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The Real Reason Joss Whedon Left Marvel

Joss Whedon has made headlines on and off for some time now, though not for the most positive reasons. It all started when Ray Fisher of "Justice League" fame came out and accused Whedon of poor conduct on set, prompting several other actors, such as Sarah Michelle Gellar from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," to come forward with comments of their own. Whedon recently responded to these claims, which once again put him on the hot seat. Regardless of where the situation goes from here, though, there's no denying how impressive his film and TV résumé has become over the years.

His take on "Justice League" didn't exactly set the world on fire, but Joss Whedon's collaborations with Marvel Studios certainly did. His first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe came in 2012 for "The Avengers" — a critical and commercial success that ushered in a new era of comic book movies. To follow it up, he helmed its 2015 sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which still made a decent chunk of change despite missing the mark with some moviegoers. Not to mention, Whedon played a key role in developing the television series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." that ran from 2013 to 2020.

Even though his influence over the MCU was strong for some time, Joss Whedon eventually left the Marvel universe behind. Here's why.

Infinity War was too big a story for him to pull off

Following the release of "Age of Ultron," the MCU saw a period of major expansion. Heroes like Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda "Scarlet Witch" Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and more arrived on the scene, adding some serious depth to the franchise's roster. As a result, the third "Avengers" feature, 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War," had the potential to be the most ambitious superhero flick of all time — something Joss Whedon knew he wouldn't be able to pull off properly.

Shortly before the premiere of "Age of Ultron," Whedon spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the impending sequel and his experience working under the Marvel banner. During the interview, he revealed his reason for handing "Infinity War" over to the sibling directing duo of Joe and Anthony Russo. "Every movie I have ever made has been an ensemble piece of increasingly enormous proportions. That many balls in the air, it's only going to get bigger with 'Infinity War.' I'm not going to be able to give it what I would need to," Whedon said. "It's a young man's game."

Come 2016, Joss Whedon elaborated on his Marvel experience and ultimate departure to the Oxford Union (via Collider). "I made a completely clean break — not because we had a falling out — just because I was like, 'I can't,'" Whedon said, going on to explain that he had a hand in most MCU Phase Two films, but his desire to continue helping out with each installment wasn't sustainable. "I wouldn't do anything else because there are a lot of films, and it is a lot of fun. It's very seductive."

Controversies surrounding Joss Whedon aside, he made the right move leaving the "Avengers" series as well as the MCU behind. He recognized how immense the project that sat before him was, so he handed the baton to the Russos instead of potentially botching a movie as important as "Infinity War." Suffice to say, all parties involved benefitted from his decision.