As servants of the 24-hour entertainment news cycle, clickbait journalists often have to “make” news if there’s no news to create clickbait articles about. Normally, that means that we stretch a James Gunn tweet about presidential masturbation out into a 300 word article with a hyperbolic headline, but in at least one instance, clickbait entertainment journalism literally made news by forcing Marvel Studios to change the ending to an Avengers movie.
Sandwich-themed Hollywood gossip site The Wrap had an interview with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige this week, and Feige revealed that he made director and alleged fake feminist Joss Whedon change the ending to Avengers: Age of Ultron due to fear that it would seemingly prove a clickbait rumor correct.
Feige explained that a “scoop” predicting that Marvel was making a Planet Hulk movie was untrue at the time, but it was one of those really great “scoops” that we here in the entertainment journalism field love because it’s likely enough that even if you made it up out of thin air, it will probably come true eventually. Though Marvel didn’t have a Planet Hulk film in the works at the time, they’re now covering the Planet Hulk story in Thor: Raganarok. See? Right the whole time!
“You had the big scoop about us doing ‘Planet Hulk. It turned out to be accurate. At the time, it was not accurate because we didn’t have any plans to do it and Joss was doing ‘Age of Ultron’ at that time. The way it ends as you recall with Hulk in the Quinjet going off, right?”
Feige explained that Hulk was originally supposed to be traveling through space, with the planet Saturn mentioned as one possible destination. But if Hulk were in space, that would just lead to people thinking the Planet Hulk rumor was true, since that’s where that storyline takes place. Marvel couldn’t have that, of course, so the only solution was to change the ending.
“We said, ‘Joss, we can’t do that because he’s not going into space and people are going to think we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk’ because Umberto has some big hot scoop that we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk,’ we can’t do it.’ He goes, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ We said, ‘We don’t know.’ So, if you go back and look at that shot of the movie, he’s in the sky. It’s blue sky.”
Of course, as we know now, the rumor turned out toe be technically true, forcing Feige to tell Whedon just a year later that he made him change the ending for no reason.
At the time, changing the movie to throw off clickbait journalists probably seemed like a good idea, but has Feige considered the repercussions? If Marvel is going to change the endings of movies just to prevent rumormongers from being right, that means that by claiming to have “scoops” on things that we don’t want to happen, we can force Marvel to change their plans just to prove us wrong.
So, what would you like us to make up a rumor about to prevent Marvel from doing anything that hints at that being the direction they’re taking? Let’s come to a consensus in the comments, and we’ll get to work on that clickbait article right away.
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