That Marvel Studios has been planning to cap their run of superhero solo pictures financed in house with the first ever big screen team up in "The Avengers" has been no secret. Aside from the fanboy favorite teasers included in recent movies like "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk," the Hollywood arm of the legendary comics brand has been trumpeting their plans for cramming all the big name characters they can into one film for 2012 for years. The only question is: who will helm the film?
Today, the often reliable tipsters at Deadline Hollywood reported that fan favorite writer, director and producer Joss Whedon would step into the directing chair for "The Avengers" – bringing together the on screen might of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, Chris Evans' Captain America, Chris Hemsworth's Thor and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury for the Marvel film universe's first team outing.
While still a rumor at this point, Whedon's name has been floated for the part of "Avengers" director for a while, and with the buzz the film will likely gain on the backs of "Iron Man 2" and the upcoming "Thor" and "The First Avenger: Captain America" movie, the director's lack of box office blockbusters to his resume (as Deadline's Mike Fleming noted, Whedon's only feature film "Serenity" didn't exactly conquer the box office, though it was a hit with hardcore fans) would matter little to the financial success of the picture.
Deadline also speculated on who would distribute the "Avengers" film as Marvel's deal to release its self-financed movies through Paramount will not likely be renewed now that the House of Ideas has been bought by Disney. However, since the rumor that Marvel has locked away a director for a "Runaways" movie remains unconfirmed, it's unclear exactly which Marvel film will be the last released in the Paramount deal.
UPDATE: Variety is now reporting a similar rumor that Whedon is in final negotiations to direct the "Avengers" picture, noting that if the deal goes down, he will also rework the screenplay already on hand from known superhero screenwriter Zak Penn.
Stay tuned to CBR for more word on whether or not Whedon will indeed be crying "Avengers Assemble!" in 2012.