Source: Donald Glover

Yesterday, director Joss Whedon took to Twitter to announce that principal photography on Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON has wrapped. In the same Tweet, Whedon asked, “What the hell do I do now?” The answer is obvious in the immediate future, but perhaps less so after May 1, 2015.

Now, Whedon will head into post-production on AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, which will pack his schedule for the next several months. This is sure to be followed by a press tour in conjunction with the worldwide release of the film next April and May.  After that, however, Whedon is theoretically a free agent, as the three-year deal he signed in 2012 to serve as a creative consultant for Marvel and direct the sequel to THE AVENGERS will expire. Yesterday’s Tweet was not the first time Whedon alluded to an open future. During his Nerd HQ panel at Comic-Con a couple weeks ago, Whedon had the following to say when actor Nathan Fillion asked the director what his next move was.

My biggest, nextest thing is not doing anything. I’m very excited by this new project. I’m going to try to live like a person…

 

…I really am not planning my next thing. It’s very liberating. I still have to make the movie and I really just would love to, for the first time in 25 years, not have a job and not have an idea about what I want that job to be.

Marvel probably wants that job to be director of AVENGERS 3. Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has already said the studio would prefer to stick with a schedule of three years between AVENGERS films. That would make May 4, 2018 the most likely release date. Of course, a 2018 release date means production in 2017, scripting and pre-production in 2016 (if not 2015 for the former), and more creative consultant duties in between. If Whedon were to direct AVENGERS 3, surely Marvel would at least want him to consult on the Phase 3 films that will factor into the eventual Infinity Gauntlet-inspired team up threequel featuring Thanos (Josh Brolin) as the primary antagonist. Unless he’s already been sharing with Feige and other top Marvel executives, only Joss Whedon knows how long he would prefer to “not have a job” and whether or not AVENGERS 3 is something he would potentially want his inevitable next job to be. If time off or time for another project are issues, Marvel does have a release date booked for May 3, 2019. Marvel could put another year between AVENGERS films to lure Whedon back. Alternatively, this would allow director James Gunn to finish GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 before taking over AVENGERS 3.  Creatively, Gunn would be a fitting heir apparent given that AVENGERS 3 will likely be based on a lot of the cosmic foundation Gunn is currently building in the GUARDIANS franchise. Much of this will probably be sorted out by Comic-Con next year, but for now, we’ll just focus on the excitement surrounding AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Earlier today, Joss Whedon sent out another Tweet recognizing the film’s outstanding crew.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will be in theaters May 1, 2015.