Joss Whedon’s projects have run the gamut, from film to television to the web, but he sees one similarity between very high-budget productions to very low-budget productions: “They’re both [assistant director] nightmares.”
This, he said during a Comic-Con panel reflecting on the 10th anniversary of his web series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog,” is because of scheduling complications and the lack of time either budget is afforded.
“The food is also always bad,” he added.
“Dr. Horrible” was produced independently in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 WGA writers’ strike and makred Whedon’s first major foray into digital production. It was distributed through a number of different platforms in the summer of 2008, and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. The 45-minute-long superhero musical has been an enduring fan favorite ever since its release.
“Dr. Horrible,” as revealed during the Comic-Con panel featuring Whedon, Fillion, and Day, was a project that Whedon originally pitched over 10 years ago to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who passed. It was a self-financed production, ended up making Whedon more money than his work on “The Avengers,” according to Whedon in 2015. It’s also the only project he’s worked on to ever win him an Emmy and has inspired countless additional media, including a newly announced one-shot comic Whedon will write for Dark Horse Comics, for publication in November.
The Comic-Con panel, kicked off its audience questions with a deep cut bringing together “The Avengers” with: “Did you have to explain to Chris Hemsworth what Thor’s hammer was a metaphor for?”
Replied Whedon, “Chris Hemsworth knows what the hammer is a metaphor for. He knows everything is a metaphor for his penis.”
Whedon would of course later launch himself into the billion-dollar blockbuster business with “The Avengers,” joking that “every Marvel movie is basically a ‘Dr. Horrible’ rip-off and that’s fine.”
Whedon then told the story of how the infamous shawarma end credits scene from “The Avengers” came from him making an offhand joke to Marvel exec Kevin Feige, and them hastily filming it during the “Avengers” press tour and editing it quickly for the US theatrical release.
“That’s very ‘Dr. Horrible’-y,” Day said to Whedon on the panel. He agreed.