The sound you may currently be hearing is that of action-fans and all those across the geekosphere giving an almighty 'whoop' as the news breaks that Joss Whedon has now officially signed on to both write and direct Avengers 2. This was no real surprise given the critical and financial success of The Avengers which is almost certain to be 2012's most profitable release - now thisclose to crossing the $1.5 BILLION mark.
Whedon appeared to be taking his time, considering all his options and the smart money suggests that the delay in signing a deal for his particpation was probably less about actual money (though, we suspect...truckloads) and more about the power Whedon now wields to get some of his personal projects greenlighted. Despite now being exclusively tied to Disney/Marvel until 2015, expect his fingerprints on smaller, more personal projects that may finally get to see the light of day.
But the whooping may not cease there. Whedon, we now know, will ALSO be an active participant in helping shape an ABC television series based in the Marvel Universe. Though such a project is only in the earliest stages of planning, it seems to be conceived as less of a regular full-on action series on a par with the Avengers (even in this day and age, such an hour-long drama with such effects etc would still be prohibitvely expensive) but a show that takes place in the same universe and runs parallel to anything on the big-screen. Even so, it would still be an ambitious undertaking. With many of Marvel's catalogue of literally thousands of characters available, the potential for the show is endless and Whedon obviously has form in cult television after the likes of Buffy, Angel and Firefly.
The project comes after there's been delay after delay in ramping up a TV version of the Hulk (which still remains a possibility -it appears they are in a 'holding pattern' for a specific writer (one suspects not Whedon given today's news) to be available and aiming for a possible late 2013 airdate) but there is a strong drive to reflect the successful linkage of the movies in a parallel television format. Ironically, it is DC who have had more success in television, with the likes of Smallville and the upcoming Arrow.
One suspects that if the Avengers sequel is ready to go on schedule, we could see both the film and the television series around the late summer of 2015...