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Joss Whedon has been mostly tight-lipped about the plot for the upcoming "Avengers" sequel, "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," though in the past he has teased that the film will feature "death, death, death." So is Whedon really planning some mass killings among our heroes?
Entertainment Weekly got the scoop from the director in a new Q&A, asking him if his dark promise would be fulfilled.
"I'm always joking about that," Whedon said. "Um ... maybe?"
The director explained that there would have to be "a really good reason" to kill one of the Avengers. After all, Marvel is depending on those characters to fuel future film franchises, he said, and the studio isn't willing to frivolously part with potential moneymakers. But that doesn't mean nothing bad can happen to any of our heroes, either.
"They know, as any good studio does, that without some stakes, some real danger, how involved can we get?" Whedon said. "We don't just rule it out across the board, but neither is the mission statement 'Who can we kill?' We try to build the story organically and go, 'How hard can we make it on these people?'"
Speaking of making things hard for the Avengers, one obstacle that won't be in their way the next time around is Loki, who will not appear in "Age of Ultron." Asked why the fan-favorite antagonist, played by Tom Hiddleston, would not return, Whedon said it came down to focusing more on the heroes, rather than the villains.
"Every movie is going to be a different villain," he said. "Loki's awesome, and he is awesome in 'Thor 2.' But 'The Avengers' is a different thing."
For more from Whedon, check out the latest issue of EW.