Messing Up Age of Ultron Helped Joss Whedon Mess Up Justice League

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We are still somehow, against all sense of time and space, days away from the premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But we have glimpsed our comic book movie future, and all we can say is: go back. That’s what Vanity Fair did, speaking with Ray Fisher and Joe Manganiello on set last fall as they shot new footage—as their characters Cyborg and Deathstroke, respectively—for the HBO Max film.


One of the aspects of Justice League: Beta Edition that was discussed is, frankly, what went wrong. And according to Fisher, what went wrong was a whole other film for a whole other comic book publisher. Fisher told Vanity Fair that Whedon’s bitterness about the reception to Avengers: Age of Ultron impacted his work on Justice League, right down to one of its most egregiously bad scenes.

You could tell very quickly that [Whedon] was very upset that people did not like Age of Ultron very much. This is what I gathered from the first conversation that I had with him. There was a bit of this sort of egotistical narcissism that ended up going into everything that he was trying to do.

You can see it in some of the scenes that were produced. Flash falling on Wonder Woman’s [chest] is something that he yanked out of Age of Ultron and just copy-pasted here. In my first conversation creatively with him, he kept accidentally calling “Diana” “Natasha,” which is crazy stuff.

Joss Whedon seeing female characters as largely interchangeable and reducing them easily to funbag airbags? Color me and many, many women of the Whedonverse shocked.

Fisher also divulged additional bits of the toxic environment he’s publicly spoken of over the last year, saying, “There was a lot of belittling on set. There was a lot of mocking, both of previous work and of actors and people.”

This included none other than Iron Man himself, RDJ, whose MCU tenure predated Whedon and lasted far longer.

Fisher said, “He compared me at one point to Robert Downey Jr. And said, ‘Listen, I don’t like to take notes from anybody, not even Robert Downey Jr.’ And I said, “Well, okay. Be that as it may…”


Whedon has been quite vocal about his different working style from Downey, but saying Downey was collaborative and receptive to notes. But the way he describes that relationship, given what we know about his issues with other actors, rings a bit different now.

Fisher’s Cyborg hopefully gets his due when Zack Snyder’s Justice League drops on HBO Max March 18.


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Age of Ultron really isn’t that bad - flawed, yes, but not bad - and the blame for its flaws is not entirely Whedon’s fault - there is a reason Feigue moved to get rid of Perlmutter and the story comittee after AoU.

As for JL, that thing was a mess waaaayyyy before Whedon came along. And this isn’t the first time Fisher claims that Whedon was so pissed about AoU that it affected his work on JL. And now like then, it feels a lot like armchair psychoanalysis and like Fisher putting way too much stock into his own opinion.

Yes, Joss Whedon is a grade-A asshole. That has been proved pretty definitively. And yes, his work, while truly progressive in 1997, always had problematic aspects, and the fact that his work hasn’t evolved since then emphasize those problems. But that doesn’t mean he now has no talent and that everything he has ever contributed to is now garbage. That is a ridiculous position to take. Like this accusation you make:

Joss Whedon seeing female characters as largely interchangeable and reducing them easily to funbag airbags?”

This is laughable on its face. Not only does it have absolutely nothing to do with what he is actually accused of doing, it doesn’t even correspond to the actual problems plaguing Whedon’s work. You can criticize a lot of things about Whedon’s women, but that he treats women as interchangeable pairs of huge tits is not one of those. You are criticizing Joss Whedon here, not Michael Bay. In fact, Whedon tends to fetishize small breasts, not big ones.

The tone of this article and the complete absence of nuance is honestly very vindictive and unprofessional. Do better io9. Criticize Whedon for the shit he has done, not based on a laughable caricature of chauvinism. Also, maybe don’t give a pass to Zack “Sucker Punch” Snyder while you’re at it, uh?