Even as the final puzzle piece in Marvel Studios' "Phase One" debuted to a rapturous response from critics and audiences, Whedon was uncertain about committing to another costumed ensemble, and his public hesitation has shown right up until now. Marvel has demonstrated a comfort with bringing in new directors mid-franchise, as is the case with its "Phase Two" sequels, so there was some thought that Whedon probably wouldn't be back. Considering how much of Whedon's style made The Avengers fly, that would have been a shame.
A shame we won't have to contemplate, since the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and all-around nice guy is definitely staying in the Marvel game. According to Variety, Disney head honcho Bob Iger announced as much during an earnings call with analysts this morning.
But he's not even just writing and directing what we assume will be the climax of "Phase Two." Whedon's also on board to develop a live-action television series based in Marvel's cinematic universe. The series, which will air on ABC, which joins the Incredible Hulk show that Guillermo del Toro has been shepherding slowly though development, is likely involve SHIELD in some capacity.
Disney confirmed the huzzah-worthy news with a statement summing it all up nicely: "Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel's The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel's cinematic universe."
Note that last bit about creative contributions. Prior to making The Avengers, Whedon did uncredited rewrites on Captain America: The First Avenger. Hopefully, his continued involvement with Marvel includes such contributions to upcoming projects. Iron Man 3 is already more than halfway through production, while Thor: The Dark World is just getting started. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy could benefit from his input, though, as could Edgar Wright's eventual Ant-Man movie.
With the unwieldy work of getting the team together and establishing the basic dynamic between them, Whedon can cut loose with the next adventure of The Avengers. The sequel is likely to arrive in the summer of 2015, but it's also entirely possible that it'll take a little bit longer, since we don't know about Marvel's movie plans beyond Guardians of the Galaxy in August of 2014.