'Avengers 3': Is Whedon Already Onboard?

'Age of Ultron' director Joss Whedon might already be locked for a third 'Avengers' film, according to one report.

Is it too early to start talking about "The Avengers 3" yet? After all, the current sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," has only recently begun shooting, with casting news still trickling out as production rolls along. The android-infused "Avengers" sequel doesn't arrive until May 2015, either — more than a year from now.

Still, while most hearts and minds are focused on Earth's mightiest heroes in 2015, there's reason to start thinking about their third team-up together.

In an interview with Movies.com, "Iron Man 3" writer Drew Pearce, who also wrote "All Hail the King," the Ben Kingsley-starring One-Shot about false Mandarin Trevor Slattery's imprisonment, casually mentions the name of the "Avengers 3" director — and it's a familiar one.

"One of the things when you're a writer or director in the Marvel universe is you come in, you leave some tasty morsels dangling at the end, and maybe you're the one who comes in and picks them up again next time, or maybe it's someone else, or maybe they just hang there awhile and that's fine too," Pearce said, when asked if the events of "All Hail the King" will echo in future Marvel movies. "That's all you can really hope to do. Unless you're Joss [Whedon] and you're making Avengers 2 and 3, and then you have a pretty good idea if you're making the next one or not."

If we're to take Pearce's comment at face value, then the writer just dropped a bombshell: Joss Whedon, director of "Marvel's The Avengers" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," is committed to making the third "Avengers" movie.

Before getting too excited, it's worth considering that Pearce was just assuming Whedon's involvement, and nothing more. It's not ridiculous to expect Whedon to return for a third "Avengers," business logistics notwithstanding; it's widely expected that the purple-hued Thanos, introduced at the end of Whedon's first "Avengers," won't make his full impact until "Avengers 3." Surely Whedon would want in on that action, right? Maybe that's where Pearce is coming from.

Or maybe he knows something more, and he just let the Hulk out of the gamma-radiated bag. Whedon's involvement in "Avengers 3" is hoped for, but far from confirmed by Marvel; as of now, his confirmed relationship with the studio doesn't exist beyond 2015's "Avengers" sequel. I would caution that we still can't count on Whedon's return after "Age of Ultron," but Pearce's comments are certainly a tantalizing and promising sign.

Do you think Whedon will return for the third "Avengers" sequel?