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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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April 18 2011

Joss Whedon is the only credited writer on The Avengers. Devin clears up some media misreporting regarding a recent Zak Penn interview.

For now. Never under estimate the WGA's power to bury common sense under mis-placed ideology.
I just assumed...but yes, wouldn't be surprised to see Penn get some bucks/credit down the road. One of the more intriguing WGA tussles I've read about in recent years revolves around Jeffrey Lieber and LOST, FWIW:
You know, I'm really more happy that Joss is writing the Avengers instead of just directing it.

Of course, I love Joss's directing, but I do feel like his true power is in writing and I am so glad that he got to write the film. I have no doubt it is going to be amazing as a result.

For now. Never under estimate the WGA's power to bury common sense under mis-placed ideology.

You may find it misplaced, but imagine if you had to to break the story and another writer came in, changed all the lines but essentially rewrote the story you'd broken but with the same breaks and the same story. That is what the Writers Guild tries to prevent because it could result in groups of writers coming in and doing what is the grunt work and having another writer come in and take the credit and the cash. I would much rather have double credits than no credit, and I'd rather have the guild determine those things than the individual egos of the writers.

I'm not talking about this instance specifically (as I have no idea who wrote what and how much was rewritten etc.) but in general I like what the guild does.
It may be that the Avengers producers had a specific idea of what they wanted the story to be and Penn and Whedon have essentially written distinct versions of the same arc from that brief. So credits could be a bit fuzzy. (With Lost the brief was as simple as "Survivor as a drama", and Lieber still got the credit.)
Yes, better the Guild fights for more credits than not enough people get credited, imho. And I'd guess Joss would agree - particularly as he wrote almost all of the dialogue for "Speed" which made it to the screen, but still found his name arbitrated out of the final credits.
Better the people who actually write the stuff that appears on the screen get credited and the people whose work ends up in the trash don't get credited at all, I think. I don't think it's a "more than/not enough" balance, it's about appropriateness of association.

I think it's crazy that Joss Whedon didn't get a Speed credit despite most of the on-screen dialogue being his. Equally crazy that Damon Lindelof loses half of what he'd get for Lost because some dude wrote an unused treatment for it before he did. (Lloyd Braun, who came up with the concept for the show, gets NOTHING because he was a network executive! In fact he got FIRED for commissioning Lost!)

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