Ray Fisher says that Joss Whedon’s alleged toxic behavior on the set of Justice League was motivated by Avengers: Age of Ultron’s failures.
Ray Fisher says that Joss Whedon’s behavior on the set of Justice League was motivated by the poor reception to Avengers: Age of Ultron. The filmmaker took over Zack Snyder after the original director had to step away from the DCEU project due to a personal tragedy. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well as his reshoots drastically changed the intended story for the film which didn’t sit well with a lot of fans.
When Whedon boarded the DCEU as the interim helmer of Justice League, he was from a few years’ stint at Marvel Studios. After delivering the massively successful The Avengers which solidified Kevin Feige’s plans of interconnected storytelling, he was brought back to direct Age of Ultron. While the sequel was still a box office triumph, it wasn’t the universal hit that its predecessor was. Now, Fisher says that this contributed to Whedon’s alleged toxic behavior on the set of Justice League. According to the actor, the director poorly treated the cast and crew of the movie, saying that his demeanor “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.” This resulted in WarnerMedia launching an investigation about his claims.
While speaking with the Poindexter Lounge Podcast, Fisher talked about his experience blowing the whistle regarding this issue — something that was corroborated by his Justice League co-star Jason Momoa. The actor recalled that during their early conversations with Whedon, he learned that his behavior on set was somehow motivated by the director’s resentment over some of the criticisms that Age of Ultron got.
One of the things that I will say so far is, our experience in the creation of this… Joss brought a lot of his personal and professional, for lack of a better term, resentment, into the Justice League process. One of the things that he had said in our first conversation was that people didn’t quote-unquote “get” ‘Age of Ultron’, and there were certain things being said in that conversation where I was like, oh, this is less about the work being presented and more, sort of like, of an ego stroke to say ‘Well look, if you like it in this movie, you should’ve liked it in that one. Ha ha, joke’s on you.’.. And that’s just creatively, that has nothing to do with any of the really egregious stuff, that’s just on a creative level. It shows, ya know.”
“And that’s part of the reason why I say that we inherited Joss Whedon. We inherited the problem of Joss Whedon. I’m sure he has a lot to deal with. Hopefully he deals with it in a healthy way and we’ll make good on any sort of apologies that he may need to put out there.”
It’s no secret that Whedon had a more difficult time directing Age of Ultron than The Avengers. Several reports have indicated that Whedon and Feige often butted heads with regard to how the MCU should proceed. This was the reason why Whedon ultimately decided to leave Marvel Studios, with Joe and Anthony Russo ending up directing Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Still, it does seem like Whedon and Marvel Studios were still able to be civil despite their problems in Age of Ultron as the filmmaker was still invited in several subsequent press events like the world premiere of Endgame back in 2019.
What’s interesting about this new information from Fisher is that most of the issues Avengers: Age of Ultron had stemmed from mandated elements that were supposed to foreshadow future films in the Infinity Saga most notably was Thor’s vision of the Infinity Stones. Granted that there’s the internet-famous parallel between Bruce Banner falling on top of Black Widow and Flash doing the same on Wonder Woman, albeit, in a different context, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of similar creative choices between the movies. This doesn’t mean that Whedon’s alleged atrocious behavior while working on Justice League didn’t totally have any ties to his previous directing stint. It’s still possible that he was harboring some issues with his last job, it’s just odd that he supposedly coped with it by treating people badly and significantly changing the movie that he was only tasked to finish.