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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): The Avengers assemble for an EW roundtable -- VIDEO

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After the credits roll on a movie, it’s always good to sit around with friends and talk about your favorite moments.

When Entertainment Weekly got a conversation going about The Avengers last spring, the friends just happened to be Iron Man, Nick Fury, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and the Hulk, or at least the stars who played them — who swear a lot more.

Miniature versions of the heroes as Hasbro playthings were scattered around the table, but they stayed mostly quiet, unless their buttons were pushed. (The stars were more focused on pushing each other’s buttons.)

The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon says his biggest challenge with the actors was getting them to stop goofing around on set, but now that the film is finished, you can see him here dropping the vice principal act and joining forces with the troublemakers.

Check out our exclusive video with Whedon and his cast below. Their far-ranging discussion included such matters as: Who has the most serious battle scar, who blew the most takes by forgetting lines, and … did Whedon really cry while discussing Black Widow’s origin story? 

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

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'Iron Man 3': The 10 weirdest things in the new trailer

The evil geniuses of Marvel Studios are the masters of building suspense among hardcore fans, often by creating trailers that show a lot of imagery that is, 1) very exciting, and 2) entirely out of context. As we watch, we’re in a constant state of “What exactly is going on here?”

The new trailer for Iron Man 3 is full of such headscratchers, which only help build tension and anticipation for the May 3 opening.

Like I said — evil geniuses. READ FULL STORY

'Iron Man 3': Sneak peek at the upcoming trailer -- VIDEO

I know, I know … a teaser clip for an upcoming trailer. It seems kind of silly.

But for fans of the Marvel movies who’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of their “Phase Two” series of post-Avengers movies, this is kind of like nibbling a little Halloween candy before heading home from trick-or-treating to rip open the whole bag.

The full trailer for Iron Man 3 comes out on Tuesday, but for now … we get the fun-size version.

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UPDATE: Joss Whedon responds to 'The Dark Knight Rises' cinematographer's slam of 'The Avengers': 'I'm a fan.'

Wally Pfister, director Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer, is not a fan The Avengers.

While participating in a Q&A last week at Ringling College of Art and Design, the Dark Knight Rises cinematographer staked his claim in the ongoing rivalry between DC Comics and Marvel, blasting the record-breaking film. “I thought The Avengers was an appalling film,” he said, according to the Huffington Post (via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune). “They’d shoot from some odd angle and I’d think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling.”

UPDATE: When reached by EW, The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon responded: “I’m sorry to hear it, I’m a fan.”

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'Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United': First Look at Marvel Animation's debut movie -- EXCLUSIVE

The big green guy and the big metal guy are having a post-Avengers reunion in animated form.

Marvel Animation Studios has exclusively revealed plans to EW for its debut feature, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, which will team Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in a fight against the villain Zzzax, a creature formed out of pure energy who can absorb human minds.

As these first images show, the movie (which will debut on home video April 23) is a hybrid of computer-generated animation and hand-drawn art.

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Briefcase lawsuit delays Marvel's 'Phase One' box set until next spring -- EXCLUSIVE

So close …

Marvel Studios’ massive box set collection of its “Phase One” series of movies — everything from 2008’s Iron Man to last May’s The Avengers — will no longer be released on Sept. 25, but will instead be pushed back to an unspecified date next spring, according to sources at parent company Disney.

The holdup … ? The packaging.

A German luggage firm has filed a lawsuit alleging that the silver briefcase for the six-movie collection is too similar to one of its products. READ FULL STORY

Joss Whedon on 'Much Ado About Nothing' and how Shakespeare and 'The Avengers' are similar

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Joss Whedon’s name has been flung around the movie stratosphere with Thor-worthy momentum since his superhero blockbuster The Avengers staked a claim on the box office this summer.

But the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly creator still feels relatively nervous, modest, yenta-ish and excited when it comes to film festivals. His equally modest, black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing premieres Saturday at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The festival runs from Thursday through Sept. 16.

“I’ve been to two festivals in my life, and I’ve never been to Toronto. I haven’t really been making festival movies. This is new territory for me,” Whedon told EW.com. “I’m kind of festive. Toronto has an amazing rep. The entire cast is coming. That’s so exciting for me, since they’re all my buddies. I would like to find a distributor and would really like to see other people’s movies.”

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'Sleepwalk With Me' comedy declares victory over Joss Whedon's 'Avengers' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Puny Whedon …

Sleepwalk With Me, an indie film about a stand-up comic who discovers that his act gets funnier the more his life falls apart, expands to cities across the country today, and it has already declared victory over the biggest movie of the year after debuting last week on just one New York City screen.

Take that, Joss Whedon! Oooh, “The Avengers”! You think you’re so smart with your billion-dollar superhero franchise. Who’s laughing now!?

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Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal

Mike Birbiglia, that’s who! The guy who wrote, directed, and stars in the film (which is based on his own life.) And Ira Glass, the mild-mannered host of public radio’s This American Life, who produced Sleepwalk With Me — he’s laughing, too!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! In … your … FACE, Joss Whedon!

Check out the exclusive video of their victory declaration, and Whedon’s pathetic capitulation, at Sleepwalk With Me‘s recent Los Angeles premiere. READ FULL STORY

Joss Whedon talks 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series -- plus 'The Avengers' back in theaters Labor Day weekend

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A day after widespread reports that ABC green lit a television series pilot about the top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. organization featured in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, Whedon has confirmed he’s on board to at least consult on it, though he won’t be the showrunner.

“The S.H.I.E.L.D. show kind of dropped in my lap, and I love working in TV,” Whedon told EW.com on Thursday, without revealing any more details. “I get to really build a show with people I really trust and love. What we’re building is entirely autonomous from The Avengers. It’s gotta be a show that works for people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies. It will please Marvel fans, I think.”
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The somber alternate 'Avengers' opening Joss Whedon wisely cut -- VIDEO

You’ve got to give Joss Whedon props for trying something a little darker, but his abandoned idea for the opening of The Avengers probably deserves its place in the dustbin of cinematic history.

In this sequence, available on the upcoming Blu-ray for the movie, we begin with a flash-forward to the smouldering city of New York, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being grilled by the unseen members of the World Security Council. We see a shot of Captain America, looking mournfully at a wounded woman, and hear (but don’t see) that a lot of people have died.

This grim opening is meant to suggest that getting these super-powered individuals for a team was a colossal mistake.

Except … c’mon, who would’ve bought that? READ FULL STORY

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