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OTRC: Joss Whedon signs on to write and direct 'Avengers 2'

Joss Whedon talks to OnTheRedCarpet.com at San Diego Comic-Con about the 'Buffy' reunion on July 25, 2012.

It's official! Joss Whedon will return to "The Avengers" franchise to write and direct the sequel.

"Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015," Marvel Studios announced on Tuesday, August 7, in a statement. "As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel's 'The Avengers 2' as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel's cinematic universe."

Marvel is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, which is the parent company of ABC and OnTheRedCarpet.com.

No other details were provided. "The Avengers" is the biggest hit of 2012 so far. The movie has grossed nearly $1.5 billion worldwide at the box office and has earned $616 million domestically.

Whedon is perhaps best known for creating the television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the short lived but beloved series "Firefly." Whedon also created "Dollhouse" and "Angel." He also co-wrote and directed the popular online musical "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" in 2008.

"I'm not leveraging this into some other gig. This was the dream gig, I got to do it and I'm really proud of the work we did," Whedon told OnTheRedCarpet.com correspondent George Pennacchio at ":The Avengers" premiere in Los Angeles in May. "The fact that there are a lot of people who would come to this who would never watch anything else I did, that's great that's exciting for me and the fact that my fans would be in the mix is also exciting."

He added: "I write for everybody. When I write a scene it's ... for two people - me and the entire world. "

"The Avengers" features characters from the "Iron Man," "Thor," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Captain America" together.

Scarlett Johansson reprised her role as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow from "Iron Man 2" while Robert Downey Jr. returned as Tony Stark / Iron Man. Jeremy Renner plays Clint Barton / Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson will returned his role as Nick Fury. The film also stars Colbie Smulders of "How I Met Your Mother" as Maria Hill, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Nick Fury.

"It's been fun and the fact that Marvel trusted me with what is not a small endeavor - that never went away, that trust," Whedon said. "From the moment I walked in they said, 'This is your movie' and they let me make it and they worked with me. They're an extraordinary studio and the cast ... well, some of them are pretty good at acting," he joked. "I'm not going to say which ones."

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