Joss Whedon’s return to television is imminent with the days counting down until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts on ABC on Tuesday night, September 24, but with this being his first television show since Dollhouse, just how involved is Whedon going to be?
Well that question, along with many others, was answered on Sunday during the Television Critics Association panel with Whedon along with his brother Jed (who is serving as showrunner on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and several members of the cast and crew.
Whedon will serve as an executive producer on the series, as well as write and direct the pilot episode, which originally debuted at San Diego Comic Con in July before being screened for the members of the TCA on Sunday. Following that episode, Whedon will still be involved in the series at every level—as much as a man developing Avengers 2: Age of Ultron can be hands on with any television series.
“I’m reading every script, every story, and giving notes and re-writes,” Whedon said. “I just can’t be in the room every day. The group I have shares this hard-to-convey idea of how I want the show to feel. I got the best writers and actors I could so I could do this and that’s the best way to run a show.”
As far as how far Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will delve into the Marvel Universe in terms of crossover appeal with the films (including Thor: The Dark World that opens later this year as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier next year), there will be plenty of opportunity for that to happen, but not at the expense of the show.
As Whedon explains it, they want the show to stand on its own two legs and be a unique, creatively driven product that has its own corner of the Marvel Universe. That’s not to say, however, that there won’t be a few appearances and references sprinkled throughout the show.
“There will be as much as we can allow,” Whedon said. “We’re still working that out. It’s a fluid process. It’s a fun opportunity, but it’s not the reason for the show. It’s not an Easter egg farm, we want people to come back.
“We wanted to make sure there’s an investment in the characters as much as case of the week. Every week it’s not going to be some new hero. There could be a device, a mystery. There’s so many aspects as to what’s happened since everybody in the world found out there’s a superhero team and aliens invaded New York. We want to be able to change it up every week—spy stuff, hero stuff, heartfelt stuff. (We want to make sure) that every week you get something that feels different so it’s not turkey every day.”
The best part about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for Whedon?
It’s well known that the creator of Firefly has dealt with more than a couple of run-ins with studios and networks that didn’t necessarily follow his vision for a show before, but he says it is a completely different experience with ABC as they develop Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“We’ve gotten trust, which is different than freedom,” Whedon commented. “My collaboration with Marvel on (The Avengers) was extraordinary and unprecedented. They’re very supportive of the vision we first laid out. We’re all trying to make the same show. We’re all on the same page, which has occasionally not happened to me.”
Now with the show just about six weeks from debuting on TV, the network has also released the first poster for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which you can view below.