG-13. A tougher, more adolescent adventure story that isn’t just, ‘We’re wacky!’ ‘We’re wacky too! We’ve gotta STOP THE PROBLEM!’”
On what established franchise he would like to work in, if/when he’s done with Avengers: “The reason I don’t really have an answer to that question is – and I realize the hilarious irony of the man who’s making a sequel to The Avengers and just made a Much Ado movie saying this – but I do feel like we’re in desperate need of new content. Pop Culture is eating itself at a rate that is going to become very dangerous. I’m seeing too many narratives built on the resonance of recognition. It’s not even nostalgia. It’s: ‘I remember that from yesterday.’ That’s gonna become really problematic. Although it’s enormous fun to work on something I enjoyed as a child, I think it’s really important for all of us to step back from that. Create new universes, new messages, new icons. So that ten years from now, we can reboot those!”
On whether he would ever considering going back to the Wonder Woman project: “No.”
On why The Avengers works: “I think the appeal of The Avengers is that it doesn’t work. Everybody knows that Iron Man and Thor shouldn’t have a conversation, which means that when they do, we can have the fun of them knowing it too. You’re inoculated against the absurdity by the fact that the people in that world recognize it.”
On why he believes The Avengers worked while certain other superhero movies (cough cough Green Lantern didn’t): “My favorite [comic] books were the Team-Up books. Spider-Man and The Thing would team up every week. That meant – a lot of directors in some superhero movies that don’t work as well, they have to talk themselves into it. ‘I guess I can find a way into this character, this Green Lantern character, and then I’ll try to translate it.’ For me, that step is eliminated. It’s second language to me. It make perfect sense to me. All I have to do is translate it for you. I don’t have to create it myself. The combination just made perfect sense to me. I always knew Captain America and Thor would fight side-by-side. By the way, yes, I made fun of Green Lantern. I think Martin Campbell [director of Green Lantern] kicks ass. I just don’t think that was his thing. And it showed.
On a failed attempt at united the Whedonverse with the Marvelverse: “When I wrote X-Men, I tried to get Scott Summers to say he had a second cousin in a mental institution who thought she fought demons. But I couldn’t find the right conversation to slip it in.”
Apropos of nothing: “I had lunch with George Lucas at Hooters one time.”