IESB probably should have timed their scoop better; the site reported that Joss Whedon was at the head of the ‘short list’ of Avengers directors on April 1st, a day when the movie webs become paralyzed with unfunny fake stories. Many folks dismissed it.

But it was a legit scoop, and a follow-up by the LA Times reveals that there have been talks between Whedon and Marvel about directing the superhero team up movie. But it’s hard to tell how serious Marvel is, as they’ve proven that their method is bring people in, talk with them, leak the info online and then make their decisions based on the feedback from the web. John Krasinski had the Captain America role until the web got uppity about it, and Marvel threw out a whole bunch of names to get our reactions.

I hope that the deal doesn’t get done. I like Whedon’s work, but he feels wrong for The Avengers; the movie needs someone who will get the interpersonal bickering of the team but also take the adventure seriously. The Avengers is an all-star team concept, and these guys don’t get together because of any real shared interests or likes, but rather because they’re all the biggest at what they do. There’s comedy in that concept – it’s a workplace concept, at its heart, as opposed to the familial grouping of the Fantastic Four or the oppressed minority grouping of the X-Men. But I fear that Whedon would go too far in that direction – and since Marvel seems to be happy to let their movies get written on set, the impact of a director will be major in every area of storytelling.

Of course this is exactly what Whedon needs. He has name recognition, but it’s limited. Being the guy behind one of the biggest movies of the coming decade would open him up to a whole new audience.

It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes in the months ahead.