Joss Whedon may assemble 'Avengers' movie

joss-whedon-getty-320.jpgThat thing you just felt? It may have been a nation of geeks collectively fainting.

The cause for all the excitement is the fact that Joss Whedon -- he of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Firefly," "Serenity" and "Dollhouse" -- may be given the reins to Marvel Comics' "Avengers" movie. Deadline.com reports that Whedion is in "final negotiations" with Marvel Studios to direct the movie, which is scheduled for a 2012 release.

"The Avengers" will bring together several Marvel on-screen heroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans). S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will also be involved; there's no word on whether Marvel's other original Avengers, the Incredible Hulk and the previously unfilmed Ant-Man, will be too.

The movie will be the culmination of Marvel's years-long strategy of bringing its heroes together, one that began with Jackson's post-credits cameo in "Iron Man." He and Downey then popped up in "The Incredible Hulk" the following summer. Jackson is also featured in "Iron Man 2," which hits theaters next month; "Thor" and "The First Avenger: Captain America" are due for release next year.

Zak Penn, a veteran of several previous Marvel big-screen adaptations ("The Incredible Hulk" and the last two "X-Men" movies), is writing the "Avengers" script.

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