Will Joss Whedon Direct ‘The Avengers’?

The 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' mastermind is in the lead to helm the highly anticipated film.

When we interviewed Chris Evans recently, he questioned whether his Captain America would stay true to the comic books and become the leader of the Avengers. Now, it seems, the beloved band of superheroes may finally have their boss — behind the camera, at least.

Various Web sites are reporting that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” mastermind Joss Whedon is the leading candidate for “The Avengers.” The eagerly anticipated flick isn’t due in theaters for quite some time, but Marvel Entertainment has been carefully engineering the project behind the scenes as part of an “Avengers Assemble” campaign, as they’re internally referring to it.

Calls to Whedon’s reps looking for comment were unreturned as of press time.

Beloved by geeks, Whedon is a veteran writer/producer/director who has earned as much attention for his talent as he has for an unfortunate string of bad luck. His groundbreaking 2002 series “Firefly” was canceled after 11 episodes, then was re-launched as the movie “Serenity,” but only earned a disappointing $25 million at the
box office. More recently, his trippy Eliza Dushku series “Dollhouse” similarly earned die-hard fans and low ratings before being canceled after 27 episodes. On the plus side, Whedon’s “Buffy” TV translation stayed on the air for seven seasons, its spin-off “Angel” lasted another five, and his “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” launched a recent Internet phenomenon and rumored movie.

If “The Avengers” is the sum of its parts, the movie seems likely to live up to its hype as one of the most anticipated films of all time. In a manner both true to its comic roots and appealing to the fans, bread crumbs have been planted in the “Iron Man” and “Incredible Hulk” movies, as well as next month’s “Iron Man 2,” leading up to the assembly of Marvel’s heroic fighting force.

Similar links are anticipated within the currently shooting “Thor” and the soon-to-shoot “The First Avenger: Captain America” movies. The current plan is for all the buildup to bring each individual hero together for “The Avengers,” which would hit theaters in summer 2012.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Kick-Ass.”

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