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17 Things We Learned from Joss Whedon’s Reddit AMA

Beloved screenwriter, director, and showrunner Joss Whedon has two movies coming out in the next month: indie horror film The Cabin in the Woods (which he co-wrote and produced), which is in theaters Friday, and May’s long-awaited Marvel superhero flick The Avengers. He’s also got a Shakespeare adaptation, Much Ado About Nothing, due out before the end of the year, as well as a supernatural romance movie and a new installment of wonderful online experiment Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in the works. All of which is to say that he had a lot to talk about with his cultish fans in a Reddit AMA this afternoon — especially given that his past work is still very much on many people’s minds. After the jump, we round up the 17 most interesting revelations from the interview.

What’s going on with Dr. Horrible 2: “We’re not shooting right now, we’re still in the early stages of writing. But we hope to make a great deal of progress this summer. And you can expect the death of someone you love.”

You’ll see all the old, familiar faces in the Dr. Horrible sequel: “Yes, the original cast will be back for Dr H 2, but Penny will be… um… I don’t want to say ‘decomposing’…”

Where Dollhouse would have gone if it hadn’t been canceled: “It would have been a much slower odyssey of Echo’s self-creation and liberation, peppered with astonishing perversions.”

What would have happened on Season 6 of Angel: “Season six of Angel would have kicked all manner of ass. And Illyria would have manifested as Fred often enough to become very confused about her identity.”

Why he’s such a feminist, atheist, queer-friendly geek: “As for my political bent, it comes from how I was raised — and my own very strong sense of being helpless and tiny and terrified (that goes away, right?). The only trouble it’s ever caused me is that once you take a stance as a person, people are always using that as a yardstick in your work, which can be kind of limiting.”

Why Whedon is taking on Shakespeare with Much Ado About Nothing: “I wanted to drag Shakespeare from obscurity. I’ve been a fan my whole life, and it’s time other people started noticing him!” [Ed. note: LOL]

Don’t worry, the female characters in The Avengers are going to be badass: “All I can say is that Scarlett [Johansson] gets to do a lot more than be hot in ‘Avengers’. It’s definitely dispiriting to have a woman play an heroic role and then be reduced to body parts by fan commentary, but that can only change slowly. And is.”

Whedon’s favorite characters to write: “Spike, Andrew, Illyria, River, Captain Hammer, Loki, the Cheese Man… hell, I love them all, or I wouldn’t write them. But I tend to the left of center.”

His hardest character to write: “Angel. How to make a decent, handsome, stalwart hero interesting — tough. Angelus, on the other hand…”

He’s confused about why he gets so much press for killing off characters: “I’m, no offense, very tired of being labelled as ‘the guy who kills people’. Shakespeare (he’s this hot new writer) does it way more than me, and everyone’s all excited about how he, as it were, holds a mirror up to nature, while I’m like the Jason Voorhees of the writing community. Unfair.”

The character death that upset Whedon the most: Buffy’s mom

The one TV episode that defines his entire body of work: “Objects in Space,” the Firefly series finale

He may yet go back to TV: “I miss TV. Not the hours, but the format. If I felt I could actually do the work I set out to, I’d definitely go back for a spell.”

What helps him while he’s writing: “I like movie scores. They really help put me in the moment, no matter where I am. Avengers owes a lot to Rachel Portman’s Never Let Me Go and Hart’s War. Also Zimmer: The Thin Red Line, King Arthur, Black Hawk Down… special mention: Breach, Seven Pounds, Passengers… lifetime achievement award: Memoirs of a Geisha, by the man himself, Mr. Williams. And I do like a reward for writing — cup of tea, glass of wine, meth-fueled crime spree… but when a story has me, I don’t need anything but a pen.”

What he’d do if money were no object: “I have many dream projects. But all the money in the world means just one thing: spaceships. Spaceships in trouble.”

Whedon’s favorite ice cream flavor: salted caramel

His favorite work of science fiction: Dune. (The book).”

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