Joss Whedon's ingenious take on Much Ado About Nothing played at the SXSW festival last night and there was a panel discussion afterwards. As you'd expect, the audience seemed to be having as much fun with the panel as they had with the film itself.
And also predictably, not all of the questions were about Much Ado. There's no doubting how much interest there is in the pending SHIELD pilot, and Whedon very easily got everybody in the audience really buzzing by talking about it a little.
Just a little.
Now, I hadn't really been convinced that Agent Coulson had survived the events of The Avengers, even though he's known to be a key part of the SHIELD dramatis personae. I was still expecting some kind of sleight of hand that would let the character stay dead, from something as simple as a flashback through to a more complex structural conceit. According to Whedon, though, Coulson is definitely up and kicking again.
How so? Well, at first Whedon quipped:
I'll tell you guys this… Heimlich.
But he soon got serious and zipped his lips. He can't tell us how their premise works, he said, but he did promise that yes, Coulson really is back, and is alive post-Avengers, "for realsies."
Thanks to Cinema Blend for those SXSW panel quotes.
Now, Whedon spoke to Deadline recently about why he put Coulson at the centre of this show. I'd say it's enough to justify any goofy resurrection conceit they'd want.
The idea of the Little Guy is something that I am very fierce about, and there has never been a better Little Guy than Clark Gregg. That intrigued me, this world around the superhero community. It's the people whose shop windows get blown up when the Destroyer shows up. It's the more intimate stories that belong on television that we can really tap into the visual style and ethos, and even some of the mythology, of the Marvel movies. I think we've put together another really great ensemble headed by Clark.
And how much it's actually seeding or hinting or reacting to what's going on in the movies is something we'll let play out as we go. For me the most important thing is that people fall in love with it on its own merits, rather than constantly asking, "Is there gonna be an Avenger?" Well, there's not gonna be a Hulk because that guy's too expensive.
I don't think he means Ruffalo.
Unless ABC completely lose their minds, SHIELD will kick off on our small screens this Autumn. Much Ado About Nothing is in UK cinemas from June 14th, US cinemas from June 21st.