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Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. will be "very Joss Whedon"


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Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. will be "very Joss Whedon"

ABC President Paul Lee recently described Joss Whedon and Marvel’s upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show in the concise yet fan-pleasing way: “It’s very Joss Whedon”.

Yes, “Joss Whedon” is now an adjective, meaning something like “Whedonesque”, or “typical of the works of Joss Whedon”, or “Aaaaah, my emotions!” Or, simply, “squee!”

Ironically, S.H.I.E.L.D. will be the first Joss Whedon show where he won't be showrunner from the start. Instead, in his self-deprecating words, he'll show up every now and again and take credit for everything. Though the nature of the show should still be able to turn out quintessentially Whedonesque, since the showrunners have all proved themselves in the Whedonverse already, with Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (Whedon) having co-written Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog and having been the best writers on Dollhouse, and Jeffrey Bell having showrun Angel Season 5. And the first two are actually Whedons themselves.

[The Avengers spoilers follow]

(This seemingly simple phrase, "It's very Joss Whedon", also probably means they’ve killed off Agent Coulson again. (Although, to be fair, that was Kevin Feige’s idea, not Joss’.) In which case, would this mean that Coulson is becoming the Rory of Marvel (the man they call Phil)?)

Paul Lee elaborated:

“We’re optimistic, because Joss is a genius and we love what we’ve seen. But it’s early days, and it’s a long way to go between now and a successful series. But we are very excited about it.”

He said “very” in italics! That’s a good sign, right? (Unless they were sarcastic italics. But that would make no sense in this context.)

Comments like this mean that means we can all start playing the usual game of rampant fan speculation as to how near or otherwise the show is to cancellation. After all, we’re Joss Whedon fans; it’s what we do, even if his last movie (which is loosely connected to the show, particularly in terms of bringing back Agent Coulson) was the third highest-grossing movie of all time at the box office. If us Whedonites have learned one thing, it’s that, never mind its creative strengths, a Joss Whedon show is as safe as a vampire in Sunnydale, or a beloved character in a Joss Whedon show. (Okay, this paragraph may be slightly tongue-in-cheek.)

Breaking down that quote, then, in totally-not-over-analysing fashion:

"We're optimistic, because" -- This implies that they're optimistic in spite of something, and have to back it up. I.e., the show's about to be cancelled! Or just not picked up to series, which is basically the same thing, except with a whimper instead of an "Argh!"

"Joss is a genius" -- Can't argue there. Except that it's one of those things that should really be self-evident, like the cuteness of kittens or the deliciousness of cheese. Or the awesomeness of Nathan Fillion.

"we love what we've seen" -- There are people out there who've seen scripts or storyboards or test footage or something from Joss Whedon's new show that we haven't seen yet? I can has treatment pls? (And by "treatment", that is to say, please specifically imprint the experience of the sneak peek of the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show; not anything else, especially not any pesky phrases about flowers in vases...)

"But..." -- What? There's a caveat? They have a caveat troll? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing? (Oh, right, that would be Joss.)

"it's early days" -- Just give us twenty seasons of the show already, so we don't have it worry about it being cancelled before then!

"and it's a long way to go between now and a successful series." -- And a successful series is one that doesn't get cancelled. Oh no, it's effectively cancelled already!

"But we are very excited about it." -- Basically, this means, "Hey, we're supporting this show all the way; if it ends up getting cancelled, it's *your* fault for not watching it!"

Now the flippancy is over (at least, until the quips--Phil's flippant quips will surely be a part of S.H.I.E.L.D.), another comment is quite interesting. Marvel's Joe Quesada said of Clark Gregg's return:

“He plays Agent Coulson.  I really can’t tell too much more than that because I’d be revealing too much of the show’s structure, but we’re thrilled to build the show around him.”

The phrase "build the show around him" seems to confirm what many fans have hoped for: that instead of simply showing up in the pilot, Agent Coulson will be the main character of the show as such, assuming it gets picked up to series.

Also, as if there wasn’t enough speculation already as to the details of Coulson’s return, now there’s a hint that the explanation may be integral to the structure of the show itself. Which is, fittingly, a very Joss Whedon thing to do. He takes constraints, like having to explain certain plot points, and spins entire storylines out of them.

(For instance, essentially the entire season arc of Buffy Season 5 came about because of a network note; the challenge of continuing from the fantastic and conclusive Season 5 finale ‘The Gift’ in a non-contrived way set the course for the darkness and character drama of Buffy Season 6; the necessity of making another episode of Dollhouse Season 1 to replace the unaired pilot led to the brilliant and very different ‘Epitaph One’, which in turn informed Season 2 by literally setting the course for the future of the show; and the entire storyline (and in fact, the very existence) of The Cabin in the Woods was necessitated by the tropes of the horror genre.)

Joe Quesada also said:

“My best moment is when I said to him, ‘Hey Clark, you’re going to be in the comics, too.  Coulson is going to be in the Marvel Universe.’  And he literally melted, it was like fanboy glee.”

A fitting reaction from the actor who plays the world's biggest Avengers fan...

We Got This Covered thinks that “If there are no hiccups during production, then S.H.I.E.L.D. could become part of ABC’s Fall 2013 lineup.”

So if they're right, which seems feasible, then, as with 2012, we probably have multiple Joss Whedon productions to look forward to in 2013, including Much Ado About Nothing in June (in the US, at least), Doctor Horrible 2 in July, and S.H.I.E.L.D. in the fall. In addition, the film In Your Eyes, written by Joss Whedon, and the web series Wastelanders, written by Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis, might come out in 2013 as well. And Joss is consulting on Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, as with all of Marvel's live action movies, so arguably those count too. Yes, that means we could potentially see seven Joss Whedon-related projects in 2013, not even counting comics. (If none of them are cancelled before then, that is...)

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cast so far includes Ming-Na Wen, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain de Caestecker, Brett Dalton, and of course, melted Clark Gregg as (presumably melted) Agent Coulson.



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