The Avengers 2 director Joss Whedon discusses The Avengers sequel, deleted scenes and the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show that he’ll be involved with.

Avengers director Joss Whedon recently sat down with Kyle Buchanan from Vulture and discussed at length his reasoning behind cutting specific scenes in The Avengers, his involvement in the new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show and how his newfound fame has (or hasn’t) affected his lifestyle.

Whedon was asked about why The Avengers alternate opening sequence that we reported on wasn’t included in the final cut:

Two factors. One: The movie was three hours long. Two: Audiences didn’t respond to it as well in the movie as I think they would as a DVD extra. Most of them didn’t know who this character was or what the context was, and they were like, Uhhh, I don’t know why I’m supposed to be personally involved in this character I don’t know. The rollout to the Avengers getting to Loki was so gradual that people were getting restless. I thought Cobie nailed it, and the reason I thought it was necessary is because I was trying to make a war movie and I wanted to give context that something bad had happened in the past. In a war movie, you don’t know who’s going to live or die, but you do know that this war happened and that [the characters] are going to be in a dire circumstance, and I wanted to create that atmosphere.

Joss goes on to discuss how difficult it can be to cut footage, especially when it means removing backstory that can be beneficial for the audience to connect with characters from the film:

I was able to get what I needed without doing that. It was tough. I hated cutting it. I hated cutting the Captain America stuff with the waitress. At least I was able to call Ashley Johnson [who plays the waitress] and tell her that all her stuff was still in Much Ado About Nothing, since she had been cut out of Dollhouse, she had been cut out of The Avengers: “I swear you’re still in the Shakespeare movie!” You know, those bits had seemed very personal to me, and part of doing Much Ado was that I could go back to The Avengers and say, “Oh, it’s not about me. Even though its my film, it’s about the Avengers. I am less important than the needs of the film.”

When asked about how the success of The Avengers has weighed on him, Whedon says he hasn’t let it get to him, mostly because he grew up wanting to make superhero movies:

It never really has, but when it does, I’m going to become such an enormous dick. [Laughs.] I’m going to have a personal dog polisher and the biggest posse ever. I’m going to be insufferable — well, I mean more insufferable than I already am. You know, at some point, the numbers become meaningless. They’re large, and you can’t really count that high. I felt like I had a particular mission in making what I felt was a slightly old-fashioned movie, because I grew up wanting to make summer movies and wanting to make superhero movies, and I got to do both at once. I felt like summer movies haven’t been what I remember them to be, so I felt like I would love to evoke something that’s less hip and ironic and more heartfelt and character-driven, and apparently, other people cared about that in a large way.

Whedon explains that it’s gratifying to know that people enjoyed the film and went back for more, despite feeling like he could have improved upon The Avengers:

I don’t think it’s a perfect movie. I don’t even think it’s a great movie. I think it’s a great time, and I’m proud of it, but for me, what was exciting is that people don’t go to see a movie that many times unless it’s pulling on something from within, unless there’s a need there. That’s very gratifying.

Whedon was then asked about why he seemed to be “on the fence” about returning for The Avengers 2:

It was part of what made it attractive to me. I loved the idea of being a consigliere. Every writer loves the idea of being able to go in and fix a problem and then leave without obligation. It’s fun! I also love these characters and the Marvel universe, and I grew up reading the books, and I’ve been going back and reading the old books and realizing that they shaped my storytelling way more than I give them credit for. Now I’m starting up a TV show, which is something I really wanted to do, but I thought it wasn’t going to be a part of my life for the next several years. It’s like a tapas menus of projects that excite me, in addition to the Avengers sequel, which I’m excited for because I’m incredibly excited about the next story that I’m going to tell. For me, it’s a huge win.

Vulture then went on to ask Joss how it felt to finally know that a TV show that he was working on (S.H.I.E.L.D.) would be given the promotional push that it deserves (Concerning the cancellation of his previous shows Firefly/Dollhouse):

[Laughs.] You know, I can’t guarantee that any of that will happen! But so far, it feels just fine. The important thing to me is that we know what the show is. We love what it is. It came together very organically, so when we went in to pitch [to Marvel], it wasn’t like, “We’re trying to find this because you want a TV show,” it was, “Check this out.” And that’s a good way to walk in a room.

Good support is wonderful, but it’s not a hill of beans, because they may give us all this support and then decide, “Eh. Yeah, it’s Friday.” They might give us all the support and then not do that, but then audiences might go, “Yeahhh … no.” You just can’t be sure. What I do know is that it’s the show it should be, and we’ve got some really dope notions. It’s going to work very well for people who either love the Marvel universe or for people who’ve never dipped a toe in the Marvel universe.

It’s great to see Joss Whedon open up like this, as he appears to have acclimated to the fame and attention that The Avengers‘ success has brought him. We’re very excited about The Avengers 2 and it should be interesting to watch his TV show S.H.I.E.L.D. as it is developed.

The Avengers DVD/Blu-ray hits stores September 25 and The Avengers 2 will hit theaters May 1, 2015. So far the TV show S.H.I.E.L.D. has no official dates, but we know that Whedon will be working closely with his brother Jed on the show and may even do some directing.

Earlier today we also found out that The Avengers will be re-released in theaters for Labor Day weekend, so be sure to check if your theaters will be showing the film from August 31 – September 6.

Check out the rest of this interview at Vulture.

After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”