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Joss Whedon's Creative Choice That Had Kevin Feige Fighting Back

It's been well known since "Avengers: Age of Ultron" was released in 2015 that writer-director Joss Whedon had a difficult time making the then-hotly anticipated sequel. Following up 2012's beloved "The Avengers," which catapulted the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the forefront of moviegoing audiences' minds, was never going to be easy. Whedon noted even before "Age of Ultron" was released that juggling all the film's characters, including series newcomers Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and Vision (Paul Bettany), was a "nightmare" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

"They're very disparate characters," Whedon said. "The joy of the Avengers is they really don't belong in the same room. It's not like the X-Men, who are all tortured by the same thing and have similar costumes. These guys are just all over the place. And so it's tough. Honestly, this is as tough as anything I've ever done, and I haven't worked this hard since I had three shows on the air."

Whedon reportedly clashed with Marvel Studios creatively over scenes in which the Avengers hide out at Clint Barton's (Jeremy Renner) farmhouse and a scene in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has a vision in a cave about the Infinity Stones, setting up future MCU films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios told Whedon he could not have the farm scenes without Thor's cave sequence — even after test audiences didn't respond well to an extended version of the Thor scene.

Apparently, Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige personally intervened on one particular matter during pre-production.

Kevin Feige intervened on Ultron's final character design

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" concept artist Phil Saunders frequently shares his paintings and concept art for various MCU films on Instagram. In one post featuring early Ultron designs for the film, Saunders notes that Joss Whedon wanted Ultron's design to feature more "grounded" technology, including pistons and gears for the villain's hardware.

"We ended up pursuing a direction that was frankly too 'endoskeleton' for my taste," Saunders wrote on Instagram. "Thankfully Keven [sic] Feige stepped in and steered us toward what made it to the screen, but for a while I got to paint some cool hardware!" Ultron's final design wound up looking more streamlined and sophisticated, showing off his advanced artificial intelligence and vibranium-upgraded body at the midway point in the film.

Saunders has shared numerous Ultron concept art drawings on his Instagram from his time working on "Age of Ultron," showcasing how the character's design evolved throughout pre-production. Given the stories that have emerged about Whedon's frustrations making the "Avengers" sequel, it's no surprise that Feige may have stepped in on the main villain's look from the start.