Remember how Joss Whedon seemed to be walking around in a constant “My favorite puppy just died” haze while promoting Age of Ultron? Wait. Scratch that. That’s a bit too severe. He just seemed really, really tired and sleep-deprived. As such, his guard might have been down. Rather than sell a story of a joyous production he inadvertently offered a window into the give-and-take of directing a movie for Marvel Studios. You have to make compromises to make a movie any movie but especially a Mavel Studios production, and Whedon didn’t sound completely at peace with some of the compromises he had to make, telling Empire, “The [Scarlet Withc-incuded] dreams were not an executive favorite. The dreams, the farmhouse, these were things I fought to keep. With the [Thor’s vision in the] cave, they pointed a gun at the farm’s head and ‘Give us the cave or we’ll take out the farm’ but in a civilized way – I respect these guys, they’re artists, but that’s when it got really unpleasant. There was a point when there was going to be no cave, and Thor was going to leave and come back and say, ‘I figured some stuff out.’ And I was so beaten down at that point, I was like, ‘Sure, okay… what movie is this?’”
Whedon also confirmed that his first cut was 3 hour and 15 minutes long, but promised all of the best stuff he had to cut would be on the Blu-Ray/DVD. Somewhere along the way this was interpreted to mean that Age of Ultron clearly needs a Director’s Cut to finally give us Whedon’s true vision for the movie. It’s not dissimilar to how fans started a well-publicized online petition trying to shame Sony into allowing director Marc Webb to make a Director’s Cut of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The evidence there was all of the footage in the ads that didn’t make into the final movie, and the evidence for Age of Ultron was the fact that Whedon flat-out told us there was over an hour of deleted scenes.
However, no ASM 2 Director’s Cut ever materialized, and on the DVD commentary Webb doesn’t sound like someone whose artistic vision had been compromised. In his Empire interview from when Age of Ultron first came out, Whedon indicated the only thing he’d put back into Age of Ultron would be two minutes “just to let it breathe a bit more.” At Comic-Con this past weekend, he didn’t even sound like he’d want to do that anymore, shooting down the idea of any kind of Director’s Cut:
It has always been my ambition never to do a director’s cut of anything, and always to make the movie with the studio that we both want to make. Ultron was very complex. There was a lot of back-and-forth. My instinct is no. Just as an artist, I’m super fucking lazy and that sounds like it would be hard. I don’t think there’s interest in it, right now. You’ll see a bunch of stuff on the DVD in extras that were meant to be there. But the narrative came together very close to the way that I hoped it would, and I don’t think it needs me to constantly tweak it. I feel you put something out, and there it is.
Good advice. Some of the changes they made to Age of Ultron along the way were probably for the better, much in the way Whedon’s original framing device for the first Avengers, Maria Hill being interrogated by the World Security Council about the Battle of New York thus making the entire film one long flashback, was wisely dropped.
The first time I ever heard a re-mix, I was 13 and I was listening to the radio. I heard a song that had been re-mixed and it freaked me out so much that I turned off the radio and never listened to it since, literally. That is an actual truth. I felt like, “Wait, that was the song. You can’t do that.” Our entire culture consists of doing exactly that, but I’m not for it. If I tell a story, I want that to be the story I told. Ultron may have some transitions that I’m not 100% on board with. It’s also one of the most ridiculously personal things I’ve ever put on screen. The fact that Marvel gave me that opportunity and supported it, I’m very happy and very proud of everybody that worked on it. I don’t feel the need to go in and fix. I feel like, there she is.