Joss Whedon celebrates his 50th birthday today! The middle child in a family of 5 brothers, Whedon grew up in a family of successful TV writers. His film education took him to Winchester College in England, and he graduated with a film degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Whedon’s first TV job was writing for the show Roseanne. In 1992 he released a film he’d been working on, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and would later go on in 1997 to expand the franchise to a television series on the WB Network, working as the show’s executive producer. The show also would have a successful Whedon-produced spinoff, Angel. His 2002 sci-fi success Firefly has accrued a cult following, even with its short 1-season run. Fans were semi-sated when the 2005 spin-off film Serenity was released, although they are still vocal about bringing the show back.
He also has screenwriting credits on Alien: Resurrection and was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Toy Story in 2005.
His most recent blockbuster effort was the 2012 The Avengers movie (which is the third-highest grossing film of all time!). He is also credited with writing the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will be released in 2015, and creating the spin-off TV show, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which just finished up its first season on ABC and will be coming back for a second.
On making superhero movies and portraying superheroes,Whedon stated in an Entertainment Weekly interview, “I try to make my superhero movies as if there’s either never been one or there’s only ever been them,” he said. “I work with the idea that it’s just a natural way for people to be, so that you still make a movie about people.”
Aside from the science fiction/fantasy/comic book world, Whedon has also stepped into the horror/thriller world with the satirical horror flick, The Cabin in the Woods in 2012 which turned the conventional horror movies on their heads. It features five archetypal characters often found in horror movies and has been cited as “a clever brand of meta-level genius” by the Washington Post. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, who also appeared in The Avengers.
It seems that Whedon is very focused on the humanity of his characters and making them relatable and reachable to his audience. He spoke to the UK website, Den of Geek and said “I’m never interested in movies where you don’t care about the people you’re watching, and that’s my biggest quibble about horror, that kids have gotten stupider and stupider. And people say, ‘Oh, it’s horrible! They are all tortured for 90 minutes, but it’s okay because they’re not very likable.’ And it’s like, what part of that sentence was supposed to sell me?”
He’s loved by the comic book/sci-fi community and can often be found at comic conventions. At his spotlights and panels, fans line up to voice their excitement about upcoming projects, and there are an extraordinary amount of people still bitter about the cancellation of Firefly, demanding a reboot, and voicing their want for a sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, the internet musical phenomenon withNeil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion. There ought to be a Joss Whedon vault where sequels and continuations can be pulled out and ready at any time; fans young and old flock to conventions to bring their support to all of his projects.
We hope to see a new Firefly season and a sequel to Dr. Horrible, but we are also excited for what the future holds for Joss Whedon. And you can bet we’ll be first in line to see Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.
What did Whedon have to say about turning 50?
All of us at SCIFI.radio wish Joss Whedon the happiest (and geekiest) of birthdays.